Tourism industry has a crucial role to play in protecting thousands of elephants

29/10/2018

9 in 10 kiwis agree that travel companies should avoid selling or promoting tourism activities (such as elephant rides) that cause animals to suffer

To date, World Animal Protection has convinced 200 travel companies around the world to stop offering travel packages that include cruel elephant entertainment like rides and shows.

More than a quarter (36%) of Kiwis have participated in a wildlife activity like an elephant ride according to new polling commissioned by World Animal Protection for World Elephant Day.

Sadly, the YouGov Galaxy polling indicates that too many Kiwis remain unaware of the hidden cruelty involved in wild attractions like elephant rides and shows.

Elephants at cruel tourism venues across Thailand and Bali often endure ongoing physical and psychological abuse during training to make them submissive enough to give rides and perform tricks.

Most people visit these venues and participate in these activities because they love animals and want to see them up-close.

Ben Pearson, Senior Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection, said: “The travel industry has the opportunity to change the lives of thousands of elephants by proving there is a strong demand for tourist experiences that allow elephants to be elephants." 

Our study reveals that an overwhelming majority – 87% of people would avoid a show or activity if they were made aware that the wild animal has been mistreated. That’s where tourism companies come in. They can help people identify where animal cruelty is occurring, by refusing to sell tickets to cruel activities like elephant rides. We hope that a shift in tourist demand will encourage lower-welfare elephant venues to stop exploiting their animals. These intelligent and social giants deserve a better quality of life.

Image credit: World Animal Protection/Nick Axelrod

Sending a clear message to travel companies and tour operators

The good news is that more than 9 out of 10 people (89%) feel that travel companies should avoid selling and promoting tourism activities that cause wild animals to suffer.

To date, World Animal Protection has convinced 200 travel companies around the world to stop offering travel packages that include cruel elephant entertainment like rides and shows.

Most recently, Happy Elephant Care Valley in Thailand announced they would work with World Animal Protection to end all contact between tourists and elephants at the camp, to help meet the growing demand for responsible elephant experiences.

In November, we were awarded a gold World Responsible Tourism award for our Wildlife Not Entertainers campaign at London’s World Travel Market event. Wild animals suffer unimaginably just to entertain tourists. Our work protecting elephants, tigers, dolphins and more is vital – and we’re delighted the tourism industry is recognising its importance

You can help wild animals by signing our animal friendly traveller pledge today. Help keep wild animals in the wild, where they belong. 

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