Bali horror: wildlife tourist attractions are a living hell for animals

May 21 2018

Not a single wildlife tourism entertainment venue in Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan with captive elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats meets even the basic needs of wild animals.

We recently investigated 26 wildlife tourism venues that house 1,500 wild animals, including elephants, dolphins and orangutans.

Our new report, Wildlife Abusement Parks, details the horrifying results

Orangutans are kept in captivity where some are used for selfie opportunities and entertainment.

Bali is a popular travel destination; more than five million tourists visited the island in 2017.

But despite being an island paradise for people, our report paints a bleak picture of the conditions these captive wild animals are forced to endure day-in, day-out.

Almost all of these animals will spend the rest of their lives suffering for tourists.

Huge scale of suffering

Some of our most disturbing findings reveal that:

  • All dolphins were kept in severely inadequate conditions – one small pool, around ten feet deep, housed four bottlenose dolphins.
  • Dolphins at one venue had their teeth filed down or removed entirely.
  • Every elephant venue offered rides. Elephants suffer a cruel and intensive training process that involves severe and traumatising restraint and pain.
  • All venues with orangutans offered selfie experiences. Forced to entertain queues of tourists, many of these animals lacked freedom of movement, opportunities for social interaction and any stimulating activities.
  • 80% of venues with primates didn’t meet the basic needs of captive wild animals.
  • 100% of venues with captive elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats failed to meet basic needs of wild animals.

Dolphins are kept captive in small pens or pools where tourists can interact with them.

Grotesque and horrific conditions

“It’s a tragedy that Bali, such a beautiful destination for tourists, forces its captive wild animals to endure such grotesque and horrific conditions," said Steve McIvor, our CEO.

“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 tourists for hours on end."

Tigers are kept in captivity and used for tourism.

"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, we are urging tourists to avoid them."

What you can do

“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," Steve continued.

"We’re encouraging tourists to boycott travel companies that promote and support cruel venues. Travel companies have a responsibility to urgently review their Bali offerings to ensure they’re not supporting these appalling establishments."

In the past, when our teams have investigated animal welfare conditions at other leading travel destinations, I’ve always been able to recommend non-exploitative venues with good welfare standards. It’s horrendous that there isn’t one venue I can recommend on Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan,” said Steve. 

To protect wild animals, we have convinced nearly 200 travel companies to stop offering elephant rides and shows in travel packages.

Click here to receive updates on our work to protect wildlife and other animals around the world straight to your email inbox.

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, we are urging tourists to avoid them.

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