A new report from World Animal Protection has revealed that every wildlife tourism entertainment venue in Bali with captive elephants, tigers, dolphins, or civet cats fails to meet even the basic needs of wild animals in captivity. Literally every single one. The organization’s Wildlife Abusement Parks report contains the results of an investigation into 26 wildlife tourism venues in Bali, Lombok, and Gili Trawangan that collectively house 1,500 animals.
In addition to finding that 100 percent of venues that showcase the aforesaid animals were in no way suitable for them, the report also shows that 80 percent of venues with primates did not meet the basic needs of the animals either. Almost all of these animals will spend the rest of their lives suffering in captivity, in outrageous conditions.
More than 190,000 American tourists visited the island last year. Unfortunately, “attractions” like elephant rides, dolphin swims, and selfies with orangutans are increasingly popular among travelers to Bali.
The report revealed a number of deeply disturbing facts about the reality that captive animals in Bali have to face. It was found that all captive dolphins were kept in severely inadequate conditions. One pool, which they estimated to only be 30X60 feet and 10 feet deep, was being used to house four bottlenose dolphins – for context, a bottlenose dolphin can reach up to 13 feet in length. Another venue had filed down dolphins’ teeth or completely removed them to ensure the animals wouldn’t injure swimmers.
All of the elephant venues that were investigated offered elephant rides. As we know, the training for this kind of attraction involves restraining the animal and brutally beating them until they learn to fear people and become submissive. As the organization emphasizes, this incredibly traumatic experience will stay with the elephant forever. Almost 15 percent of elephants in the examined venues displayed stereotypical or abnormal repetitive behaviors suggestive of zoochosis, including swaying and foot shuffling – an indication of deep distress.
Every venue with orangutans offered selfies with the animals. Many of the animals lacked freedom of movement, opportunities for social interaction, and any stimulating activities.
“It’s a tragedy that Bali, such a beautiful destination for tourists, forces its captive wild animals to endure such grotesque and horrific conditions,” said Steve McIvor, CEO of World Animal Protection. “Behind the scenes, wild animals are being taken from their mothers as babies or bred in captivity to be kept in filthy, cramped conditions, or repeatedly forced to interact with tourists for hours on end.”
McIvor underlined the fact that venues and attractions which exploit animals and fail to give them the very basic care they require should simply be avoided, just like the travel companies that promote and support them. “If you can ride, hug, or have a selfie with a wild animal, then it’s cruel,” he said. “Don’t do it, no matter how many ‘likes’ it will get on social media.”
Read the full Wildlife Abusement Parks report here.
All image source: Andi Sucirta/World Animal Protection