When interacting with animals on our trips, we want you to consider these four questions:
Travel experiences, for some, are synonymous with delicious food. Fresh fruit, homemade pizzas, hearty soups. We ask only that you consider which ingredients are on your plate, and how they got there.
Please do not eat bush meat, this perpetuates poaching even in arguably sustainable species such as springbok and kudu. Where logging and mining has opened up huge tracks of tracts of forest in Africa, commercial hunters can now penetrate deeper in to forests than ever before. Some animals endure immense cruelty to end up on a tourist’s plate, even some familiar friends such as cats and dogs. We have been working with FOUR PAWS who want to end the dog and cat meat trade where immunosuppressed animals stolen, endure cruel treatment and death in markets that are known to contribute to zoonotic disease spread (a disease that can pass from animals to humans e.g. Covid-19 or rabies).
We won’t visit a restaurant which sells engendered species, like shark fin soup, turtle soup or whale meat, and ask that you don’t either. If you’re offered a live insect to eat, politely decline.
We believe we should eat in local restaurants and eat the local food, with less food miles and fresher ingredients it makes for a much more heartening experience. If you are a vegan or vegetarian there are smartphone apps such as HappyCow or Vegman which may help with restaurant recommendations in various locations, and learning the word for vegan/vegetarian in the local language might be helpful.
Explore operates a no contact policy for all wildlife, both in captivity and living free. This extends to community animals; stray and feral domesticated species.
You wouldn’t walk with a lion in the wild or take a selfie with a tiger, so don’t do it on holiday. If you wouldn’t jump on an elephants back normally, don’t do it on holiday.
Touching, feeding, riding, holding or simply having a photo with wild animals could cause harm to them, manipulate their behaviours or change their environment. None of these are experiences are authentic. For your safety this also includes stray or feral animals.
Explore will not visit anywhere with animal performances such as circuses or zoos. These animals are kept in inappropriate conditions and the show a likely outcome from dubious training methods. We also avoid marine parks or aquariums, especially those that keep large marine mammals.
There are always ethical options available; bird watching, whale watching or safaris, where the animals are free to move as they please and you can watch them in their natural habitat.
If you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to say no.
There are some beautiful markets around the world selling flowers, spices, fruit and vegetables. Of course there are also meat and fish markets. We know these markets often mix and they can be genuine local experiences so we want to take you there. But we will not visit specific wildlife markets which sell live animals for meat or pets. We avoid these for their frequent inhumane treatment of animals, likely bushmeat offerings and possible zoonotic disease transmission.
Local markets often sell interesting traditional arts and crafts and purchasing these supports the local business, communities and traditions. We ask you to avoid purchasing souvenirs made from animal parts. This can include ivory, coral, shells, horns, shark fins, exotic leathers, fur, food items and traditional medicines. The wild animals used to produce these products often suffer significantly, and suffering is likely to occur regardless of if the animal has been bred in captivity or wild, or if the process is legal or illegal. Bear in mind import and export restrictions in your visiting country too, you don’t want to end a wonderful holiday with a hefty fine.