Faux-conservation facilities often feed unsuspecting tourists lies about how the animals got there.
Despite the influx of social media posts which reveal the truth behind faux-conservation facilities, millions of people around the world still continue to venture to wildlife organizations who claim that the tourists are helping conserve the wildlife species. There are thousands of facilities and tourist attractions around the world that entice excited and oblivious tourists into their profit-driven animal camps. From Tiger Temple in Thailand to elephant rides and lion cub cuddles in South Africa. These are all places that claim that tourists are helping to conserve and protect the species by visiting the facility and donating money, but in fact, those tourists are aiding the decline of populations and fueling a constant stream of animal abuse and the illegal wildlife trade.
The big question is ‘what are the signs that a place is bad for animals?’. Whilst all wildlife facilities will sadly spew lies about why the animals are in the facilities, none of these should be believed. Without a doubt, tourists that visit these places will hear statements such as, “these cubs were rejected by their mother so you are helping their survival” and “these elephants were rescued from an abusive past so they have to interact with people to give them the love they need”. And without a doubt the unsuspecting tourists will tell their friends that the place that they went to “wasn’t like the rest” and was a “good place for the animals”, and “the elephant ride was only 15 minutes so it didn’t harm the elephant”. But the fact remains, if you can pet and take selfies with a should-be wild animal, the place is not a good one.
It was recently reported that all of the tigers at Tiger Temple are drugged, which forces them to remain “calm” and allows hundreds of tourists a day to pose for photos with them. These tigers are incredibly abused and are far from living a natural life in the wild. A video emerged last year of a male worker punching one of the tigers in the face at Thailand’s Tiger Temple. And despite huge groups of tourists surrounding the incident, nothing was done at the time until the video went viral on social media and Tiger Temple received a lot of bad press.
If an animal “performs” for tourists, then that animal has been seriously abused in order to be trained to perform these “shows”. An example of this is elephants involved in circus performances. During these shows, the elephants are constantly hit and poked with a bullhook, which is an elongated metal handle with a sharp hook on the end. There have also been reports of elephants bleeding from their faces after being repeatedly hit with bullhooks during tourist elephant rides across Asia.
If an animal lives in a tank, such as dolphins and orcas at places like SeaWorld, alarm bells should immediately ring, telling tourists that these animals are not in their natural habitat, and therefore, not receiving the vital nutrients and freedom that they should be. These animals would have either been born in captivity, meaning that they have never even seen the ocean, which is their rightful home, or they would have been taken from their natural habitat and forced to live the rest of their lives in a confined glass box.
If an animal is seen pacing up and down the edges of its enclosure, this is a huge warning sign. An animal that paces is showing sure signs of stress and frustration of not being able to get out, and poor mental health from being imprisoned.
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