Posts tagged responsible travel
The truth behind elephants rides
world elephant day

Are you familiar with the photos where happy tourists on the back of an elephant? We see it everywhere, many companies use such photos to attract customers. Most of us who go for it are animal lovers - because we love this beautiful animal, and want to have the "once-in-a-lifetime" experience to interact with them. 

But there are some ugly truth behind this activity - the elephants have gone through tremendous suffering for us to enjoy the moment and posing for photos.

They were captured from the wild

Elephants are not domestic animals, all the elephants you see are captured from the wild. They are social animals who live together as family like we humans do. However, baby elephants are on high demand as they are easier to capture and train. They would be separated from their mothers at a young age and spend the rest of their life in captivity. 

They are broken

Elephants are intelligent animals with long-term memory and strong needs for affection. In order to get them 'trained' for riding or performance, the trainers go through a process to break their spirit. They are chained in a pen where they cannot move, often without water or food; they are beaten with bullhook (with a sharp end) till they bleed all over; they are forced to go into positions that break their bones. 

They are over-worked and poorly treated

They are money making machines. They will walk miles under the sun without having a rest; they are fed with poor food and sickness are often over-looked; they are chained up so they cannot move even a little bit when they are not 'working'. When you see an elephant moves side-by-side or swings its feet, they are not dancing, they are frustrated.

This is an issue very close to the heart of our female travel community If you care, here's how you can make a difference.

Do not go to any rides or performance. There are other ways to enjoy interaction with them - in their nature habitats when they are free. Fortunately, the world is waking up to this issue and there are many sanctuaries have opened with the purpose to rescue them. You can book a tour with these sanctuaries, where you can go for a walk with the elephants, take a bath with them, make medicine for them, learn about them. And your money will be spent on making their life better, no causing them to suffer.

Spread the word. Most people do it as they are not aware of the ugly truth. Just let them know. 

Sign the pledge. World Animal Protection is working with policy makers and tour operators to make a different, help the movement by signing HERE


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Love the sea? Be a responsible ocean traveller

Summertime is here again in Europe. For many of us, this means sunshine and the sea. Tell me, who doesn't love the see? Its vastness, peace, and refreshment... Last week, I pampered myself by taking a diving holiday in the Red Sea.

I love diving. It's not just a getaway to a different place, but to a whole different world. The sea life displaying beauty all around you while you float in the water. The visibility I experienced in the Red Sea was great -20 meters. However, the locals told me that the visibility has significantly reduced over the course of the last ten years. While the blooming tourism has presented the locals with lots of opportunities, our behavior is costing us the environment.

This reminds me of the trip I took to Indonesia last year, I saw the once crystal clear sea turned into a belt of floating rubbish. This really broke my heart. Underwater, there was debris, clearly visible to the eye, floating all around. All of these were not there when I had first visited the place five years ago.

We love our homes and with the sea being the mother of all life, it also serves as our home. Treating it with love and care should be on our priority list. Traveling the ocean in a responsible manner is one thing that's very easy to do, the only thing is, most of us are not aware of how to go about it. Therefore, I have compiled some tips below to ensure that we travel the ocean responsibly.

SEE BUT DO NOT TOUCH

This rule applies to all see life -the ones in the water and those on the beach. Even if you put them back, picking them up or touching them in the first place have already disturbed their way of life, or worse, destroyed it. Be aware of your surroundings whenever you are in the water – swimming, diving or snorkelling, for the sea life and also for our own safety.

DO NOT LITTER

There are thousands of sea lives dying as a result of the rubbish that we produce and dump into the sea. In order to minimize this, ensure that you clean up after yourself. Do not leave even the tiniest bit of rubbish behind as even these can be very dangerous to sea creatures. And as a contribution to having a clean ocean, whenever you see rubbish lying around, do your best by picking it up and disposing it properly.

DO NOT FEED THE FISHES

I have to admit that I have done this a few times in the past years. I enjoyed having the fishes around me and thought giving them food was a positive action. It was recently that I learned how harmful this can be; it can cause behavioural change of the fishes that they get use to human feeding, thus change their natural diet. This eventually will lead to lack of necessary nutrients. In addition, not all types of fish eat human food, constant feeding in one area means certain types of fish would over-populate, and over time, the ecosystem will be changed forever.

DO NOT STEP ON CORALS

Corals are not stones, they are living things! A touch can kill the reef, thereby destroying the whole ecosystem dependent on it. And there’s safety concerns: the sharp edges can also hurt you.

DO NOT SEE ANY ANIMAL PERFORMANCE

Sharks and dolphins do not belong in swimming pools, but in the sea. If you know you want to see them, look for a natural way of viewing these beautiful and lovely animals. Avoid any and every performance that subjects them to the entertainment of other people. Also avoid tours where they "chum" the water or use different feeding methods to lure them in.

OCEAN FRIENDLY SUN CREAM

This is one thing that's often over-looked. The chemical products from most commercial brands will destroy the lives of reefs and other sea creatures. Think about the amount of sun screen thousands of people on the beach are pouring into the sea each and every day.

How do you buy a sunscreen that's ocean friendly then? What you need to do is ensure that the sunscreen you are buying doesn't contain these reef-damaging substances, including Oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate, and 4-methylbenzylidine camphor. Look for a product that uses sunblock such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide instead of chemical one.

SPEAK UP

This one is quite difficult to do and I've sometimes felt self conscious as a solo female traveller. When you see that someone is doing something harmful to sea creatures, do speak up. Not to start an argument with them or go into fits of criticism, but to politely correct them with a gentle tone. Do not become offended or angry. When you see people throw different things around, pick those things up in their presence. It's not like most of us do not care, we simply are not aware of the harm we are causing. And since we were once in that ignorant position, we should be understanding, accommodating, and be able to properly guide others.

If you want to take it a step further by taking actions when you get back home, you can go through this article from National Geographic; it will definitely help a lot.

http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/take-action/10-things-you-can-do-to-save-the-ocean/

 

We're building an app exclusively for women travellers. It connects you with each other around the world. Helping you have an easier, safer and more enjoyable journey. Sound good? Sign up below to join our Beta, be the first to try it out and help us develop what works for you.

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