Wildlife encouters publicly condemned by South African Tourism Association
Posted on 30th January 2020 at 09:35
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The South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) has publicly condemned wildlife interactions in the country with new guidelines to be released by the end of July 2020 after a 12 month investigation into the unethical and dangerous practice of using animals as for-profit entertainment in the tourism industry.
South Africa’s wildlife is in crisis. The abduction of animals, poaching, competition with humans for land and trophy hunting adds to the declining wildlife population in the country. Forcing animals to take part in these interactions offers no conservational value and only perpetuates the abuse and neglect of South Africa’s precious wildlife.
Which interactions should you avoid on a holiday in South Africa?
Riding on the back of any animal
Historically, wild animals have never been beasts of burden and naturally fear humans. This practise is unnatural and forced.
Any animal performances
Training wild animals and keeping them in captivity causes severe mental and physical distress. Studies have shown that generally, these animals are housed in abhorrent conditions.
Interactions with predators such as walking alongside them or touching them
These experiences require the animal to be trained, often using harmful and abusive techniques over a prolonged period of time.
Touching or caring for wild animal infants
Investigations have shown that most infant animals are forcibly removed from their mothers, despite claims that their mothers have “rejected” them or have died. For big cats especially, many females are canned and bred for this purpose.
Wild animals will often express curiosity and and visit from time to time. Never touch a wild animal | Credit: Africa on Foot
Bush walks are one of the most exciting activites on safari. This is perfectly acceptable as no animals are disturbed | Credit: Kapama Safari Lodge
What can you do to help?
Seek out a reputable travel agency who are able to assist with your queries and concerns.
Choose tour operators that are involved in, or are members of wildlife conservation initiatives or regulatory bodies.
Go on safari in well-known parks and reserves. There are many privately-owned farms or reserves that offer interactions and trophy hunting. Where and how these animals are obtained is unknown.
Avoid zoos and circuses.
Never touch a wild animal, be it on land or in the water.
Tourists should be aware that these interactions are frowned upon. Incredible Experiences condemns these encounters and will never promote any tour operator who offers such experiences.
While SATSA cannot impose any rules and regulations upon members of the tourism industry, but this is a great step in eventually changing legislation concerning animal welfare in the country.
Tagged as: Ethical tourism, Holiday in South Africa, South African safari, Sustainable tourism, Travel news, Wildlife conservation
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