Wildlife protection: My commitment to animal welfare

Marie Rowe on 28 September 2023
COVID-19 has challenged us to create change. The pandemic has shone a harsh spotlight on how people treat wild animals. The catastrophic impact of wildlife exploitation has impacted our health, worldwide economies, the planet and the travel industry, in addition to causing the suffering of millions of animals worldwide. There can be no going back to what once was. Sixty percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic (originate from animals), with over 70 percent of these thought to originate from wild animals.

The demand for and exploitation of wild animals exposes us to diseases like COVID-19, putting us all at risk. Considering that wildlife tourist attractions account for a large proportion of tourism outlines the need to address the increasing demand of people searching for wildlife encounters as part of their ‘once in a lifetime’ holiday experience.

When done responsibly these encounters can play a major role in protecting wildlife and their natural habitats. Unfortunately we know that most wildlife tourism takes place in captivity were as a result up to half a million wild animals suffer to entertain tourists around the world.

Animals at these wildlife attractions are either taken from the wild or bred in captivity so tourists can take a tiger selfie, swim with a dolphin or ride or wash an elephant, driving a multi-billion dollar global trade in wild animals.

As a member of the travel industry, It is important to me to do what I can to prevent another pandemic, secure livelihoods and help keep wild animals in the wild by becoming a wildlife-friendly travel business. This involves eliminating wildlife entertainment from my supply chain and offering responsible tourist experiences only.


My business is committed to responsible tourism and protecting animals who are impacted by the travel industry. I have developed this animal welfare policy as animal encounters have become increasingly popular as part of people’s holiday experiences. However, some animal related activities, such as elephant washing and rides, photo opportunities with tigers or watching dolphins perform, lead to suffering through cruel treatment and inhumane conditions.

I believe that all animals should be respected for their intrinsic value and that the best way to experience animals whilst on holiday is by seeing them in the wild. When under human care, both domesticated and non-domesticated (wild) animals, must have ‘a good life’ by enjoying good physical and mental health. The conditions they are provided must favour positive experiences over negative ones within an environment that encourages making choices and enables them to express the widest possible range of natural behaviours.

I only work with suppliers if the animals under their care are provided with the highest possible welfare in line with the Five Domains of Animal Welfare:


Factors that involve the animal’s access to sufficient, balanced, varied and clean food and water.


Factors that enable comfort through temperature, substrate, space, air, odour, noise and predictability.


Factors that enable good health through absence of disease, injury, impairment and good fitness level.


Factors that provide varied, novel and engaging environmental challenges through sensory inputs, exploration, foraging, bonding, playing, retreating and others.


By presenting positive situations in the previous four functional domains, the mental state of the animal should benefit from predominantly positive states, such as pleasure, comfort or vitality, while reducing negative states such as fear, frustration, hunger, pain or boredom.

I also recognise that the needs of wild animals in particular can never be fully met in captivity.

Where wild animals are kept in captivity the facility must not only provide them with best possible welfare conditions, it must also contribute towards a shift away from exploitative practices and be supportive of phasing out keeping wild animals for commercial purposes.


I do not sell or promote venues and/or activities that offer tourists any of the following experiences:

• Close interaction with wild animals, such as, touching or riding, including but not limited to elephant riding and bathing, swimming with dolphins or walking with lions;

• Watching wild animal performances, including but not limited to dolphin shows, circuses, orangutan boxing;

• Photo opportunities with wild animals, including, but not limited to big cats, sloths, or primates, tiger selfies, dolphin kissing, or selfies with orangutans;

• Watching animals fight or race, or being used in other sport or cultural events that cause animals to suffer or die, including but not limited to bullfighting and running, crocodile wrestling, dog fighting, rodeo, elephant polo and horse racing;

• Visiting facilities where captive wild animals are bred and kept for commercial products, including but not limited to crocodile farms, civet coffee farms, bear bile farms, turtle farms;

• Engaging in trophy, canned hunting or sport fishing.

When not in conflict with any of the above guidelines I do offer and/or promotes the following venues and activities were tourist can experience animals:

• Genuine animal sanctuaries, rehabilitation facilities and rescue centres that have the highest possible standards of animal care. E.g. sanctuaries certified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) or elephant venues following World Animal Protection’s Elephant-Friendly venue guidelines.

• Responsible, wildlife watching where a visitor can observe animals in their natural environment from a suitable distance without interrupting their natural behaviours or disturbing their routines. E.g. whale watching experiences certified by the Whale Cetacean Alliance (WCA).

• Zoos and aquariums that are accredited by members of World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and national zoo and aquarium accrediting bodies which do not hold cetaceans in captivity and do not use wild animals for direct contact activities with visitors or have them perform in shows.

If you are looking to fulfil your dream wildlife adventure with guidance to ensure that you select the most ethical animal experiences, I would be delighted to help you plan and book your trip with a personal service, expert advice, and 100% financial protection.