Wildlife tourism is a much loved and popular activity among travellers, especially animal lovers who find joy in spending time with animals but as enjoyable as this may sound, have you ever paused and wondered if this tourism comes at a cost? Well, the answer to this is a simple yes.
Tourism though no matter how harmless sounding often tends to be unsustainable and detrimental for animals.
In this article we will be discussing these issues in detail, so if this is something that interests you consider sticking right to the end.
The negative effects of tourism are evident in day to day events that take place in zoos and even out in the open. Some of these are summarised below:
• Lions and especially their cubs can be drugged so that tourists can enjoy the luxury of taking pictures with them. This can affect their health adversely but still commonly takes place in many parts of the world such as South Africa.
• Tourists often take pictures of turtles that are nesting on the beach which ends up disturbing the process of nesting in these animals thereby threatening their survival
• Research has shown that frequent and close interactions that take place within wild primates and humans, something that is spotted multiple times during wildlife tourism can make room for inter-specific disease transmission putting their health at stake
• Many animals that are better suited to wildlife and show very little adaptability to artificial environments are forcefully caught and put into zoos to facilitate tourists which can create difficulties for these animals. In worst-case scenarios, if this process continues, entire species get at risk of extinction.
In order to ensure that your tourism does not harm the wildlife in any way, educate yourself more about sustainable tourism and keep the following in mind next time you head out for a quick wildlife tour outside:
1) Buy your souvenirs and other purchases from ethical places only
Unfortunately, even today there is a huge marketplace that facilitates the buying and selling of rare as well as endangered wildlife products as souvenirs that harm the survival of these animals. So, always make sure to do your research before buying any such items from shops and steer clear if these shops show even the slightest hints of indulgence in such activities.
2) Big no-no to harming animals
Now this one is a no-brainer but an important point to get across. When touring wildlife please make sure to always have healthy boundaries with animals, and do not injure or annoy them for your entertainment. We must treat all living beings with empathy and kindness and understand that just like humans, animals are very much capable of experiencing pain too.
3) Do not feed animals unless you're fully educated about their diet and consumption patterns
Now I understand that while touring, wanting to feed animals is a thought that usually comes from a good place but it can at times be problematic for the animals as they may be sensitive towards certain food items/ may not be able to digest them, etc and this can cause health complications so instead of doing them good, you will just end up increasing their suffering.
We hope that this article has proven to be resourceful and has helped you develop a better understanding on how tourism can adversely impact wildlife.