Wildlife SOS Forms Partnership to Promote Responsible Tourism

February 22, 2021 | By dw

For Immediate Release

India-based wildlife charity, Wildlife SOS has partnered with a national tourism body “Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI)” to launch a campaign to promote responsible and cruelty-free wildlife tourism.

The campaign is aimed at educating foreign and local tourists to make a conscious choice to ensure recreation does not promote illegal trafficking of wild animals and is also free from cruelty, abuse, and exploitation of animals.

Tourists unknowingly become victims and perpetrate illegal trafficking of wildlife when they are unaware of the laws in India. The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 protects all Indian wildlife including snakes, birds, monkeys, turtles, elephants, etc. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960 is aimed at preventing the abuse of animals. Tourists are exposed to snakes, monkeys, elephants, etc. and when they are offered rides on blind, lame, and injured elephants, they accidentally incentivise the illegal trafficking, abuse, and exploitation of wild animals. 

In a bid to promote responsible tourism in India, Wildlife SOS has partnered with the Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI). The collaboration will help international and national tourists choose and pick venues where wild animals are not exploited or mistreated, while also empowering tourists on how to report animal abuse to the authorities.

The thrill of experiencing an elephant ride drives people to make unethical travel choices where they land in tourist traps where they witness animals performing tricks, painting, bathing of wild animals, elephant rides, use of animals in street performances, etc. while remaining unaware of the dark truth behind such ‘animal’ experiences. To sustain this cruel industry, wild animals like monkeys, elephants, and snakes continue to be poached from their natural habitat and put through brutal training processes to become a part of the entertainment and tourism industry. 

To combat these unethical practices Wildlife SOS & RTSOI are encouraging tourists to be selective and choose only responsible options while avoiding those that perpetrate illegal wildlife trafficking and animal cruelty. Wildlife SOS and RTSOI will undertake joint advocacy in the conservation of forests, biodiversity, and natural heritage through petitions, workshops, lectures, and inclusive dialogue.

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “This collaboration with RTSOI will help to redefine travel and focus on how tourism can be an excellent way of leaving a positive impact while promoting conservation and sustainability. Wildlife SOS operates wildlife rehabilitation centres in partnership with the state forest departments across India, which serve as a model example for ethical wildlife tourism.”

Rakesh Mathur, Founding Member & Honorary President, RTSOI, “Our wildlife is not only our tourism asset but it is our natural heritage and an integral part of our ecosystem. It needs to be treated with respect and care, and must be preserved at all costs. It’s a privilege for RTSOI to be partnering with Wildlife SOS in this endeavour.”

Mandip Singh Soin, Founding President, RTSOI said, “RTSOI is delighted to partner with Wildlife SOS. A task force has been constituted with Wildlife SOS to promote responsible and ethical wildlife tourism avenues. RTSOI will soon be able to help bring about the changes in the Tourism industry and Govt policies to promote responsible and ethical tourism.”

Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder & Secretary of Wildlife SOS said, “A responsible tourist will go the extra mile to ensure that their choices do not involve activities that support or encourage illegal wildlife trade or animal cruelty. The choices we make today determine our future. Let us begin with being more responsible in travelling and weighing our choices to understand that the price animals have to pay for our entertainment costs them their life!”

Wildlife SOS was established to make lasting changes to protect and conserve India’s natural heritage, forest, and biodiversity. They actively work towards protecting Indian wildlife, conserving habitat, studying biodiversity, conducting research, and creating alternative and sustainable livelihoods for erstwhile communities that depend on wildlife for sustenance.

Responsible Tourism Society of India, formerly the Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI), is a non-profit organization with an aim to promote and ensure environmentally Responsible and Sustainable practices in the Tourism industry.

Watch a responsible tourism discussion on World Tourism Day

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