Wildlife attractions such as elephant rides, "swimming with" activities with dolphins or other marine life, and petting or taking pictures with lions and tigers not only take a significant physical toll on the wild animals, but are actually psychologically traumatic for the animals, too. According to a report by National Geographic, the tourist and travel website TripAdvisor has been under pressure to abstain from selling tickets for inhumane animal attractions. In response, and in order to encourage tourists toward mindful choices when it comes to their vacation plans, TripAdvisor no longer sells tickets for these kinds of animal attractions, taking a positive stance toward encouraging animal welfare; a huge win for animal activists and conservation groups.
Along with these new booking policy changes, TripAdvisor also offers an education portal to teach and inform travelers about world wide animal welfare practices. Working with several wildlife protection programs, TripAdvisor's goal is to help improve the health and safety standards for animals "especially in markets with limited regulatory protections" according to a statement by TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer. The policy change will take full effect in 2017; however, ticket sales for some animal attractions will stop immediately.
Under TripAdvisor's new policy, tickets for children's petting zoos, horseback riding, aquariums, zoos and animal sanctuaries will continue where there is supervision and positive practices.
By educating travelers, encouraging sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation, and increasing awareness of the needs of animals, TripAdvisor will make a positive impact. "We believe the end result of our efforts will be enabling travelers to make more thoughtful choices about whether to visit an animal attraction and to write more meaningful review about those attractions," says Kaufer. And, of course, protect the amazing and endangered species that we share this planet with!
Main image credit: Getty