It’s a sad truth that animals are caught in the wild and are then subsequently forced to entertain tourists against their will. Too often “influencers” and regular tourists take pictures alongside these animals to show how pleasant their travel experience has been, but this ignores the plight of the animals. This practice of exploiting animals needs to stop. Last year, National Geographic released a great expose on how animals are being treated in many tourist-friendly places (primarily in South East Asia) and how tourists themselves contribute to the animal abuse.
People have become aware of this horrible practice and are instead going to sanctuaries instead. Still, not every ethical place operates, errr ethically. At the very least they are an improvement to the current popular practices seen around the world. I took the picture above at the Elephant Conservation Centre in Laos.
What you can do to help stop animal abuse in the tourism industry:
-Stop liking pictures with animals in it
-Comment on the posts saying you hope the person went to an ethical place
-Donate to an animal sanctuary
Meena’s life is set to follow the same trajectory as many of the roughly 3,800 captive elephants in Thailand and thousands more throughout Southeast Asia. She’ll perform in shows until she’s about 10. After that, she’ll become a riding elephant. Tourists will sit on a bench strapped to her back, and she’ll give several rides a day. When Meena is too old or sick to give rides—maybe at 55, maybe at 75—she’ll die. If she’s lucky, she’ll get a few years of retirement. She’ll spend most of her life on a chain in a stall.
One way you can help the solve problem right now:
CBC’s ecological science show is taking an unorthodox look at the vermin and critters in our cities by showing how they help us. On Jan. 31 The Nature of Things will air the episode, trailer above, all about how animals have adapted to urban environments and how those animals end up helping humans. It’s a neat approach to animals that otherwise get a bad reputation.
In Toronto, we join urban wildlife behaviour expert Suzanne MacDonald and Toronto Wildlife Centre Team Leader Andrew Wight on their hunt for the elusive opossum. Opossums are native to the southern United States, but in recent years, climate change has extended their habitat north to Canada. They look fierce and foreboding but they are one of the shyest scavengers of all. We discover how they help make our cities healthier by eating our refuse – they can even digest bone. They also eat and eliminate disease-laden ticks.
In Manhattan, we meet a team of young entomologists and learn the importance of ants in keeping city streets clean. There are over 2,000 ants for every human. The pavement ant, a rarely studied species, picks up and eliminates the food that people drop. These foraging ants can lift over ten times their weight and eat as much or more than rats in the city. Unlike rats, they do not transmit human diseases.
Check it out.
Cats have got a reputation of being uncaring pets that are dumber than dogs. In some cases this reputation is well-earned; however, for most cats they do care and they want you around. It’s taken animal researchers some time to figure a simple approach to testing if cats care, but they did it. They simply took a test used to see if infants and pet dogs care about their human companions and just ran the same test with cats. The conclusion is that yes, cats do are about you.
The key finding was that the cats fell into these subsets of attachment at roughly the same rates as dogs and infants. Around two-thirds clearly displayed a secure attachment to their owners, while most insecure cats were clingy and remained stressed. Subsequent experiments showed that these results stayed largely the same for the same group of cats six weeks later, as well as for a new group of older cats past the age of one.
Because of the similarities between cats, dogs, and human babies in their attachment styles, the authors said, it’s likely that the same intrinsic attributes and traits that make dogs and babies go puppy-eyed for their caregivers aren’t wholly unique to them. Cats bond to us, too, just in their own, not always apparent way.
It might seem that your cat dosen’t care about you, but that’s not the case. After years of false allegations that cats don’t care about humans we know have empirical evidence that the opposite is true. Cats actually like humans!
Researchers at Oregon State University offered 38 cats a choice between food, a toy, an interesting smell (catnip, a gerbil) and attention from a human.
Thirty-seven percent preferred food to anything else. Eleven percent liked toys, and one cat was preoccupied with the smells of catnip and gerbils.
But 19 of them — half! — preferred the company of humans above all, choosing them over other entertainment possibilities.
We are witnessing one of the largest extinction events in history because people deny that climate change is happening. Regardless of the deniers and the death of entire species we can do something that will help the future of humanity: getting as much information about those species as we can while they are alive.
One way to understand species is to just look at them. That’s exactly what some people are doing, they are capturing a “Noah’s Ark” of 3D digital images of animals before they go extinct.
The photographs are captured quickly, though the researchers are tweaking the system so it will eventually work even faster. “The current design is for animals that are willing to pose for a second or two for a photograph,” says Irschick. “But we’re moving toward systems that would work with a moving animal.”
There are 4,000 frog species in the world, and the team plans to start by digitally preserving 40 to 60, working as quickly as possible. For one species they planned to scan—Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog—the last known individual in the world died in September.