World Animal Protection partner Intrepid Travel announces end to elephant rides

21 May 2014

The Australian tour operator, Intrepid Travel, is leading the way for animal protection in the tourism industry and encouraging tourists to take action and become animal friendly travelers.

The adventure travel company ended elephant rides and visits to entertainment venues on all of its trips earlier this year, following three years of research assessing the welfare of captive elephants at entertainment venues in Asia. 

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

Our 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. 

"We urge 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 exploited for entertainment. Cruelty can range from posing and taking a photo with an animal, to visiting live animal shows and riding animals for transport. Frequent travellers are likely to come across one or more forms of animal cruelty – and may not even realise this is the case.

A focus on education

Asian elephants are highly endangered and demand from tourists has led to venues in which elephants are forced to do unnatural performances. Our 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."

Read more about Intrepid's decision.

Making animal friendly choices on holiday

Learning to be a compassionate traveller is a simple action that everyone can take towards protecting animals around the world. 

Find out how you can be an animal friendly traveller.

"We urge all tour operators to support animal friendly tourism and to help every customer make animal-friendly choices when travelling."
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