Apr 212017

In a win for animals, online travel agency company Responsible Travel has pledged to stop promoting zoos. The company will instead be working to support better ways for consumers to learn about and appreciate wildlife.

Facilities that keep animals in captivity have continued to use education and conservation as major justifications for continuing the practice, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that those arguments don’t hold up.

In a statement, the company said that while they and their users value wildlife and conservation efforts (its wildlife-related vacation sales have gone up 25 percent over just the past two years), they believethat animals should not be held in captivity.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Responsible Travel made the announcement with the support of Born Free Foundation and actress Joanna Lumley.

According to Responsible Travel, there is plenty of evidence to support the inhumane nature of keeping wild animals captive, there are better ways to educate people without captivity.

While some zoos do fund good conservation work, so little funding from zoos is being allocated toward it that it’s essentially not worth supporting when there are more effective alternatives.

As for endangered species that zoos continue to claim they’re helping save, a vast majority of species kept by zoos are not actually endangered, and even for those who are, most captive breeding programs don’t involve returning any of them to the wild.

“We believe tourism plays a role in funding conservation, and crucially, in ensuring local people and governments benefit sufficiently to make conservation viable. Zoos are not appropriate in 2017. They are relics of the past, and the arguments to justify keeping animals in captivity no longer stand up. The sad reality is that the animals are held captive primarily for our entertainment not for reasons of conservation and it is time that this stopped,” said Responsible Travel CEO Justin Francis.

Responsible Travel, which works with 375 tour operators around the world, has since removed any tours that include visits to zoos from its site and is now researching other types of facilities to promote, including rescue and rehabilitation centers that are caring for non-releasable animals, along wildlife conservancies and parks that don’t participate in captive breeding programs and endangered species conservation centers.

The change represents a major shift in attitudes about keeping animals in captivity, and while other tourism-related companies including Virgin Holidays and TripAdviser have taken stands against some harmful activities, this marks the first time a company has taken a stand against zoos.

“The world is changing. Things that seemed impossible only a short time ago are now within reach. In my lifetime, a global shift in public consciousness, a movement, may see – if not an end – a massive reduction in the exploitation of wild animals in their millions in thousands of zoos worldwide,” said Will Travers OBE, President of Born Free.

Hopefully this will help set a standard and other tour operators will adopt Responsible Travel’s stance that “zoos are outdated, unethical and unnecessary,” and more people will seek out other kinds of opportunities to engage with wildlife and our environment.

This article was first published by Care2.com on 09 Apr 2017.

We invite you to share your opinion whether travel companies should stop supporting zoos? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

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Editorial Comment: The purpose of this poll is to highlight important wildlife conservation issues and to encourage discussion on ways to stop wildlife crime. By leaving a comment and sharing this post you can help to raise awareness. Thank you for your support.


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JD Creager

Article is full of crap and lies. Many species have been saved from extinction because of zoos.

Jacqueleena O'Brien


Tracy Whitcomb


Debbie Offerman

Absolutely yes!

Karen King

I believe that zoo’s have no part of our future. Zoo’s are an excuse not to protect habitat. The bottom line and Zoo’s bottom line is to exploit animals for profit. The myth is educating the public, or they are studying the animal. You can’t genuinely learn about a specie in captivity and you can’t teach the public about the behaviours of a specie in captivity. What you are viewing in Zoo’s are mere shades of animals who were once wild, their freedom added depth to their lives.

John Tobias

Getting tired of your anti-zoo trump like fake news crap. Start using real facts, there are many species saved or helped by zoos.


Zoos should all be closed down -they are barbaric – NO excuse for them at all – There are many TV shows today that show animals everywhere so zoos are not a form to let your kids see animals – they can see them on TV – It is pitiful to see the caged animals in zoos just pacing and pacing in their cages – this is severe stress and it is wrong – zoos have no place in today’s society and need to be closed down and will be closed down if everyone pulls their support

“Zoos are not appropriate in 2017. They are relics of the past, and the arguments to justify keeping animals in captivity no longer stand up.” What about all the species which are now only in existence only through captive-breeding programmes? Is conservation no longer appropriate in 2017? As anyone who has travelled to see animals in the wild will know, the world’s national parks and reserves are increasingly encroached upon by an ever-increasing human population, and the very sad reality is that captive breeding is the best, and in some cases only, hope for these species existence. Keeping animals in… Read more »

That really is putting the cart before the horse…
First of all we need to tackle the human overpopulation of the earth.
Secondly, the environment and the habitats of the various animal species must be protected against access by people.
Furthermore, financial and human resources must be provided to enforce the already existing protective laws.
Zoos and captive breeding are the wrong approach to a survival of the different animal species. Because, what is the benefit of breeding programmes, when the animals will never go back into the wild?

Anne Grice



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