In its latest report The Show Can’t Go On, World Animal Protection finds animals in 1,200 zoos and aquariums in appalling conditions due to visitor entertainment. And all these zoos and aquariums are linked to World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). The report clearly urges tourists to avoid visiting 12 such places in nine countries to support their campaign and insists to drastically improve animal welfare measures.
These include: Dolphin Island (Resorts World Sentosa)–Singapore, Zoo D’Amneville– France, Jungle Cat World–Canada, African Lion Safari–Canada, Cango Wildlife Ranch–South Africa, Sea World– Australia, SeaWorld–San Antonia, USA, Zoomarine–Portugal, Puy du Fou-France, Avilon Zoo–Philippines, Mystic Monkeys and Feathers Wildlife Park–South Africa, and Ichicara Elephant Kingdom–Japan.
The report was prepared in partnership with Change for Animals Foundation which did on-site research in these 12 zoos and focuses on big cats, elephants, dolphins and primates. The report highlighted how irresponsible these zoos had been, causing great trauma to animals only to attract tourists. The study found that 75% of the 1,200 venues offered at least one type of animal visitor interaction including some truly horrific cases that have no place in modern zoos and aquariums. Of the surveyed zoos, 43% allow petting experiences, 33% have walking or swimming through enclosures experiences and 30% host shows of animals.
“We discovered big cats in gladiator-style shows in large amphitheatres, dolphins being used like surfboards, elephants playing basketball and chimpanzees clothed in nappies driving around in scooters. Wildlife selfies, circus like shows and elephant rides have been heavily condemned…All this cruelty continues despite repeated calls by WAP to WAZA asking to ensure their members are not offering such types of cruel and demeaning attractions,” says the report.
Most importantly, the report condemns WAZA for overlooking the irresponsible management in zoos and aquariums linked to it, directly or through regional or national association members. Of the 1,200, 23% were direct members while others were indirectly linked to the association.
However, venues represented in many of the cases studies do not represent the worst zoos in the world, the report clarifies.
The report talks in detail how each of these four animals suffer at the hands of tourists to entertain them and how keeping them unnaturally can affect them and have potential loss to the biodiversity, and raise global exotic pet trade.