Wildlife tourism destinations and attractions can benefit wild animals and wild habitat preservation by providing much-needed funds. In addition, conservation organizations can raise awareness by giving tourists a personal view of the problems faced by many species. However, wildlife tourism is a massive industry worldwide, and there are advantages and disadvantages associated with the industry. There is no doubt that some unethical tours and providers exploit animals only for financial gain.
The best way to combat unethical wildlife tourism is to be a discerning customer. Do your homework before agreeing to support a destination or attraction that you are considering. It is not difficult to determine with some research and by applying some simple logic to the information supplied by the tourism providers.
It is worth supporting wildlife destinations that are ethical and beneficial to conservation to ensure you support activities that contribute to wildlife conservation. Ask yourself if the attraction involves behaviour that is normal for the species. For example, it is not normal for large apex predators like tigers to pose quietly for photos. Is the attraction interfering with the natural behaviour of the animals, potentially causing hunger or disrupting breeding behaviour? Is the tour damaging to the habitat of the animals? Does it involve baby animals, and if so, what is the ultimate destiny of those young animals?
Take the time to read our guidelines for determining ethical wildlife tourism destinations. Then, make sure that your tourism dollars are going to a worthy cause that ultimately benefits the animals and not unethical tourism operators.