World Animal Protection says that wildlife tourist attractions in Bali and Lombok are “living hell for animals”.
World Animal Protection, the international non-profit animal welfare organisation that has in the past exposed the link between western travel and tourism companies and cruel animal attractions in the developing world, has blasted Bali and Lombok for allowing such places to thrive.
Not a single wildlife tourism entertainment venue on the Indonesian islands of Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan with captive elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats meets even the basic needs of wild animals, the organisation claims.
“We recently investigated 26 wildlife tourism venues that house 1,500 wild animals including elephants, dolphins and orangutans. Our report, Wildlife Abusement Parks, details the horrifying results,” it says.
Despite being an island paradise for people, Bali – which saw more than five million tourists in 2017 – has bleak conditions for captive wild animals.
“Almost all of the animals will spend the rest of their lives suffering for tourists,” World Animal Protection says.
The findings reveal, for example, that all dolphins are “kept in severely inadequate conditions – one small pool, around three metres deep, housed four bottlenose dolphins”. Dolphins at one of the venues had their teeth filed down or removed entirely, the report states.
Every elephant venue in the report offers rides, with elephants suffering “a cruel and intensive training process that involves severe and traumatising restraint and pain”.
All venues with orangutans offer ‘selfie experiences’. Forced to entertain queues of tourists, many of these animals lack freedom of movement, social interaction and any stimulating activities, the NGO says.
Around 80% of venues with primates fail to meet the basic needs of captive wild animals, while 100% of venues with captive elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats do not meet the basic needs of wild animals.
Behind the scenes, wild animals are being taken from their mothers as babies or bred in captivity to be kept in filthy, cramped conditions and repeatedly forced to interact with tourists all day, every day.
“It’s a tragedy that Bali, such a beautiful destination for tourists, forces its captive wild animals to endure such grotesque and horrific conditions,” World Animal Protection CEO Steve McIvor said.
“If you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal, then it’s cruel – don’t do it, no matter how many ‘likes’ it will get on social media.”
He continued: “We’re encouraging holidaymakers to boycott travel companies that promote and support cruel venues. Travel companies have a responsibility to urgently review their Bali offerings to ensure they’re not supporting these appalling establishments.”