Monday, 12 August marked World Elephant Day when we can promote awareness around these grey wrinkly behemoths that truly deserve to live a life of freedom. They deserve freedom from hunger, discomfort, pain, injury, disease, fear and distress.
“One of the reasons I connect so deeply with elephant causes is that these magnificent creatures have so many traits in common with us,” says Teresa Richardson, Managing Director for The Travel Corporation.
“Elephants have strong family bonds, they display empathy, they communicate with each other through touch, sound, smell and sight; and what makes them so like us is that they mourn their dead.”
We should be treating them and every animal with the respect and care they deserve. This World Elephant Day spread the message on social media and hop onboard the train to respect, protect and save our wildlife. “Use your voice across your social media platforms and call attention to the plight of elephants,” says Teresa, “and only support observation-only elephant-friendly tourism.”
“The Travel Corporation, in partnership with the TreadRight Foundation and the Five Freedoms Animal Welfare Policy, encourages travellers to enjoy responsible and humane animal encounters. We support the work of people who, like us, seek to protect the places we explore and who are creating initiatives that drive positive change,” says Teresa.
Here are some practical steps to be an animal friendly traveller and to #MakeTravelMatter
- The best animal encounter is a wild one. View animals in their natural habitat exhibiting natural behaviours and do not initiate contact with them
- Do not ride on the back of an elephant. To ‘train’ an elephant to accept riders, they are taken from their mothers at an early age and physically and mentally abused #RefuseToRide
- Avoid aquariums or marine parks where large mammals like dolphins or whales are kept in captivity. These environments are very unnatural and cause stress to these intelligent and far-ranging animals
- Do not purchase souvenirs made from wild animals such as fur, ivory, shells, seahorses, teeth, rhino horns and turtle shells. In the words of Yao Ming, a WildAid Ambassador, only elephants should own ivory
- Never participate in cub petting or lion walking experiences, as many of them bred the lions for the ‘Canned Lion Hunting’ industry, to be shot in captivity
- Do not attend festivals or attracts that subject animals to cruelty for entertainment, such as animal circuses, dancing bears, dog or cockerel fights, running of the bulls and any festival that causes suffering to animals.
- Don’t take a wildlife selfie if the animal is being held, hugged, or restrained, if you are baiting the animal with food or if the animal could harm you
- Before riding on the back of a horse, mule or donkey, match your size to that of the animal and ensure your weight is evenly balanced when riding
- Only visit and support animal sanctuaries and shelters involving wild animals in captivity if the objectives of the organisation are in the animals best interests (e.g. re-homing, rehabilitation or release in the wild)
- “Speak up! Animals cannot speak for themselves and it is up to us to ensure they are not in an abusive situation.
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