Bali rice field by shutterstock_746605723

Bali: are the zoos and wildlife entertainment venues ethical?


Going to Bali and wondering whether if the zoos and wildlife entertainment venues offer ethical and wildlife-friendly experiences? Then our ‘Holidays that Harm’ report is just for you.

Our investigation found 1,300 animals across 34 wildlife tourism venues across Bali and Lombok is an update to our last report in 2018. It exposes the inadequate captive conditions that wild animals are kept in on these Indonesian islands. 

Wild animals used in tourist attractions are often taken from their mothers in the wild or bred in substandard conditions in these venues. They are then “tamed” for cruel activities such as elephant bathing and riding, orangutan shows and selfies, and swimming with dolphins, to name a few. 

No ethical ways to see wildlife in Bali and Lombok 

Although captivity can never meet the needs of wild animals, our assessors were shocked to discover that many of the venues fail to even meet their most basic ones. As a result, there are currently no ethical ways to witness wildlife in Bali and Lombok. 

  • More than 1,300 captive wild animals are currently being used as exhibits and in activities 
  • Elephant bathing and riding, wildlife selfies, swimming with dolphins in artificial pools, and touching turtles in small pens were among the cruellest interactions observed 
  • No significant improvements were found in the recorded and observed welfare conditions for wildlife in entertainment since our 2018 'Wildlife Abusement Parks’ report 
  • Misleading conservation claims by many venues were observed, even though captive entertainment and breeding in entertainment venues have no genuine conservation benefits 
  • Global travel giants including GetYourGuide, Traveloka and continue to sell low-welfare wildlife entertainment attractions 

What makes the current scenario of wildlife tourist attractions in Bali cruel? 

Suzanne Milthorpe, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, said:  

“What may be an island paradise for tourists is a captive hell for more than a thousand wild animals trapped in shockingly inadequate conditions across wildlife entertainment venues in Bali and Lombok.”   

“During our investigation we saw wild animals suffering for selfies and it’s driven by tourist demand and lack of ethical policies by travel companies.” 

“As a good rule of thumb – if you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal there is cruelty involved, so don’t do it.” 

Your choices make a difference 

While there are currently no ethical ways to observe wildlife in Bali and Lombok, you can still be a part of the solution.  

As a tourist, all you have to do is avoid cruel wildlife interactions and only choose travel companies with a clear and accessible animal welfare policy.  

By doing this, you can help drive down the demand for captive wildlife cruelty and help put an end to the needless suffering of wild animals in the name of tourism. 

Together, we can help keep wild animals in the wild – where they belong. 

“People go to these venues because they love animals, but they are unaware of the hidden cruelty behind the scenes, with many animals taken from their mothers as babies and forced to endure cruel and intensive training to make them ‘safe’ to interact with tourists.

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