Be a Responsible Tourist Tips
If you're reading this, you most likely love animals, or at least think they deserve to be respected for being inhabitants of this planet, just as we are. Animals are wonderful creatures, but they are also vulnerable beings, as are the people who adore animals. The passion for animals makes them a potential prey of activities that, if they knew better, would not support. Therefore, animal lovers often unwittingly contribute to the cruel exploitation of animals.
Sometimes, you are not aware when choosing to participate in activities, being promoted as fun, exciting, or sometimes educational, that they can be harmful to the very same animals you are so interested in. We would like to enlighten you on what is going on behind the scenes of these activities that seem to be so harmless.
Below we would like to give you some tips to avoid that your money or time adversely affect animals during your vacation:
- Do not pay to feed elephants that wander the streets of cities: these animals live a horrible life, in a completely unnatural environment and without receiving the most minimum care necessary.
- Do not take part in elephant rides and do not go to see elephant shows.
- Do not participate in activities involving caged, chained or performing animals.
- Avoid staying or eating in hotels and restaurants that hold wild animals in captivity.
- Only participate in activities that actually help animals.
- Do not swim with dolphins or other wild animals.
- Help abandoned dogs and cats.
- Avoid horse, donkey or carriage rides.
- Do not feed wild animals as this can have serious consequences for their health and your safety.
- Do not touch wild animals, since you could unwittingly pass on a disease and jeopardize your safety.
- Do not scream, make noise or smoke around animals.
- Do not provoke the animals.
- Do not buy souvenirs made from animal parts or take any live animal home with you as a keepsake.
- Do not support the use of animals as objects for pictures and do not have your picture taken with them.
- Do not support dancing bears.
- Do not visit circuses that use animals.
- Under no circumstances interact with dangerous animals.
- Do not buy souvenirs made from animal material or any other animal product.
- Do not support shows where animals have to perform tasks that have nothing to do with their natural behavior.
- Ask your Tour Operator or inquire at the centers before visiting if they have conservation projects and / or active educational programs, this being what responsible organizations offer.
Animal viewing in their natural habitat:
- Ask your guide to not get too close to the animals to prevent scaring them with our presence or our interference in their natural behavior.
- If an animal tries to hide or appears frightened or alarmed by our presence, ask your guide to not pursue it any more.
- When in the proximity of an animal, talk quietly and do not make sudden movements that may frighten them.
- Stay away from breeding areas (nests, burrows, dens, etc) as this may jeopardize the success of breeding.
- Note that using the flash of the camera can frighten animals and make them turn aggressive.
- Do not approach the animals, let them approach you if they want to.
- If you decide not to participate in an activity involving caged or abused animals, explain the reason for your decision to the person in charge. They should know that animal welfare concerns many people and that they can sometimes lose business if they continue exploiting animals.
- If you witness some kind of abuse during your vacation, take pictures and write down all possible information and...contact us!
About this section
As a tourist you can be alert, look out for potential animal abuse during your vacation, do not take part in suspicious activities and report them to your tour operator, the the police or organizations for animal protection. We also encourage the tourism industry to point out practices that put animals at risk and make educated decisions in order to avoid promoting them.