Published on : Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Online travel company Expedia will be removing wildlife tours and activities that present a risk to animal welfare. This decision comes after several investigative reports from animal rights groups in recent years, which have brought to light the abuses animals suffer when featured as tourist attractions.
Expedia also plans to launch a new “Wildlife Tourism Education Portal,” which will present detailed information on animal-related activities later this year. The program is being developed with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, Born Free Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International.
Jen O’Twomney, vice president, Expedia Local Expert said, “As travelers, it is important that we know more about the places we go, the activities we engage in, and the ways in which we leave lasting impacts on our destinations. As we help people go places, we want to help them do it thoughtfully, and responsibly.”
The portal will feature information about activities involving animal interactions, and a direct link on wildlife tourism and animal welfare.
Last month, animal welfare group World Animal Protection released a comprehensive report which revealed that three-quarters of Asia’s captive elephants are kept in poor or unacceptable conditions. Researchers spent two years visiting 220 venues across Asia as part of the investigation and found that Thailand was the biggest offender when it comes to abusing elephants. Riding elephants also topped the group’s 2016 report on the world’s cruelest animal tourist attractions, followed by “tiger selfies,” which became hugely popular.