Bali is a popular holiday destination for UK tourists, but a new investigation has revealed that none of the region’s wildlife entertainment venues are meeting modern animal welfare standards.
Our new Holidays that Harm report has found that over 1,300 wild animals, including elephants, orangutan and dolphins, are being exploited for tourist entertainment in inadequate conditions across Bali and Lombok. The majority of the venues investigated didn’t even meet the basic needs of the wild animals being kept there.
The investigation also found that despite increasing demand for responsible tourism options, many of the world's largest tourism operators are selling low-welfare wildlife venues in Bali and do not have policies to ensure they are not profiting from animal cruelty at the venues and attractions they sell.
An assessment of 34 venues was conducted, aiming to provide a current picture of the welfare of wildlife in the industry and identify any changes since World Animal Protection’s 2017 assessment of the wildlife entertainment industry in Bali and Lombok. That previous investigation led to major travel companies like Helloworld and Flight Centre removing the venues from their offerings and stopping the promotion and selling of elephant riding overall.
The 2023 Holidays that Harm report found that:
• Wild animals are still predominantly suffering from severely inadequate conditions across all venues visited during the investigation.
• Elephant riding and bathing, close encounters, wildlife selfies, swimming with dolphins in artificial pools, and touching turtles in small pens are some of the cruellest wildlife attractions observed.
• Elephants were seen chained without shade during the day at Mason Elephant Park and Tasta Zoo.
• Global travel giants including GetYourGuide, Trip.com and TUI continue to sell low-welfare wildlife entertainment attractions in Bali and Lombok for profit.
• There was no meaningful or significant improvement in the recorded and observed welfare conditions for wildlife in entertainment in Bali and Lombok in the five years since the last report.
• While some small improvements were noted, none of these changes were significant enough to result in a venue being rated as even close to the ‘best possible’ welfare conditions for any of the focal species.
Peter Kemple Hardy, Campaigns Director at World Animal Protection said:
"Bali is a beautiful island but sadly the conditions for wild animals in entertainment venues there is extremely inadequate.
"Many animals are taken from their mothers as babies and forced to endure cruel and intensive training to make them ‘safe’ to interact with tourists. During our investigation we saw wild animals suffering for selfies, and it’s driven by tourist demand and lack of ethical policies by travel companies.
"We urge tourism giants like GetYourGuide, Trip.com and TUI to take responsibility for the activities they promote, and work with us towards a future where tourism is responsible, sustainable, and does not contribute to wildlife cruelty.
"And remember when travelling – if you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal, there is cruelty involved, so don’t do it."
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