WILDLIFE

Travel provides us unique opportunities to see and learn about the diverse wildlife of our world. However, making educated choices is critical in protecting wildlife and ensuring our personal travel experiences don’t come at the cost of their wellbeing.

At The Travel Corporation, we uphold a strict Animal Welfare Policy for all wildlife experiences offered by our brands and organizations supported by our TreadRight Foundation, to ensure that we enforce a travel industry free of animal cruelty.

HALF A MILLION WILD ANIMALS

This is the amount of wild animals that our partner World Animal Protection estimates is currently enduring lifetimes of suffering at tourist entertainment venues globally.

4 ways TRAVEL BENEFITS WILDLife conservation

Read this article from our partner WTTC to learn how.

LET’S PROTECT WILDLIFE TOGETHER

YOUR GOAL: CHOOSE ETHICAL WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS

LEARNING

THE Five domains of Animal welfare:

The Five Domains model is the most up-to-date, scientific based framework for assessing animal welfare: Nutrition, Environment, Health, Behavior, and Mental or Affective State. Learn more.

DOMESTIC VS. WILD

The distinction between domestic and wild will determine the environment in which each animal thrives, so it’s important to know the difference:

Domestic animals have been bred over many generations for specific traits that make them better suited to living alongside humans. This means that with the right care, they can live closely with humans without suffering. This includes dogs, horses, donkeys and camels, among others.

Wild animals flourish in their natural environment with room to roam. These animals should be observed without being enclosed or disrupted, for example on safari, or in their natural habitat.

VIEWING ANIMALS IN ENCLOSURES

Sanctuaries, rehabilitation centers, zoos and aquariums can play a critical role in wildlife conservation and education when they serve the right purpose: that which is in the best interest of the animals. At the very least, these facilities:

Must not use wild animals for entertainment (rides, shows, tricks, selfies)

Must not keep wild animals solely to make a profit

♦ Must exist to rescue and help animals

RIDING ANIMALS

Wild animals such as elephants, dolphins, ostriches, and big cats should never be ridden. Any instance where wild animals are held captive for these purposes entails abuse and suffering.

For domesticated animals, riding is acceptable when animals are kept in healthy living conditions:

♦ Animals must be kept in conditions that meet the Five Domains of Animal Welfare 

♦ Facilities must possess all relevant licenses 

Animals must appear in healthy condition, are not overloaded and have adequate water and rest periods

PLANNING YOUR TRAVELS

 

Research venues

Before visiting a venue, do your research to ensure the venue is operating with the animals’ best interest.

An ethical venue will answer ‘yes’ to these questions:

What is the purpose of the facility – does it exist to address a specific problem in the best interest of the animal (ie. rescue, rehabilitation, release programs)?

Where do the animals come from – were they sick, injured, orphaned, abandoned or donated when they arrived to the facility?

Are animals able to act and behave naturally?

Are all the correct permits and licenses in place at the facility?

If the facility has a breeding program, will the animals bred in captivity be released into their native habitat in the wild?

Elephant

Verify credentials

Is the sanctuary or rescue center accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), or recommended by other sanctuary experts such as the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), the American Sanctuary Association (ASA), or animal welfare experts?

 

WHILE TRAVELING

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

When done right, travel has immense potential to enhance wildlife conservation efforts. Here’s how you can help:

Get to know our Animal Welfare Policy

Turn off location GPS when on safari

Speak up if you see or think that animals are not being treated well

Take our Pledge to MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® for our planet, its people and wildlife

Elephant Safari

UNACCEPTABLE PRACTICES:

 

Animals performing for entertainment or other human interests

Activities involving animals that were purchased, bred, traded, or held captive for the purposes of tourism

Riding or sitting on wild animals

Walking with big cats

Any type of sport or trophy hunting

Consuming meat or other products from endangered or threatened animals (ie. shark, tiger, puffin, sea turtle, etc.)

Purchasing wildlife souvenirs such as ivory

Operating drones near or above wildlife, creating a noise disturbance

Baiting animals for entertainment or to lure them into closer view

Any activity that supports the breeding, display, and trade of cetaceans for entertainment (whales, dolphins, porpoises)

Any activity involving the use of animals for fights (bullfights, cockfights, crocodile wrestling, bear baiting)

Posting pictures of endangered species on social media with the location tagged, which poachers are now leveraging to hunt their prey

WHEN VIEWING ANIMALS IN THE WILD

Maintain a respectful distance and create minimal noise to avoid disrupting their natural behaviors

Do not feed, chase, touch, or harass wild animals

Do not take wildlife selfies that encourage close encounters with wildlife

OUR GOAL:

#11: ENSURE ALL WILDLIFE EXPERIENCES ACROSS TTC BRANDS ADHERE TO OUR ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY BY 2021

ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY

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& our brands

♦ Our first Animal Welfare Policy was established in 2014 in partnership with World Animal Protection after TTC joined more than 100 travel companies in signing the Elephant-Friendly Tourism Pledge, and banned elephant riding on our trips as well as running with the bulls in Pamplona. This policy was updated in 2020 to reflect the latest framework for animal welfare, the Five Domains model.

♦ In January 2020, we conducted an audit of all wildlife experiences offered by TTC brands to ensure adherance to our Animal Welfare Policy. These audits occur annually with the next one scheduled for August 2021.

♦ Our Animal Welfare Policy is distributed to the wildlife experience venues we contract to ensure our position is clear on animal welfare.

♦ If you have any questions or concerns, or feel an experience on one of our trips doesn’t meet our animal welfare standards, please contact us at animalwelfare@treadright.org.

TREADRIGHT FOUNDATION

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OUR WILDLIFE PROJECTS

♦ Through its Wildlife pillar, our TreadRight Foundation partners with various conservation organizations worldwide to support their wildlife protection and rehabilitation efforts. Some of these project partners include: the University of Botswana Leopard Citizen Science Project, working to gather data at Xigera Safari Lodge which will aid in protecting the endangered species; Wildlife SOS, rescuing and rehabilitating injured and sick elephants in India; and Wilderness Foundation Africa, protecting rhinos under threat of poaching in South Africa. Learn about these and our other wildlife projects here.

 

PARTNERSHIPS

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World Animal Protection

In 2014 TTC launched its first Animal Welfare Policy after partnering with World Animal Protection, signing its Elephant-Friendly Tourism Pledge, and stopping the sale of any experience that involved animal rides or shows.

TTC and TreadRight support World Animal Protection’s goal of changing supplier behaviour within the industry through its Coalition for Ethical Wildlife Tourism, established to demonstrate the consumer demand for ethical experiences.

END WILDLIFE CRIME INITIATIVE

TreadRight is a Founding Champion of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime (EWC), with the aim of achieving international legal reform to address the enormous and devestating industry of illegal wildlife trade. 

BLOOD LIONS

In South Africa, lions continue to be held captive in small enclosures and killed every day. TreadRight partner Blood Lions, along with World Animal Protection, is continuing to raise global awareness around this cruel industry to bring an end to captive and commercial breeding of lions and big cats in South Africa. Learn more.

 

OUR PROGRESS

Our first Impact Report published May 2022 details the progress The Travel Corporation’s family of brands has made against our 11 sustainability goals since the launch of our sustainability strategy How We Tread Right in 2020. Learn more >