Responsible Animal Tourism with Anantara
As much as I want all animals to be free, all zoos and animal attractions to be banned, I don't think that it will ever be possible. People want interactions with animals and they will always pay for that. Instead of just preaching STOP ANIMAL ABUSE and stop elephant riding I think it is important to show people an alternative. People who care less, would not spend hours doing research about animal places before visiting like I do it. I think @anantara_goldentriangle is doing an amazing job of showing tourists a different way of interacting with those creatures including walking with them through a real jungle, having a picnic while watching them playing in the river, having dinner while looking at them having dinner. And pretty much anytime from your hotel window, you can see them roaming in the distance and hear trumpeting, which literally made me cry when I first heard it at breakfast.
This place has 22 elephants that were rescued from riding camps, elephants are not wild but from what I have seen they are taken great care off, they have the professional vet, an insane amount of land, and food. The hotel has a conservation project, they employ local people and still offer mahouts that come with elephants jobs and accommodation. The times when animals have to be tortured and abused for our entertainment should be over! Happy animals= happy tourists, don't you think?
SiKao is one of the few areas in the world where dugongs (it is like a seawater manatee) can still be seen. Unfortunately, there is a high chance that those animals will be extinct in just 10 years 😭 After visiting a Dugong Conservation Centre I learned that the biggest problem is not even pollution and climate change here it is mainly because local people are not aware of what is happening to the environment. People in local villages spend 10 hours a day fishing to feed their families and have no time to learn about global warming or recycling, that is why they still use cheap fishing nets that kill bigger marine animals and throw waste in the sea. It is amazing to find out that @anantarasikao has a special educational program that shows locals how to live in harmony with nature, provides locals with better quality nets, and even grows and plants seaweed to attract more fish and dugongs.
It warms my heart knowing that big companies care and do something to help our environment. Maybe after all our Planet still has a chance, if we all help to educate and spread the message!