How important are wild animals
Wildlife adventures - what's ok and what's not?
Wherever your next adventure takes you, if you have the opportunity to observe wild animals there, then you should definitely not miss it. It really is an indescribable feeling when such a huge giraffe walks past you or you follow a gorilla family through the jungle.
Since the demand for such experiences is of course very high, there are now an unbelievable number of offers in almost every corner of the world, all of which promise you a few unforgettable moments with exotic and perhaps even really rare creatures. Often the animals and their natural habitat are fully respected on such excursions and before you start you will get a detailed introduction about what is allowed and what you should not do to protect the animals.
Unfortunately, there are other organizations that have no problem getting the maximum profit at the expense of the animals. So if your next trip is about to start and you have planned one or two animal adventures, it is important that you do your research well in advance. So you can not only find the offer that is most unforgettable for you, but also best for the animals. In this amount you will find out what you should pay attention to, what is ok and what is absolutely not possible!
Wildlife adventures - what's ok and what's not?
This is how you can recognize reputable providers for your animal experiences while traveling
Of course, for the sake of animal welfare, you don't have to miss out on every ingenious adventure that has to do with wild animals. On the contrary: Many organizations offer such animal experiences in order to use the proceeds to protect wild animals and their habitat. When looking at different offers, you should definitely pay attention to the following points.
1. Are photo opportunities advertised or offered?
Sure, a photo of you petting a tiger sounds cool and is guaranteed to generate a few more likes on Instagram. In terms of animal welfare, however, this is an absolute no-go. In order for people to be allowed that close to a dangerous predator, they are often really stunned. That is the reason why there are hardly any injuries at such events.
For particularly lucrative photo moments, young animals are often separated from their mothers much too early. Even if you are assured when booking that the animals are "wild" or maybe even have been rescued - as soon as you are even offered the opportunity to take a selfie with a wild animal, the alarm bells should ring really loud!
2. Are the animals allowed to be touched, fed or even ridden by visitors?
If the answer to this question is "Yes!", Then you should look for another provider very quickly, because that is not possible. Wild animals are wild animals and that's exactly how you should experience them during your adventure. As soon as you are offered that you can stroke the gorilla, the giraffe or the cute lion cub and even ride the elephant through the jungle, then that has absolutely nothing to do with wild animals.
In order to keep the wild animals so tame, they are sometimes brutally mistreated from an early age, so that they obey when they get older. It is much cooler to observe the animals as they live naturally, willingly and, above all, in their natural environment! I promise you, when you see such a huge humpback whale live, you will get goose bumps without touching it!
3. Are you even offered souvenirs in the prospectus?
After a once-in-a-lifetime experience, many people want a souvenir of those special moments. The providers have already noticed that, of course, and you can often buy small or large souvenirs on site or sometimes even in advance in the brochure or have them reserved. In principle, that's not bad at all. However, you should be very careful with what is offered to you: Quite often these are things made from animal materials.
These include, for example, figures or ornaments made of ivory, fur, bone, horn or even teeth. In most cases, the animal that once belonged to the tooth did not give it up voluntarily, but had to suffer for it. So take a close look at what is being offered for sale there - because the less money can be made with such souvenirs, the higher the chances that fewer and fewer animals will have to suffer for them over time.
4. Are you promised a great show when you book?
Facilities such as a dolphinarium, Seaworld, zoo or circus may provide entertainment on the go. However, this is almost always at the expense of the animals, who have to live under conditions that are not appropriate to the species and are trained from an early age to function at the push of a button in order to inspire the crowd of paying spectators. Sometimes you are even led to believe that the animals there are rescued wild animals that have been found injured or rejected by their mother and are now being kept and employed in a species-appropriate manner.
Don't let that irritate you, no dolphin in the world would voluntarily swap the sea for a pool and a tight schedule in which it has to perform the same tricks over and over again. So if you are promised a show with animals during your adventure, then look for another offer where you can watch the animals in their natural habitat, that's a lot cooler - both for you and for the animal!
By the way: There are of course real animal rescue centers and a visit there is not only interesting, but also helps the organization to look after even more animals in need. You can recognize such a facility by the fact that the animals are not used for entertainment purposes and, if possible, are released back into the wild as soon as they regain their strength. It is definitely worth asking here!
The absolute no-go animal experiences at a glance
If you find out about the adventures with animals on offer during your preparations and answer the above questions, then you can quickly separate the black sheep from animal-loving organizers. Unfortunately, there are some animal experiences in the world where you can save yourself any research and cross them off your list right from the start.
Elephant rides and petting tigers in Thailand
This definitely includes elephant riding and the tiger temples in Thailand. As already mentioned, the animals are not only sometimes massively mistreated, but also really grossly anesthetized. In this way, the animals are unnaturally docile and sociable - that is nothing more than the worst cruelty to animals!
Canned Hunting in South Africa
What really doesn't work at all is gate hunting or canned hunting, as it is often offered in South Africa and has often been discussed in the media because of the cruel approach. In this form of hunting, wild animals are brought into a fenced-off area, only to be shot by would-be hunters. Most of the time, lions that live in the wild are captured and stunned. As soon as they wake up, they are in an enclosure and are chased to the blood by people who have far more money than their hearts and minds. It's just cruel and bestial!
Swim with whale sharks in the Philippines
In the Philippines, you supposedly have the unique opportunity to swim with whale sharks. That sounds ok at first, after all, the animals are not in captivity. However, the whale sharks are massively disturbed by this swimming experience. This is mainly due to the fact that the organizers in the Philippines do not adhere to the rules. Participants are even encouraged to swim really close to the animals and touch them - that is absolutely not ok! Wild animals, whether in the water or on land, should under no circumstances be touched or restricted in their space.
Rides on emaciated horses
Horseback safaris or rides are offered in many corners of the world. Of course, this is always a very special experience, as long as the animals are doing well. But this is absolutely not the case in countries like Peru, Morocco or Nicaragua. In most cases, you don't even have to be an expert to recognize the lack of care for the animals. Because the horses are often emaciated to the bone and stand apathetically in the pasture or in their dirty boxes. It is obvious that there are no animal-loving people at work here, but greedy entrepreneurs.
Entertainment shows with wild animals
As already mentioned, most zoos, circuses and especially places like Sea World are a total no-go! The animals are not deprived of their freedom here, but also bred under really blatant circumstances. The cages, enclosures or basins are almost always much too small and in order to offer the visitors something, the animals are often trained with the help of force so that they can perform tricks like on an assembly line. This is anything but a natural and species-appropriate life for such a wild animal and for this reason, you should avoid such facilities on your travels and at home!
Here you can experience cool and species-appropriate animal adventures
Of course, there are also opportunities everywhere how you can experience and observe the countless wild animals of this world in their natural habitat without disturbing them - and to be honest: This is so much more impressive than anything else! Simply because you can see that the animals are doing well and are happy.
While you go home with a queasy feeling with many dubious organizers, you come back from species-appropriate animal adventures with an excited and persistent tingling in your stomach. At these 9 places you have the opportunity to experience wild animals in a really great and animal-loving way!
1. Tiger safari in India
In India there are a lot of tiger reserves where the wild cats live completely free, but still protected. The most famous and largest reserve in the country is the Ranthambore National Park. A total of 50 tigers live here, which with a bit of luck you will see on a jeep safari. In the Satpura National Park you can watch the tigers in the wild from the water on a kayak tour or boat safari and that is really really fascinating!
2. Watch orangutans in Borneo
If you are in Borneo, Malaysia, then a jungle tour in Batang Ai National Park should be at the top of your list. For this you say goodbye with a small group and an experienced guide for four days in the jungle. You have the opportunity to observe a lot of and sometimes really rare animals in the wild.
The park is particularly known for its high orangutan population. There is no guarantee that you will actually encounter the long-haired monkey, but usually the guide knows exactly where the different groups are hanging around. Watching an orangutan family eat, cuddle or play is incredibly awesome!
3. Swim with wild dolphins in New Zealand
Swimming with dolphins once in a lifetime is something that is on the bucket list of many adventurers. There are many places in the world where you can plunge into the waves with the marine mammals. Especially in the town of Kaikoura on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island this is awesome, because there are tons of dolphins romping off the coast here at almost every season of the year.
With the people from Dolphin Encounter you will go out to sea with a small group and have the opportunity there not only to observe the animals from the boat, but also to swim with them. You will be accompanied by experienced guides who will tell you exactly how to behave respectfully towards the dolphins and make sure that your encounter with the mammals will be unforgettable.
4. Walking safari in South Africa
A jeep or boat safari where you can watch wild animals from a distance is a really great experience. However, if you feel like mingling with the zebra herds and want to meet elephants, giraffes and rhinos in South Africa at eye level, then you should definitely opt for a walking safari!
Wandering through South Africa and encountering a different wild animal behind every bush is simply something completely different than just watching these animals while driving by. Believe me, once you stand face to face with such a huge bull elephant, you will not only get heart pounding and goose bumps, but also the adrenaline rush!
5. Encounter wild orcas while kayaking in Norway and Canada
Just like dolphins, orca whales are incredibly fascinating sea creatures that you should definitely experience in the wild if you have the opportunity. On a kayak tour you can get close to the killer whales in Canada or Norway and experience how these huge animals emerge from the water in front of you.
In Europe, the Norwegian Tysfjord is the place where you are almost guaranteed to see one of the black and white whales when you are out in a boat. If your next trip takes you to Canada, it is worth taking a detour to the Ecosummer Orca Camp, where you can paddle after the killer whales in your kayak - that's just really awesome!
6. Gorilla trekking in Uganda
In the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda you have the chance to go gorilla trekking with whole families of these great apes through the jungle. To see how these huge monkeys treat each other, protect each other and take care of their families is really awesome!
You have to plan your trekking tour with the mountain gorillas in good time, because in order to protect the animals and their habitat, only a limited number of people are allowed to go in search of the monkeys every day. In addition, you are only allowed to enter the parks with a guide. So it is best to book your permit at the Uganda Wildlife Authority and you can count the days until your next great adventure!
7. Swim with seals in South Africa
A really special animal adventure is waiting for you in different places in South Africa: swimming with seals! These animals are not only super cute, but also really curious. It can also happen that a seal swims straight towards you and may even touch you.
You can experience this adventure, for example, during your time in Cape Town at Hout Bay or you can make a stop on your road trip along the Garden Route. Because there are also many of these curious swimmers around Plettenberg Bay and Robberg Island!
8. Riding safari in Kenya during the Great Migration
On a horseback safari through Kenya's Masai Mara you can expect a lot of brilliant moments and experiences all year round that you will certainly not forget for a lifetime. However, if you can plan your trip anywhere between July and October, then you should definitely do so. Because in these months the big hike takes place. During this migration, around 1.5 million wildebeest and lots of zebras migrate through the country in huge herds. To experience the brilliant landscape of the country and in combination with the many other wild animals is really amazing!
Tip:Such a riding safari through Kenya is offered here, but you have to be a very experienced rider!
9. Swim alongside whale sharks in Western Australia
Unlike in the Philippines, swimming with whale sharks on the west coast of Australia is strictly controlled and only carried out by state-recognized and certified organizations. Here you will be told right at the beginning that you are not allowed to get too close to the whale shark or to swim in front of it, but only to swim next to it. If you don't follow these rules, you will be asked to get out of the water immediately.
This ingenious adventure is offered off the coast of Exmouth on Ningaloo Reef and here you first take a boat out to sea. With a bit of luck you will see dolphins, rays or sea turtles. As soon as one of the employees has discovered a whale shark, you have to react quickly, put on your snorkel, mask and flippers and get into the water! Such a whale shark swims faster than you might think and it is sometimes very exhausting to keep up with this gigantic fish - but the experience is unique!
A really recommendable provider for such a dive with whale sharks is Charter1, who always have a couple of SUP boards with them with which you can paddle over the reef. Here you are on a sailing catamaran and are looked after by a really cool crew! The whale shark season in Exmouth is between March and August.
Ingenious and animal-loving adventures in the wild are waiting everywhere
So it really doesn't matter where you are in the world.In addition to the typical tourist activities with animals, which are primarily about profit and not about the welfare of the animals, you have the opportunity to choose species-appropriate adventures everywhere: on a walking safari in South Africa, a kayak tour with orcas in Norway or Canada and while gorilla trekking in Uganda you can expect goosebumps moment after the other! In addition, you don't have to feel guilty about the animals. On the contrary: the money you pay for tickets or permits is often invested in protecting the animals!
The more people decide on such serious and species-appropriate tours, the more there will be controls on the part of public institutions - and that slowly but surely takes the wind out of the sails of the greedy and cruel organizers!
Have you ever had an adventure with wild animals and maybe you have a great recommendation for us?
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