Report: Wildlife tourist attractions in Bali are a living hell for animals

Report: Wildlife tourist attractions in Bali are a living hell for animals

A shocking new report from World Animal Protection has revealed that all wildlife tourism entertainment venues in Bali with captive elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats fail to meet even the basic needs of wild animals in captivity.

The Wildlife Abusement Parks report details the results of an investigation into 26 wildlife tourism venues in Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan that house 1,500 wild animals, including elephants, dolphins and orangutans.

Bali is a popular global travel destination, with more than 190,000 American tourists visiting the island last year. But far from being an island paradise, the report paints a bleak picture of the conditions captive wild animals are forced to endure there every day. Almost all of them will spend the rest of their lives suffering in Bali.

Elephant rides, dolphin swims, orangutan selfies and circus-style shows are increasingly popular tourist activities for many travelers to the island. But some of the report’s most disturbing findings reveal that:

• All dolphins were kept in severely inadequate conditions – one pool estimated to be 10×20 meters and three meters deep housed four bottlenose dolphins

• Dolphins at one venue have had their teeth filed down or removed entirely to ensure they are unable to injure swimmers

• All of the elephant venues offered elephant rides; elephants used this way suffer a cruel and intensive training process that involves severe restraint. Severe pain is also often inflicted to speed up the process and quickly establish dominance. This highly traumatic experience will stay with the elephant forever

• Nearly 15% of elephants displayed stereotypic, or abnormal repetitive behaviors – including swaying and foot shuffling – which indicate distress and suffering

• All venues with orangutans offered selfie experiences. Forced to entertain long lines of tourists, many of these animals lacked freedom of movement, opportunities for social interaction, and any stimulating activities.


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Steve McIvor, CEO at World Animal Protection, said:

“It’s a tragedy that Bali, such a beautiful destination for tourists, forces its captive wild animals to endure such grotesque and horrific conditions. Behind the scenes, wild animals are being taken from their mothers as babies or bred in captivity to be kept in filthy, cramped conditions, or repeatedly forced to interact with tourist for hours on end.

Bali is an idyllic paradise, and its economy relies on the millions of tourists who travel there each year. Sadly, until Bali improves animal welfare at these dreadful venues, World Animal Protection is urging tourists to avoid them. If you can ride, hug, or have a selfie with wild animal, then it’s cruel. Don’t do it, no matter how many ‘likes’ it will get on social media.

We’d also encourage tourists to avoid the travel companies that promote and support these venues. Travel companies have a responsibility to urgently review their Bali offerings to ensure they are not supporting these appalling establishments. In the past, when our teams have investigated animal welfare conditions at other leading vacation destinations, I’ve always been able to recommend venues with good welfare standards. It’s horrendous that there isn’t one venue I can recommend on Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan.”

Author: Chief Assignment Editor

Chief Assignment Duty Editor based in Honolulu

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