Moving the tourism industry
Working to end captivity of dolphins
Following our consistent campaigning, travel company Expedia Group updated it's animal welfare policy in 2021 and has committed to no longer sell tickets to captive dolphin shows.
This is a huge success for us, and dolphins around the world, as another major company joins us in protecting captive dolphins. We thank Expedia Group for it's decision to stop selling these tickets.
This is a significant step towards ending dolphin cruelty and making this the last generation of dolphins and whales in captivity for entertainment. This change of direction from Expedia Group is a testament to the perseverance of over 350,000 World Animal Protection supporters who have been campaigning tirelessly on this issue since 2019 and throughout the global pandemic, keeping up the pressure on the travel giant to do the right thing.
Whilst this move by the world's largest travel company Expedia Group is a positive one, there is still work to be done with other travel giants such as TUI, who are still supporting this cruelty.
World Animal Protection and our supporters will not stop campaigning to stop the cruel commercial exploitation of dolphins and other wildlife by tourism and other industries that profit from their suffering.
In entertainment venues across Asia thousands of elephants suffer daily, far from their wild homes and forced to perform unnatural acts for tourists. We want a world where wild animals live in the wild where they belong. But one of the biggest barriers to this natural freedom is global tourism.
Elephants are torn from their mothers too early to be cruelly trained into learning tricks, carry heavy seats with people upon their backs, or spend their lives being bathed, hand-fed, handled and touched all-day, every day, by multiple strangers.
When not performing or interacting with tourists, some are kept on short chains and others locked in small pens where they cannot roam freely as they would in the wild. They suffer physical and psychological trauma that the visitors to these ‘entertainment’ venues cannot see.
People are often deceived by clever marketing. We will continue to work to educate tourists about the harm involved in all elephant venues where unnatural behaviours are displayed or harmful activities are carried out.
There is no simple solution for elephants in captivity, but we focus on educating tourists, reducing demand for cruel entertainment, moving the travel industry, and promoting sustainable solutions.
Educating tourists and reducing demand
We work to raise tourists’ awareness to reduce the demand for cruel activities including elephant shows and rides. We also educate tourists on the harm associated with activities often marketed by elephant venues and travel companies as ‘care’ activities, such as hugging, touching, and bathing. And we promote elephant-friendly alternatives for tourists looking for an elephant-friendly experience.
Moving the travel industry
As of 2021, more than 260 travel companies have signed our elephant-friendly pledge, meaning they have committed to stop selling tickets to cruel entertainment. Instead, they now offer elephant-friendly tourist activities. Effective partnerships continue to be key to our success.
Elephants belong in the wild. But sadly, after years of captivity, it is not often possible to release captive elephants back to the wild. In these cases, alternative solutions need to be found where elephants’ physical and psychological needs are met.
We have developed guidelines to transition elephant entertainment venues to elephant-friendly venues. An elephant-friendly venue operates according to high welfare criteria. Visitors can respectfully observe elephants from a distance and learn about them, but there is no direct interaction and the elephants are able to live out their natural behaviours.