It seems like cases of wildlife exploitation for the sake of profit and entertainment can never be far from one’s mind. Recently, it was discovered that Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) is using wildlife from the rain forests of Belize to entertain their exclusive passengers on the private island cruise ship port of Harvest Caye.
According to a Care2 petition launched to raise awareness for and fight the disturbing practice, a number of wild animals currently live in captivity on this “tourist playground” – among them, keel-billed toucans, iguanas, snake, butterflies, and scarlet macaws. One of the macaws, less than two years old, was rehabilitated from the illegal wildlife trade and set for release back into the wild, fortunately being in perfect health. However, the release day never came for the beautiful bird and the macaw, known as Big Red, is now living in captivity on Harvest Caye, alongside the other animals.
According to a petition on Care2, instead of reviewing its practices and releasing the captive animals, NCL is now planning to acquire many more macaws and other species for the same end – against scientific advice and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s global guidelines.
Keeping wildlife in captivity, far from their natural habitat, for the sole reason of amusing a business’s clientele and making a profit, is unpardonable. The exclusive exploitation has no educational or scientific value whatsoever and the exposed ocean environment is detrimental to the health of jungle species, not to mention the toll that confinement plays on them.
Belizeans from all over the country agree that the practice should be cut short and they have made their outrage clear – even most visitors themselves are not at all impressed by the display. To make matters even worse and the cruise lines’ tactics even more incomprehensible, it is illegal for the citizens of Belize, resorts, and businesses to keep and display captive wildlife and the country’s tourism strategy actively promotes wildlife in its natural habitat, not in private ownership.
NCL’s exploitation of wild species was met with opposition from many sides, for example, as is pointed out in the petition, major tourism establishments and the tourism sector, local and international conservation organizations, avian experts, humane societies, and the national press.
Click here to sign the petition to end the exploitation of Belize’s wildlife on Harvest Caye!
Image source: AndresMiranda/Pixabay