Today is World Wildlife Day and this year’s theme “Listen to the Young Voices”, is encouraging the future leaders and decision makers of the world to act to protect our amazing wildlife.
As young leaders, What Can YOU Do for Wild Animals In Captivity?
While zoos and aquariums can significantly contribute to the protection of animals and their habitats, poor animal welfare is linked to poor conservation and education.
Here are a few ideas on how you can ensure you have a positive impact when visiting a zoo and as a tourist.
Be an Animal-Friendly Tourist
Animal cruelty is often unintentionally fuelled through tourism. Many tourist activities involve the exploitation of animals and can fuel on-going cruelty. You can be a responsible tourist by ensuring your actions do not contribute to animal cruelty.
- If you are planning a zoo visit when you next go on holiday, check to see if it is accredited.
- Do not take part in animal photo or handling opportunities, like the ones often touted in city squares and non-accredited zoos. Many of these animals have been badly handled, or taken from their mothers early to be trained for your entertainment.
- Do not buy products made from animals. This includes shells, seahorses, teeth and bones.
- Avoid animal rides on non-domestic animals such as elephants. Often these animals are not well cared for, have ill-fitting equipment and suffer significantly during the ‘breaking-in’ process and throughout their lives. Even with domestic animals such as horses and donkeys, be questioning about how they are looked after.
DO look for positive animal-friendly tourist activities that are eco-friendly and that are supported by local animal welfare organisations.
Take the Palm Oil Pledge
Palm oil is in hundreds of products we are using every day. From food items to toiletries, it is used in many different bread, biscuit and chocolate brands and in shampoos and moisturisers. Southeast Asian rainforest in being cleared at an alarming rate, often illegally, to make way for unsustainable Palm Oil Plantations. This means habitat destruction. But you can help. Check your products for palm oil, choose alternatives or only buy items containing palm oil from sustainable producers.
You can also enquire at your local zoo and if it has a Palm oil Campaign, find out how you can support it.
Report Wildlife Trafficking
Wildlife Witness is a smartphone app that allows you to do your bit and report wildlife trade. The illegal trade in wildlife is an international crisis, responsible for the loss and persecution of thousands of wild animal species globally. This simple app makes it possible for you to watch out for wildlife as you travel and help make a difference. Get the app here.