I couldn’t believe it! In one breath the poster said, “… you can look them right in the eye…” and then, “… meat available, cheeks, tail…” Tell me, can anyone with a heart invite you to look an animal in the eye, catch a glimpse of its very soul, and then serve it up on a plate for you to eat? Tourists beware!
That’s why we can never go back to this particular camp outside of Francistown, Botswana. It was a favorite once, but not anymore. They encourage their guests to pay to see crocodile being raised to eat at the farm next door.
In this case the owners of the crocodile farm are being blatantly open as to their motives. Unfortunately in many cases people are much more sly. They entice unsuspecting tourists to spend money under the auspice of wildlife conservation… when really all they are doing is exploiting the animals for profit.
Tourists Beware of the following if you care at all about wildlife…
Animal interaction attractions
Who doesn’t want to pet a cute lion or cheetah cub? Or walk with a lion or cheetah through the bush? For some reason as humans we love interacting with wild animals. Maybe it’s the Adrenalin rush, who knows? Whatever it is these park owners prey on it. They’ll tell you they’re into wildlife conservation. They’ll lead you to believe that the big cats are released into the wilds. Well, they’re not!
Lion cubs at petting zoos are taken away from their mothers far too early. They are frequently underfed so they stay small. They are subjected to hours of human handling. Once they’re too big they might be used for walks. If they’re too unpredictable they are sold off for canned trophy hunts. After that in many cases their bones are sold off to Asia after their head is stuffed to bloat the ego of some puny human.
Bottom line: Tourists beware of parks that offer interactions with wild animals. Most of the time they will be doing this purely for profit, with little care for the animals’ welfare.
Game parks with odd colored species
It might seem intriguing to see a black impala or a snow white blesbok. However, these species are being genetically altered for one reason only, to offer the trophy hunter an unusual conversation piece to hang on the wall. For the game farmer it means big money. Artificially breeding odd colored species is not about wildlife conservation.
Bottom line: Tourists beware of game parks that breed unnatural colored antelope. They are being solely bred for the hunt. Bred to stroke the hunters’ ego and make the farmer richer.
Supposed wildlife rescue centers
Rescue rehabilitation centers play an important role in saving endangered, threatened and other injured wildlife. However, some touting to be rescue centers are really just zoos. Instead of keeping the animals as wild as possible, away from humans, and then releasing them back into the wild when they are ready, they keep them. Keep them to entertain the public. Keep them to make money. Of course, there are always the ones that can’t be released due to the nature of their injury or excessive imprinting on humans. However, the main objective of the bonafide rescue rehabilitation center is to release animals back where they belong.
Bottom line: Tourists beware of wildlife centers who don’t release the majority of their animals. Those who can’t tell you about their process and the number of releases to date.
You as a tourist make a big difference. Where you spend your money matters. If you care about wildlife please do your homework before you visit. Please be responsible and stay away from the misleading, all-about-profit operations. Please visit and support those places that truly do good for wildlife and their future.
PS. Names of places engaging in such offensive practices are intentionally not mentioned. Didn’t want to give them free advertising!