Holding turtles attractions should also not be promoted, the report says. Photo: World Animal Protection Elephant rides are at the top of the list of cruel attractions. Photo: World Animal Protection
A performing monkey holds onto his wooden motorbike in the streets of Cikarang in West Java. Photo: Kate Geraghty
Monkey performances are among the cruellest wildlife attractions, a report says. Photo: World Animal Protection
Attractions that feature “tamed” wildlife are cruel, a report says. Photo: World Animal Protection
Jakarta: An international animal welfare organisation has launched a campaign calling on travel website TripAdvisor to stop promoting and selling tickets to wildlife tourist attractions that it says are cruel to animals.
In February, World Animal Protection released a list of 10 of the world’s cruellest wildlife attractions, including riding elephants, taking tiger selfies, holding sea turtles, touring civet-poo coffee plantations, performing dolphins and dancing monkeys.
Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit assessed 188 different venues and 51,308 reviews left on TripAdvisor.
The researchers found 80 per cent of people left positive reviews for venues that were treating wild animals cruelly.
World Animal Protection head of campaigns Nicola Beynon says many tourists are unaware of the suffering that goes on behind the scenes.
In order to make elephants accept people riding on their backs, for example, they are taken from their mothers when babies and tied up or caged during a training process to establish dominance, during which pain is often inflicted with pointed metal bull hooks.
And the massive international demand for Kopi Luwak – coffee made from undigested beans in civet faeces – has led to them being caged and often forced to gorge on an unbalanced diet of coffee cherries.
“TripAdvisor is hugely influential and has a critical role to play in helping to end the abuse of wild animals,” Ms Beynon said in a statement.
World Animal Protection is calling on TripAdvisor to stop selling tickets to cruel wildlife attractions through online booking agency Viator, which it acquired in 2014.
It also wants it to stop the attractions receiving a certificate of excellence or being ranked in TripAdvisor’s popularity index.
“It’s time TripAdvisor started educating tourists on wildlife-friendly venues, similar to the way it promotes eco-friendly accommodation through the GreenLeaders program,” Ms Beynon said.
A TripAdvisor spokesperson said the company believed it was important that all attractions were listed on the site so travellers could share their personal experiences.
“The fact that a property, establishment or business may be listed on TripAdvisor does not represent our endorsement of that establishment.”
The spokesperson said excluding a business that had received overwhelming positive reviews from its rankings or awards would be contrary to Trip Advisor’s mission to shine a light on traveller sentiment.
“We believe the best catalyst for change comes from the travel community itself. To that end, if visitors to a wildlife attraction have a concern about the wildlife practices they have seen, we absolutely encourage them to leave that feedback in a review on TripAdvisor as a way to make more informed decisions.”
The spokesperson said Viator did not book tours for animal experiences that were known to be prohibited by the local government.
“Ultimately it is the responsibility of national governments and local regulatory bodies – not internet sites – to ensure that businesses are operating within the legal requirements of that country.”
Animal welfare has been in the spotlight in Indonesia recently after wildlife trade monitoring group Scorpion raised concerns about photos of tourists posing with a sleepy-looking lion at Taman Safari in Bogor.
“We ask BKSDA [National Resources Conservation Agency] to reassure us that this lion was not drugged,” Scorpion senior investigator Marison Guciano said earlier this month.
And last year Sydney surfer Craig Brokensha started an online petition protesting against dolphins being kept in a chlorinated swimming pool at Wake Bali Dolphins resort.
Wake Bali Dolphins manager Ade Setiawan told Fairfax Media they would not be allowed to operate or bring animals into Bali if they did not fully comply with the regulations and standard of care for dolphins.
“They are still in the pool. We use a little chlorine, a small amount, as disinfectant,” he said.
Performing monkeys were banned from Jakarta’s streets after Joko Widodo – then the governor of Jakarta – announced in 2013 the city administration would buy them and send them to the zoo following a campaign by animal cruelty activists.
Top 10 cruellest wildlife tourist attractions according to World Animal Protection
★ Riding elephants
★ Taking tiger selfies
★ Walking with lions
★ Visiting bear parks
★ Holding sea turtles
★ Performing dolphins
★ Dancing monkeys
★ Touring civet cat coffee plantations
★ Charming snakes and kissing cobras
★ Crocodile farms
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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.