If this abuse of our elephants is allowed to continue there will be no more of these majestic animals left to exploit for whatever reason humans see fit.
Our elephants in the wild are being threatened in every way (killed by poachers/poaching; removed or displaced by deforestation; and captured as baby elephants i.e. torn from their mother’s side for the purpose of elephant tourism or human entertainment.)
While TripAdvisor holds the position that they basically provide “ a platform” for the traveling public to “share their personal experiences” they feel no need to intervene or interfere with such offerings (the reviews). Even as an academic study, published by WildCRU, has shown that “of more than 50k online TripAdvisor travel reviews over 80 percent of the people were unaware of the potential” for the eminent abuse of elephants (or other vulnerable species of captive wildlife).
TripAdvisor further salts the wound by awarding cruel venues or those attractions or individuals involved with cruelty to elephants (or other vulnerable species of captive wildlife) “Certificates of Excellence” or high rankings in their “Popularity Index”.
As a member of the traveling public, then, one must take the situation into our own hands. Take it from the perspective of the elephant or any other animal from the wild.
As “Neil D’Cruze, our Head of Wildlife Research, says: “We need to stop the demand for elephant rides and shows, hugs and selfies with tigers and lions by exposing the hidden suffering behind wildlife attractions. If you can ride it, hug it or have a selfie with a wild animal, then you can be sure it is cruel. Vote with your feet and don’t go.”
What we can do to help save our elephants ( and other wildlife) from the cruelty and suffering involving elephant tourism or “irresponsible wildlife tourism”:
** Sign this “Wildlife Not Entertainers” Petition RE: “TripAdvisor, Inc. is profiting from cruelty to wild animals.”
The Thomas Cook Group and 87 other travel companies have now stopped selling and promoting elephant rides and shows (See : Thomas Cook stopping the “sale and promotion of elephant rides and shows”) .
**Educate ourselves: Learn more about responsible or ethical tourism involving elephants or wild animals that are involved in saving or rescuing our elephants such as Elephant Nature Park ( an elephant sanctuary ) in Thailand and visit and support those reputable sanctuaries.
WildCru Wildlife Conservation Research Unit
WildCru “David MacDonald Explains Why the Customer Isn’t Always Right When It Comes To Wildlife Tourism”
“The Customer Isn’t Always Right—Conservation and Animal Welfare Implications of the Increasing Demand for Wildlife Tourism” PLOS One original academic study about TripAdvisor and wild animal abuse
“Trip Advisor Ratings Don’t Help You Avoid Animal Cruelty” by Neil D’Cruze in Huffington Post UK
“Animal Cruelty Exposed As World Animal Protection Uncovers Top 10 Worst Wildlife Attractions” by Megan Mackander at abc.net.au /news
“Charity Accuses TripAdvisor of ‘Profiting From the World’s Cruelest Animal Attractions’ By Listing & Selling Tickets To Them” by Qin Xie for MailOnline The Daily Mail
“Wildlife Not Entertainers The World’s Cruellest Attractions” World Animal Protection
“The Connection Between Tourism and Elephant Abuse” one small forum on TripAdvisor
Photo Credits: CC Flickr Featured Street Elephants notice the bullhook against the baby elephant’s head; Sad elephant…, Elephants With Jobs…, …Still Chained
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