On the Indonesian islands of Bali and Lombok, wildlife entertainment parks promise visitors a chance to see wild animals at close range. However, according to a recent report from World Animal Protection (WAP), none of the wildlife parks on these islands meet good welfare standards.
Out of the 34 wildlife parks investigated, many did not provide for the animal’s basic needs. WAP’s findings, released in a report titled Holidays that Harm, investigate the treatment of more than 1,300 animals at these 34 venues. The current report shows little change since 2017.
Cruelty at Wildlife Parks
Investigators found animals at these wildlife centers endure horrifying cruelty. Parks frequently keep elephants, dolphins, tigers, orangutans, and macaques chained or confined to small enclosures.
Many animals endure unnatural isolation. For social creatures such as macaques and elephants, this leads to extreme stress and self-harming behaviors.
At wildlife parks, animals are often starved and beaten. Elephants are frequently separated from their mothers at young ages and trained using cruel methods.
They are then forced to perform in shows and allow people to ride on them. Other animals, such as dolphins and tigers, also undergo abusive living conditions and training so they can be used in shows.
Even venues that do not offer animal rides or shows were found to offer subpar living conditions for animals.
Responsible and Humane Tourism
Bali and Lombok’s wildlife venues sometimes market themselves as rescue centers or sanctuaries. They frequently provide misleading information on their websites. This can make it difficult for tourists to determine whether venues are providing adequate care to animals.
According to World Animal Protection, tourists should assume cruelty is involved if they are able to interact with an animal in ways that would not be possible in the wild. This includes elephant rides, dolphin shows, or handling small animals.
Tourists and travel companies can help end the mistreatment of captive animals. Support only reputable wildlife rehabilitation centers and sanctuaries.
WAP asks tourists to take the following actions: seek out venues promoting ethical and humane animal experiences, observe rather than interact with animals, avoid souvenirs made from animal products, and not share or like social media that depicts animal cruelty.
Travel companies also play a significant role. Companies such as TripAdvisor should remove content promoting irresponsible and cruel animal interactions.
This article by Willow Lynn was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 29 June 2023.
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