By Haus of Conservation, Oct 1 2020 05:00AM
This is one for all you jet setters out there, do you love elephants, tigers and lions? Are you planning a trip to go cub petting or get up close and personal with an elephant? Well below is 5 trips to take off your travel bucket list…
1. ELEPHANT TREKS & RIDING
WHAT IS IT: You become a passenger with another person on an elephant while the Mahout/driver sits atop of the elephant’s head (neck area), you then tour and take in the scenery from vast rainforests to open grasslands. Sounds idyllic – for you maybe, for the elephant definitely not!
WHY IS IT CRUEL: In order for you ride an elephant they have to go through a crush process where the spirit of these majestic animals are broken; only after this process can they be ridden. So what happens in a crush process? Baby elephants are taken away from their mother and confined to a small space where they are then abused with bamboo sticks with nails on, bull-hooks, loud noises, sleep deprivation and starvation until they become submissive to humans. Elephants in this type of tourism often spend the majority of their life in chains. Every time you ride an elephant - understand it has been through this or a similar process and your custom will ensure future elephants go through the crush process.
ALTERNATIVE: See elephants in the wild and support elephant conservation projects that conserve the wild. Only visit legitimate elephant sanctuaries, if they are offering riding or bathing experiences, elephant selfies, use chains or bull-hooks, or the elephants are confined to small enclosures or pens, they are not a sanctuary. Always look at their website, search their social media location and hash tags to see the types of photos visitors are taking. NEVER BATHE, RIDE OR HAVE SELFIES TAKEN WITH ELEPHANTS.
2. ELEPHANT BATHING
WHAT IS IT: Where you visit a park, rescue centre or so-called sanctuary to spend the morning or afternoon bathing the elephants in a pool or river. It’s not as glamorous or as kind as it sounds…
WHY IS IT CRUEL: To bathe with an elephant it has to go through the same crush process as it does for you ride them. Remember it's completely unnatural for a human to bathe with elephants. It’s also very dangerous, many people have been rolled on or tossed up in the air during these bathing experiences as the elephants become excited or playful. Many people get bitten by mosquitoes or other parasites in or around the water as you bathe with the large majestic mammals, it’s not glamorous or as romantic as the posters make it out to be! Elephants find it very stressful when people get in the water with them or dozens of hands trying to wash them, for the elephant bathing it’s time to soak up the mud, douse its skin and relax. Often for a captive elephant it’s the only time for peace – sadly this is taken away when people bathe with elephants, it’s just another form of exploitation and is a big money maker for the elephant owners. Would you bathe with a hippo or rhino? We hope not…
ALTERNATIVE: See elephants in the wild and support elephant conservation projects that conserve the wild. Only visit legitimate elephant sanctuaries, if they are offering riding or bathing experiences, elephant selfies, use chains or bull hooks, or the elephants are confined to small enclosures or pens they are not a sanctuary. Always look at their website, search their social media location and hash tags to see the types of photos visitors are taking. NEVER BATHE, RIDE OR HAVE SELFIES TAKEN WITH ELEPHANTS.
3. TIGER TEMPLES & TIGER PARKS
WHAT IS IT: A venue that offers close up experiences with the majestic tigers, where you can touch, cuddle them and have close up selfies taken with adult tigers and tiger cubs.
WHY IS IT CRUEL: All adult tigers are drugged, doped and have their movement restricted with chains to allow you to get close to them, this will often be passed off as “tigers are sleepy, like all cats – big cats nap” – that’s a complete myth, it’s the drugs that make them drowsy and sleepy. The tiger cubs are separated from their mothers a few days after birth and will be played with and mishandled by hundreds of visitors daily. Many tigers will be forced to sit for endless hours and prodded by their keepers to keep still to allow visitors to have selfish selfies taken with them. Many tigers in these establishments suffer malnutrition, depression, anxiety and are bred on industrial scale to supply constant flow of cubs. The Tiger Temple in Thailand was closed down for tiger trafficking, but sadly many tiger parks are opening up all over Asia under different names but also believed to be operating with similar standards. THINK! If you can get close enough to touch and count the tiger’s stripes, something is not right! You may not intentionally mean to but sadly you are paying for that tiger to be drugged into a life of misery and cruelty…
ALTERNATIVE: Ethical safaris are the only way to see tigers, in the wild and free. Support tiger conservation projects that protect their habitat and legitimate tiger sanctuaries only.
4. WALKING WITH LIONS
WHAT IS IT: This is an experience where you get to walk with young juvenile lions out in the open for several hours.
WHY IS IT CRUEL: The actual experience itself seems pretty harmless right? Is it natural to walk with lions – NO! You will be given a large stick (supposedly to help you over the rugged terrain but it’s actually for your own protection if the lions get a bit too excitable). The horror is many lions you get to walk with are a part of an exploitation cycle known as “The Canned Lion Industry”. Once the lions get too big and boisterous to walk, they are sold on for trophy hunting experiences or body parts for traditional medicine and souvenirs. Sadly when you buy a “Lion walking experience” you are aiding this industry. Remember no matter how tame lions appear to be they will always be wild, don’t put yourself at risk of being mauled by a lion, after all the lion would only be doing what comes naturally to an apex predator…
ALTERNATIVE: Ethical safaris are the only way to see lions, in the wild and free. Support lion conservation projects that protect their habitat and legitimate lion sanctuary’s only.
5. LION & TIGER CUB PETTING
WHAT IS IT: Cub petting can be with any baby animal and its very deceptive because the establishments prey on peoples affections for cubs or baby animals and then exploit them into experiences where you can: pet and play with, bottle feed and have photos taken with that cub or baby animal. Lions and tigers are top of the list for cub petting due to their 100% cuteness appeal!
WHY IS IT CRUEL: Cubs are separated from their mothers days after birth and visitors will be told they are orphans to be released back into the wild (not true), they are bred in captivity and their whole life will remain in captivity. They are mishandled and touched by hundreds of visitors on a daily basis, bottle fed by visitors with no expertise and many cubs get injured in this process. Cubs cry for their mothers that never come, suffer with anxiety, malnutrition; and when they are too big they sold on or used for other exploitations; walking experiences, trophy hunting, traditional medicine or body parts for souvenirs. Remember every time you pet a cub you kill an adult lion or tiger – FACT – it’s all part of the life cycle of a canned lion.
ALTERNATIVE: Support legitimate lion and tiger conservation projects only. Never pet cubs it’s that simple!
Remember travel companies are there to sell holidays and make money, don’t believe them when they state its ethical and cruelty free, do your research. Thank you for reading, please share and only participate in ethical, cruelty free travel.
Haus of Conservation.