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: