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World Animal Protection and World Cetacean Alliance have joined forces to launch the groundbreaking global program ‘Wildlife Heritage Areas’ to that encourage responsible wildlife watching and sustainable travel.
As concerns about the ethics of animals in captivity continues to rise, the ‘Wildlife Heritage Areas’ initiative follows the growing demand from travelers to see animals in their natural habitat.
While the program also encourages responsible wildlife watching by providing tourists with sustainable and ethical wildlife tourism experiences.
What are Wildlife Heritage Areas?
The Wildlife Heritage Areas program is a collaboration between responsible travel businesses, wildlife charities, and local communities.
It aims to designate destinations that prioritise the care and protection of wildlife.
This then allows tourists to support these communities through sustainable tourism experiences.
Because it’s creating a way for travelers to discover wildlife-friendly destinations, the program promotes long-term sustainability and conservation efforts.
Suzanne Milthorpe, head of campaigns at World Animal Protection, says the program is vital in protecting animals from exploitation.
“The world’s wildlife is under threat, and we must take action now,” says Suzanne.
“Creating Wildlife Heritage Areas is vital in protecting animals from exploitation, while enabling the local communities to be a key part of the solution.
“(this means) creating a better future for people, community, and wildlife.”
Where can you be a responsible traveler?
Wildlife Heritage Areas – such as the Amazon Night Monkey Heritage Area – fill a gap in the travel industry.
Because the industry currently lacks a means of identifying destinations with high standards of responsible wildlife watching.
These areas have been selected for their commitment to responsible wildlife watching and their efforts to protect endangered species.
Wildlife Heritage Area destinations include:
- Santa Barbara Channel Whale Heritage Area , USA
- Madeira Whale Heritage Area , Portugal
- Plettenberg Bay Whale Heritage Area , South Africa
- Algoa Bay Whale Heritage Area, South Africa
- Amazon Night Monkey Heritage Area (candidate), Peru/Colombia
- Amazon Uakari Heritage Area (candidate), Brazil
- Apennines Marsican Bear Heritage Area (candidate), Italy
- Whitsundays Whale Heritage Area (candidate), Australia
Nick Stewart, wildlife campaign director at World Animal Protection, says the areas have been selected for their commitment to responsible wildlife watching and their efforts to protect endangered species.
“By promoting responsible tourism practices and encouraging travelers to engage with local communities, the program aims to transform the way people travel to see wildlife.”
So, Nick is also urging travel companies to support responsible tourism and move away from cruel practices.
“We invite travel companies around the world to drop the elephant rides, ditch the dolphin shows, and any of the other demeaning wildlife entertainment experiences out there,” he says.
“Instead, get behind truly responsible wildlife tourism that meets the needs of local communities, visitors, and of course wild animal welfare.”
Expansion of the Whale Heritage Sites program
The Wildlife Heritage Areas program follows the successful Whale Heritage Sites program started by the World Cetacean Alliance in 2015.
These sites celebrate the coexistence of humans and cetaceans and promote sustainable practices.
The shift to wildlife areas expands the scope to include a wider range of wildlife and destinations.
Why choose responsible wildlife tourism?
Responsible travel is crucial for the protection and conservation of wildlife.
It ensures that animals are not exploited for tourism and that their natural habitats are preserved.
The push for responsible travel stems from growing concerns about the welfare of animals in captivity.
And it also focuses on the negative impacts of mass tourism on wildlife and their habitats.
More tourists than ever are searching for animal-friendly travel experiences that put the welfare of the animals and environment first.
So, the Wildlife Heritage Areas program allows tourists to find destinations that animal-friendly.
Visit the website to learn more about the Wildlife Heritage Programs and how you can enjoy responsible tourism.