Support Ecotourism, Say NO to Captive Wildlife Tourism!
Riding a gentle elephant, swimming with dolphins in water parks, or taking selfies with a docile tiger or a friendly orang-utan may seem like perfectly harmless fun, but the cold harsh truth that lurks behind your Facebook vacation photos may actually make you rethink your choice of destination and travel itinerary.
As animal lovers, we are intrigued by the idea of being able to experience exotic animals from close up and in person. Little do we realize that our irrational desire to do so creates an incremental demand that takes orang-utans away from their families, have the teeth of dolphins filed down or removed completely and their fins damaged, puts elephants through violent and abusive training (where these gentle giants are put through physical restrain, extreme pain and starvation to ‘crush’ their spirits), and subjects tigers to daily sedation just to keep them still while we pose for a picture or two with them.
Research done by animal welfare organizations has also indicated that most of the wild animals that are kept at entertainment venues were stripped of their freedom illegally, before being forced to live in far from adequate conditions, which compromise their physical and mental health. All of this in the name of tourism entertainment, where unknowing tourists pays good money for seemingly once-in-a-lifetime experiences. A recent report by World Animal Protection exposed that, out of 1500 wild animals surveyed across 26 wildlife tourist venues in Bali, 100% of them did not meet the basic needs of captive wild animals.
Wildlife tourism is a useful tool to educate and raise awareness about flora and fauna preservation, but only when it’s done right and with an ethical approach. The best and most humane way to allow tourists to view or encounter wild animals is through ecotourism, which focuses on long-term sustainability instead of short-term profit. Through ecotourism, animal encounters are enabled in their natural habitats and tourists are kept at a safe distance so that they don’t interfere with the wildlife ecosystem. The financial benefits gained from such approach will also be used to help fund the conservation of wildlife and nature.
Bearing in mind that wild animals belong in the wild, Lexis Hotel Group strives to do our part in animal-friendly and responsible tourism. We collaborate with nature preservation organisations to promote ecotourism activities such as the Raptor Watch of Malaysia Nature Society where tourists have the chance to witness thousands of raptors from Siberia, China, Japan and other countries migrating freely at the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve. Be a responsible traveller, do your part to help stop wildlife exploitation by supporting ecotourism.