More than 1,300 wild animals across Bali and Lombok, including elephants, orangutans and dolphins, are still being exploited for the amusement of tourists, a new investigation from World Animal Protection has found.
The 2023 ‘Holidays that Harm’ report by the global wildlife charity these animals are being kept in squalid conditions, with a majority of the 34 venues investigated finding these animals are not receiving the basic levels of care needed.
A similar investigation in 2017 led leading travel retailers Flight Centre and Helloworld to remove these businesses from their list of promoted experiences across the Indonesian islands.
This report has also now led online travel and experience provider Klook to introduce an animal welfare policy which will see it stop selling tourist activities involving the exploitation of animals, bringing it into line with other tourism giants including Booking.com, Airbnb, Virgin Holidays and more.
Coming into effect in October this year, Klook’s decision comes in response to public and customer pressure to adhere to global standards as it relates to experiences involving cruelty to animals.
World Animal Protection Head of Campaigns ANZ, Suzanne Milthorpe, said she welcomed the decision by Klook but that more work was needed.
“We hope to see the company keep moving towards eliminating all cruel wildlife attractions from its platform, and work towards a fully responsible tourism future to give their customers peace of mind when booking with them,” Milthorpe said.
“We urge all tourism industry players to take responsibility for the activities and venues they promote, and work with us towards a future where tourism is responsible, sustainable, and does not contribute to wildlife cruelty.”
Intrepid Travel is another tour operator which has been highly active in campaigning against inhumane treatment of animals for the purposes of tourism, with Intrepid Travel Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, Brett Mitchell, saying the company was committed to protecting the animals that inhabit the destinations it visits.
“The current state of animal welfare in Bali is disheartening, and we believe it’s crucial for travellers to seek out ethical operators and local suppliers who have transparent policies in place,” Mitchell said.
“We always encourage travellers to educate themselves, ask questions, and utilise resources like the World Animal Protection Genuine Wildlife Sanctuary checklist or our own Animal Welfare Policy Toolkit to ensure they’re as knowledgeable as possible.
“These resources provide guidance on implementing animal-friendly practices within tourism organisations and offer a policy template to assist businesses in embarking on their own ethical animal tourism journey.”
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