From moving to safari in Africa to snorkeling in Belize, some of my best memories are of seeing the amazing wildlife in their wildlife. There is no better way to relax than to be completely with nature.
As I've traveled to different habitats, I've learned a lot! As part of my commitment to reducing my environmental impacts while traveling, I try to learn as much as I can to respect the animals while exploring their area.
It is vital that we carefully select the encounters of animals that are ethical.
Why; For the good of the animal, for the preservation, for the support of companies that really care about the environment and are not just making a quick buck. For these reasons and more!
As a beginner, it can sometimes be quite difficult to distinguish between moral and immoral experiences. For me, some things are a tough NO-like riding elephants; but there are other animal "encounters" out there does good, you just have to do your homework!
So what is a moral encounter with animals and how can you find them? Let's look at the details!
An animal encounter that is not moral
First of all, it is important to realize that there are companies that make profits over animal welfare – but we can change that! Because it is a tourism based industry, we are the people who keep or close these businesses.
When you support ethical companies, you allow them to thrive, while the less favorable ones gradually disappear.
Research is the key factor in choosing the right company. You just can't trust what companies are saying. For example, while many companies say they are preparing animals for reintegration into nature, this simply does not work in most cases.
What kind of meetings should you say no to?
- Wildlife Diet – Whenever you eat wildlife or use it for tourist purposes, it screws with the natural order of things. If it is a sanctuary or a place where animals are restored, this is a slightly different case.
- Riding elephants – Avoid any interaction with domesticated elephants. Keeping elephants in chains and beating them from their childhood until they are destroyed is unfortunately a common practice in Asia. This life of torture is done so that tourists can play elephants – not worth it!
- Shark diving card – This is questionable. Shaking water in any situation can alter the environment and the natural order of the animals. I personally do not support shark diving, however, there are some reputable companies or those run by ecologists. So this is something we need to investigate.
How to find a moral sanctuary
The word "sacred" means nothing in itself. There are many sedimentary sanctuaries. These companies are trying to make a profit and do not have the best interests of animals at heart.
Beyond the search for sanctuaries, dig a little deeper. Let's look at the key factors to consider:
Return of the animals
Take the time to learn about animal life. Were they raised in captivity? Were they taken from the wild? These are two big red flags. Generally, animals should only be introduced to sanctuaries after an orphan or other tragedy.
New animal home
Now that you have found animals that have been moved to a sanctuary by necessity, consider the conditions in which they now live. Are they similar to the places they grew up in? Are there cages? Is there room to wander and hunt for prey? Take special care to look for any signs of restraint.
Assuming the animals seem to live in a comfortable environment, take a closer look at how they live. Are they able to continue with their lives or have there been any behavioral changes?
Keep in mind that it is rare to become close and personal with large, dangerous animals. If a company offers such an experience, there is a good chance the animals have drugs. If you are able to climb and touch animals (especially carnivores) be extremely cautious.
Life after the Sanctuary
Will the animals be released at some stage in the future? If a site is a legal sanctuary, it should focus on housing the animals urgently and then turn them into their natural habitats.
Every good sanctuary must be completely transparent. They should be happy to answer any questions you have. They need to connect with other organizations and have strong proof of their legitimacy.
Earth Gate National Park
How to find a meeting of ethical animals
The The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a great place to start your research. The connection to the WWF is huge. They support many animal designs and have strict requirements. In South Africa, WESSA is another great organization to keep your eyes out for.
Wherever you go, read the "about" section of web pages carefully. They should present these types of connections to important animal conservation groups.
Some Wildlife Ethics Experiences I Love
- Going to Safari – If you are thinking of going on a safari, make sure you have seen mine a guide to choosing the right African safari for you. There are large national parks and private nature shelters where you can see the animals in their own ecosystem. Away from the cage in the world of zoos, you can take in the natural beauty of animal houses while watching them thrive in their natural surroundings.
- Giraffe – One of the most exciting experiences I've ever had was at Giraffe Manor in Kenya. It was a weird experience to have giraffes facing me at the breakfast table! Best of all, they were completely at home on the property and could just come and go as they pleased.
- Scuba diving – Diving is another of my biggest passions. I would highly recommend learning about best practices in my ultimate diving guide and of course always using reef sunscreen to help keep our oceans healthy.
- Swimming with wild dolphins or whale sharks – One thing to note is that you never want to touch the animals.
- David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – There is an orphan rescue and rehabilitation program in Nairobi, Kenya where you can feed baby elephants from a bottle.
- Gorilla Trekking in Uganda or Rwanda
- Bird shelters
Always look where your money goes and if there are maintenance fees!
Thank you for taking responsibility and considering the ethical animal compositions! I love working with other travelers to improve wildlife conditions and ensure that we do our part to preserve nature.
I would love to know about your experience with ethical animal encounters – where did you go, what was it, what kind of animals do you have to see. Share your story in the comments below!