Not all ‘sanctuaries’ are good

Many travellers are rejecting cruel wildlife activities and looking for animal-friendly ways to see wild animals when they’re on holiday.

The most positive way to see wild animals is in the wild, where they belong. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. Your next best option is to visit a genuine wildlife sanctuary.

But with so many tourist venues claiming to be ‘sanctuaries’, how do you sort the genuine ones from those who are exploiting your desire to do the right thing by animals? We’ve put together this checklist to help you decide whether the venues you’re planning to visit really have their animals’ best interests at heart – or if they’re just out to make money from well-meaning tourists.

Two bear cups playing in the water at Zarnesti sanctuary

Is it a genuine wildlife sanctuary? Your checklist

In this guide, you’ll find checklists on what makes a genuine sanctuary to help decide which venues you should visit to see wild animals in high-welfare environments on your next trip.

Unfortunately, some venues label themselves ‘sanctuaries’ when they in fact offer some of the cruellest and most distressing activities, and keep their animals in the poorest conditions.

Download your checklist to make sure you’re visiting venues that have their animals’ best interests at heart.

I agree to receive further communications from World Animal Protection and understand I can opt out at any time. For information on how we use your details, and how we keep your details safe, please read our privacy policy

Wildlife. Not entertainers

With the help of our supporters, World Animal Protection works to end the unnecessary suffering of animals in the cruel wildlife entertainment industry. We want a world where wild animals live in the wild where they belong.

Up to one quarter of the trillion-dollar tourism industry is driven by demand for wildlife tourism. Most people don’t know about the unacceptable abuse of wild animals used in most wildlife activities including elephant rides, swimming with captive dolphins, and hugging and posing for photos with lions, tigers and sloths.

We are encouraging and working with the travel industry, tourists and entertainment venues to end the cruelty of wild animal entertainment. Fortunately, many tour operators see a great opportunity in changing their wildlife tourism practices. Following our approaches over the past four years, nearly 200 companies across the world have agreed to stop selling elephant rides and shows.