World Animal Protection partner Intrepid Travel announces end to elephant rides

21 May 2014

The world’s first responsible tour operator, Intrepid Travel is leading the way in animal protection in the tourism industry and is encouraging Australians to take action to become animal friendly travellers.

The Melbourne-based adventure travel company ended elephant rides and visits to entertainment venues on all of its trips earlier this year, following an extensive three year research process to assess the welfare of captive elephants at entertainment venues in Asia. 

The research was conducted by the World Animal Protection with the support of Intrepid Travel, who have worked with the animal charity since 2000. 

World Animal Protection's Senior Wildlife and Veterinary Advisor, Dr Jan Schmidt-Burbach said: "Wild animals belong in the wild – not in entertainment. We welcome all progress within the tourism industry towards recognising this fact and taking action to prevent cruelty. 

"Helping people to understand the choices they can make whilst travelling can create positive experiences for them and for the animals that they encounter along the way. 

"World Animal Protection urges all tour operators to support animal friendly tourism and to help every customer make animal friendly choices when travelling."

Around the world, animals are routinely being exploited for entertainment purposes. This cruelty ranges from posing and taking a photo with an animal, visiting live animal shows and riding animals for transport. People love to travel and whilst on their journey are likely to come across one or more forms of animal cruelty – and potentially not even be aware that this is the case.

A focus on education

Asian elephants are highly endangered and tourism demand has led to venues where elephants are forced to do unnatural performances. The research concludes that this causes pain and suffering to the elephants, and that the tourism industry has added to the number of elephants being poached from the wild.

“We applaud recent moves in the tourism industry to end elephant rides.” says Geoff Manchester, Intrepid Travel Co-founder. “Responsible travel has been central to how we’ve run Intrepid for 25 years and as an industry we can do more to help protect wild animals from cruelty.

 “The issues are complex around animals in captivity, which is why Intrepid has been partnered with World Animal Protection for many years, and have been able to tap into their expertise on animal protection.

“Our focus is on educating people, and teaching local communities about animal welfare and environmental conservation. While we once included elephant rides or entertainment venue visits, we’re now working with rehabilitation and sanctuary facilities. We hope that the increased patronage to commendable venues like this will help encourage others to lift their standards.

Find out more about Intrepid's decision here

Making animal-friendly choices on holiday

Learning how to be responsible and animal-friendly when you travel is a simple, ethical action that everyone can make towards protecting animals around the world. 

We recognise that people impact and are impacted by their travel experiences and we want those experiences to be positive for all travellers and the animals that they encounter along the way.

We urge people to always show respect – for the people, the culture, the environment and the animals, in every country that you visit.

The issues are complex around animals in captivity, which is why Intrepid has been partnered with World Animal Protection for many years, and have been able to tap into their expertise on animal protection.
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