The dark truth behind wildlife tourism

(nationalgeographic.com)

40 points | by boernard 96 days ago

5 comments

  • belorn 96 days ago

    The story about dolphins makes me wonder why domestic horses are viewed as normal. When I compare them to dolphins the same boxes pops up. Horses have evolved to run great distances and live in larger social groups. The area which horses are kept is comparable very small compared to their wild counterpart. Horses are usually kept with only one or a few other horses, but the law do allow them to be isolated. There isn't much strict law dictating how much space they must have.

    • devoply 96 days ago

      Comments like your's makes me wonder why humans have been turned into zombies sitting in front of a desk most of their lives. Humans also did not evolve for the environment that they have created for themselves with their technology. They evolved as hunter gatherers that often traveled large distances chasing their food source. What they created for themselves in their sedentary lifestyles in no way resembles that.

      • ip26 96 days ago

        Perhaps because we are endurance hunters, we are programmed from birth to seek comfort & idleness. The way I see it, we were "designed" to live in tension between wanting to be idle (to save energy), but having to be active to survive.

        Once we became runaway successful, that tension between a need to be active & a desire to be idle started to disappear.

        • rwallace 96 days ago

          Yes. Excessive working hours and too little exercise are huge problems pretty nearly everywhere in the world. The problem of cruelty to one species is in no way diminished by observing the problem of cruelty to another species. Were you suggesting otherwise?

          • maxxxxx 96 days ago

            I think both your comment and your parent poster’s comments make sense.

            • 9nGQluzmnq3M 96 days ago

              Humans have a choice. Captive animals don't.

              • mgolawala 96 days ago

                Perhaps we don’t anymore? Not for most of us anyway. In a sense we too are domesticated and brought up in captivity.

                Even if we knew how to survive. Between private property, most wildlife being eradicated, the rest being protected, loss of natural ecosystems to farmland (private property) and ranch land (private property), commercial fishing reducing the abundance of fish available, other areas being protected from fishing, rivers being dammed up or polluted, water tables dropping due to the pumping of ground water, and our sheer numbers. Perhaps Living like hunter gatherers is no longer a choice available to us. It is either live as we do now, or perish. I know that is how it would be for me.

                It's a sobering thought.

                • devoply 96 days ago

                  We don't and we haven't for thousands of years since farming and the states, empires, and concept of ownership which sprung up as a result of that. It's almost impossible to be a hunter gatherer anymore... and those who still choose to practice this sort of life style are far an between and often prey to other actors who exploit the fact that they have little representation in modern society.

                • maxxxxx 96 days ago

                  Captive have no choice but most humans don’t really have one either.

              • ip26 95 days ago

                IMO the answer is pretty simple; they were vital to building modern society, and as a result we're culturally accustomed to their use.

                It probably helps that many (though by no stretch all) horses are very well taken care of and have a job to do. Show animals on the other hand (horse or dolphin) have a long track record of abuse, exploitation, neglect, and boredom.

              • scythe 96 days ago

                When I initially clicked the link, I expected to hear about some bad things that happen when lots of tourists go somewhere to look at wildlife. Wildlife, to me, means animals which are not captive to humans. But the majority of animals described in this article -- tame elephants, dancing bears, trained monkeys and so forth -- are born, raised and abused in captivity.

                Now if you told me that animal performance attractions are typically cruel, that would be a much less surprising headline -- the sordid history of circus animals is a long-told story. I guess the Amazon river dolphins are wildlife, but if the punchline of the story were "dolphins hurt each other fighting for bait", I don't think it would arouse quite as much pity in the audience. And I wouldn't be nearly as surprised to hear that there is a "dark secret" lurking behind "exotic animal encounter" tourism.

                So I feel a little disappointed in the title.

                • itronitron 95 days ago

                  Yes, but a lot of these experiences for tourists are offered in a way that conceals the 'performance' aspect in such a way that people feel they are having a wildlife experience.

                • neonate 96 days ago
                  • everybodyknows 96 days ago

                    The label itself is a lie -- those animals aren't wildlife any more. They're captives in most brutal imprisonment.

                    • fqw3b58w4n6 96 days ago

                      Go Vegan. If you already believe animal cruelty is wrong, you already believe in veganism.

                      • vinay427 96 days ago

                        Just to add a few thoughts to this for those who believe in animal welfare:

                        If you think it's too hard or impractical, assuming you live in a developed country it's almost certainly quite feasible and can be very cheap.

                        If you think it's too radical, it probably shouldn't seem any different than any of the other moral conundrums we abstain from. Is it radical to not kill, assault, or rob people?

                        Of course, the context of social acceptance matters, but to illustrate why this (in my opinion) isn't always appropriate, something more comparable: would you consider it radical to not enslave people if you lived in the US during the era of slavery and had the choice to do so but thought it morally wrong?

                        • harimau777 96 days ago

                          I've tried to eat at least more vegan and found it quite difficult. I can put some chicken, refried beans, cheese, and a tortilla in the microwave and have a satisfying, high calorie meal in five minutes. I haven't found a vegan equivalent yet.

                          • blacksmith_tb 96 days ago

                            It isn't satisfying without the chicken? The 'high calorie' aspect won't change too much... There are quite a few fake-meat takes on chicken out there, I don't miss meat so I tend to avoid them, but they exist.

                            • googlemike 96 days ago

                              I am vegetarian - I find it a nice balance between the two. In your example, drop the chicken, add some salsa and another kind of bean (whole black?). For extra fun, replace the chicken prep with mushrooms or tofu.

                          • phil248 96 days ago

                            How about instead of Go Vegan....

                            Go eat how you think you should eat. Maybe that includes insects. Maybe that includes steak once a month. Maybe it includes eggs but not milk. Make up your own mind and don't feel limited by the tiny number of established labels. They each come with their own complicated caveats and connotations. And they each demand, by virtue of their established labels, strict adherence to someone else's ideology.

                            Go make up your own ideology.

                            • ebg13 96 days ago

                              That's not really true, though, because killing something and being cruel to something aren't the same thing.

                              • Swenrekcah 96 days ago

                                I believe animal cruelty is wrong and I respect people who commit to vegeterianism/veganism, but I’ll keep eating meat until it’s economically unviable.

                                • devin 96 days ago

                                  From which angle? I can't cite figures off the top of my head, but my understanding is that it's well established that eating meat is economically unviable in numerous ways.

                                  • Causality1 96 days ago

                                    Unviable for him personally, not in a general planetary sense.

                                • Causality1 96 days ago

                                  Nobody could argue that factory-farmed chicken and pork isn't evil, but there are ways to eat meat without cruelty. Steers raised for meat are not miserable, nor are deer I (try) to shoot every winter.