Although it is not at the forefront of everyone's attention, the debate over whether animals should be left in the wild or if it is ethical to keep them in captivity still rages around the world. Those who oppose captivity insist that visiting place like zoos and aquariums only will only fuel the fire of animal abuse and capture in the wild. While most people agree that capturing animals from the wild is cruel, they still continue to fund it by visiting these establishments and creating a need for it. Next time the urge strikes to see some of the proudest beasts around the world, consider going to these places where animals roam outside of cages.
Go On Safari
For those that want to see animals in their natural habitat, there is only one way to do it--safari. For those that have the funds to go on safari, it is a trip like no other. However, travellers should be weary of just what sort of safari they are going on. Do avoid the cheaper, closer to home, commercial options such as Six Flags Wild Safari. They may come off under the guise of "Wildlife Sanctuaries" however their excess animals are sold off to hunting ranches and medical research centers.
However, even on African safaris many of the parks are not what they seem. When looking for a safari that actually caters to providing animals a natural and safe home, one will want to find what are called "photo safaris." The photo safari is a term used to emphasize that the park does not grant hunting permits. While ecotourism and the pledge to conserve fragile habitats and species are growing, there are still quite a few parks that allow hunting of magnificent beasts within their safari parks.
Visit a Wildlife Sanctuary
For those that cannot afford to travel to another continent to see exotic animals, that does not mean that their options are limited to either zoos or zoos. Though the animals are not in their natural habitat, there are many wildlife sanctuaries all around the world for exotic wildlife outside of their exotic homes. Unlike zoos, these animals are not kept in cages and their natural habitat is recreated as best as it can be in the area. How is this different from keeping an animal in a zoo? After all, why not just return these animals home?
Most of the animals found in wildlife sanctuaries abroad are the victims of poaching, habitat destruction, adopted from defunct attractions like circuses or are an endangered species that need protection. Almost all of the animals have endured extreme trauma in their native lands or have been raised in captivity. This would make their reintegration into their native habitat difficult as they would not possess the skills to survive on their own anymore. A visit to one of these animal sanctuaries is an educational experience as well as a wondrous one. These animals are not forced to perform for humans and they can roam free in an environment that tries to resemble their natural habitat as close as possible.
Enjoy a Whale Watching Tour
Seeing a whale up close is awe-inspiring but seeing a whale in captivity is rather depressing. Thankfully, whales have some of the best natural defense against captivity that an animal can have--their size. That still has not deterred places like Sea World, but a lot of places that would put them in captivity simply cannot. However, because of their size, they are pretty easy to spot in the wild. Depending on the season, whale watching tours can be booked off coasts around the world including the United Kingdom, Spain, Canada and the United States.
Whale watching tours have become big business off of the coasts where whales and dolphins migrate throughout the year. To have a huge whale breech and rock the boat or a group of dolphins pop up and chatter is a thrill that is drawing more and more people in. By partaking in these tours, guest will often be helping with conservation. Not only will the business they bring in help preserve the animals but many of those who operate whale watching tours donate a portion of the proceeds to conservation as well.
Visit a National Park
There are thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of national parks around the world and each play host to a variety of species of migratory birds and animals. Though most who visit zoos do so to see exotic animals, if the trend of captivity is ever going to disappear, people will have to revel in the native animals to where they live. Without admiration or attention to local animals, the need for national parks may disappear all together. Imagine a world where all the national parks we overrun by logging or mining companies and no one even cared.
While national parks are great places to go for hiking, they also serve a very important purpose of preserving local ecosystems especially in places where urbanization is running out of control. Many have programs that educate visitors on climate change, civic engagement and local history as well as the native animals.