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Tourism - Captivity

Animals affected

Birds, Reptiles, Felines, Primates, Amphibians, Cetaceans, Equidae, Elephants, Bears, Wolves, Giraffes, Seals, Sea lions, Dromedaries, Camels






Millions of wild animals are on show in artificial conditions in centres of captivity around the world. Although there are sanctuaries whose aim is truly to conserve and protect animals and their wellbeing is the most important thing, most of the centres which call themselves refuges, orphanages or farms, as well as zoos and aquariums, are businesses which display animals in captivity for a profit.

This type of centre often routinely carries out the following practices: capturing animals in the wild; breeding them, although they are not participating in real conservation; separating mothers from young; trading in animals and exchange them with other centres, and even force them to interact with tourists or put them in shows.

The animals’ living conditions are even more precarious in developing countries, where lack of specific legislation and corruption make it difficult to demand a minimum of wellbeing for the species involved.

There are only 3,000 tigers left in the wild, while there are about 30,000 in captivity around the world.

A real recovery centre, carefully run, would not make its animals reproduce or trade in them. Neither would it train them to do unnatural things or allow open access to visitors without a guide. The tough and delicate work of true sanctuaries focuses on receiving animals that, for whatever reason, can no longer survive in their natural habitat. They care for them and rehabilitate them with the aim of returning them to the wild. Only if this is not possible do they offer them the best care and living conditions, making it as natural as possible.

Ultimately travellers should get as much information as possible before paying for a ticket to a zoo or programming a visit to an “elephant camp”, a “turtle farm” or a “tiger centre”, etc. All over the world there are centres which take advantage of the sensibilities and the good will of tourists, making money through exploiting animals.


Our action

At the state level

  • Through our project Responsible Tourism with Animals, at FAADA we raise awareness about the problems related to the use of animals in tourist activities.
  • We give talks in specialist universities.
  • We offer economic support to international sanctuaries of animals rescued from the tourist industry.
  • We offer specialist advice to companies in the sector and private travellers.

In 2016 the FAADA initiative had the support of 80 travel agencies and 200 travel bloggers. If you are a travel agency or a blogger from the tourism sector, we encourage you to get in touch with us to join the initiative.   

What can you do?

  • Find out what using wild animals in tourist attractions means and don’t take part in them.
  • Help us to spread awareness of our project and to sensitise more travellers. When booking a trip, do so with a travel agency which has signed the FAADA pledge for responsible companies.
  • If you would like to help animals and you are concerned about species conservation, visit a sanctuary. It is best not to pay to see animals in centres which keep them in captivity for profit or performing unnatural activities.
  • If you are a professional of the sector, ask us for advice about the ethical alternatives and sign our pledge.


Other sources

Responsible Tourism with Animals


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