Simple Things You Can Do To Stop Animal Cruelty In Tourism

Step one: ask questions.

There are many things we humans choose to be ignorant about, but when confronted by animal cruelty while on holiday, it's hard to remain aloof.

Sadly, the plight of our planet's wildlife is largely driven by dodgy tourism. Often, holidaymakers unwittingly support animal cruelty, allowing this torturous cycle to continue.

But it doesn't have to be like that.

"The first thing you can do when booking a trip or experience is inquire if the company has committed to the World Animal Protection Organisations agreement to end cruelty towards wildlife in tourism entertainment," explains Neil Rodgers, managing director of Adventure World, an Australian company specialising in tailor-made wildlife trips.

Next ask questions such as what is their responsible travel policy, where can they view it and who has endorsed it.

Adventure World offer experiences like safaris into Africa's national parks, orca spotting and a trip to view mountain gorillas in Rwanda. But alongside that, they are involved in numerous wildlife protection projects with The TreadRight Foundation.

Avoid posing with wild animals on holiday.
Avoid posing with wild animals on holiday.

Rodgers explains there has been significant growth in demand for viewing wildlife in their natural environment, but not all of it is as responsible and compassionate as we'd hope for.

"Education and awareness are fundamental to instigate change," Rodgers said.

"When governments fail to protect animals and the environment it often falls to consumers to make a choice, but in travel that choice will be influenced by the packages and tours marketed to them."

Ahead, Rodgers shares three things we can all be doing to better the lives of our wildlife and in turn, have an unforgettable holiday (minus the guilt).

1. Avoid posing for a photo with a wild animal

"It is far from a happy snap. Many of these animals have been taken from the wild and are commonly drugged to control behaviour."

2. Report animal cruelty

"Ensure to report to the local police, tourist office, animal welfare society and include the date, time, location, type and number of animals involved. If possible, record what you have seen on film as photographs and video footage are invaluable evidence -- but never pay to take them."

3. Shop consciously

"Don't buy products made from endangered species, hard woods or ancient artifacts."