I’VE COME BACK to check on a baby. Just after dusk I’m in a car lumbering down a muddy road in the rain, past rows of shackled elephants, their trunks swaying. I was here five hours before, when the sun was high and hot and tourists were on elephants’ backs.NATASHA DALY – NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Read the full article
Walking now, I can barely see the path in the glow of my phone’s flashlight. When the wooden fence post of the stall stops me short, I point my light down and follow a current of rainwater across the concrete floor until it washes up against three large, gray feet. A fourth foot hovers above the surface, tethered tightly by a short chain and choked by a ring of metal spikes. When the elephant tires and puts her foot down, the spikes press deeper into her ankle.
How to avoid making an animal suffer during your trip? Elephant ride, swim with dolphins, so many proposals that make you dream at first sight. However, behind these beautiful vacation images hides a sad reality.
Sharing a moment with a wild animal should not be within everyone’s reach
The intention is commendable and there are alternatives to share a special moment with a wild animal far from the phenomena of overexploitation which are associated with it. Several travel professionals very sensitive to the issue have initiated alternatives through research programs and which specialize in respecting animals and their environments.
Here are some elements of observation that you can practice to be sure that you are facing a sustainable approach:
1- The most obvious of them is the physical aspect: thinness, wounds, inability to move, an anesthetic practice incurred on the animal (photo with a sleeping tiger for example)
2- The animal has a repetitive behavior : It is often a bad sign, this assumes that it is linked to major stress and it is a sign of poor health.
3- The tourist group is very small , only a few people so as not to destabilize the animals in their environment.
4- It is the animals that come to meet you and not the reverse. Thus, the meeting is not experienced as an intrusion on their territory.
5- Make way for the imagination and let chance happen! Focus on living the moment without being sure that the meeting will take place. The experience of the quest must be unforgettable even if you will not see the animal concerned, you will have been on its steps, also meeting its environment and the spirit of the place .