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World Animal Protection
World Animal Protection

World Animal Protection welcomes corporates embracing wildlife-friendly tourism in the wake of landmark legal directive on Gir Tourism

ANI | Updated: Mar 13, 2021 14:44 IST

New Delhi, [India], March 13 (ANI/NewsVoir): International animal welfare organisation, World Animal Protection lauds and appreciates the recent legal directive of a court on the unethical and immoral practice of baiting lions for tourism in Gir National Park in Gujarat, as reported in the press.
In the wake of this landmark legal directive that regulates the nature of wildlife tourism, two travel and tour operator companies, 1000 Islands Hotels and Resort and Wolf and Company, have undertaken to endorse the wildlife-friendly pledge of World Animal Protection, that encourages travel operators to refrain from promoting the unethical exploitation of animals, including elephant rides and selfies with wild animals in tiger breeding establishments and other captive facilities.
Endorsing the practice of ethical wildlife tourism whilst signing the World Animal Protection wildlife-friendly pledge, "We at Woods at Sasan, a modern luxury retreat, take pride in being the first in India to successfully incorporate 'Biophilia' in its foundation. Biophilia is reflective of a way of life that is immersive in nature and aims to marry the world inside with the essence of nature, outside, keeping environmental inclusivity in check. This vision encourages us to keep our wildlife protected, allowing them to thrive in their natural homes. Having said that, with the growing urbanisation, we recognise that wildlife in entertainment represents a serious threat to conservation and animal welfare, consequently affecting the health of our planet. While many travellers may express their desire to visit places that directly or indirectly abuse wildlife, we are committed to our mission to protect the natural flora and fauna, and not guide tourists to entities that engage in entertainment at the cost of animal welfare. We pledge to practice zero tolerance towards animal abuse like elephant rides, selfies with tigers, or unethical practices like, 'baiting lions' for frivolous sport in the Gir National Park in Gujarat. (as also reflected in the national press recently). I, Maulik Bhagat and my whole team, proudly embrace the wildlife-friendly pledge of World Animal Protection and stand by the message - that 'Wildlife belongs in the Wild'," said Maulik Bhagat, Managing Director of 1000 Island Hotels and Resort.

"The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that mankind cannot continue to abuse wild animals so we want to emphasise the message of 'build back better' in the aftermath of the pandemic to set a good example for all travel and tourist companies involved in wildlife tourism. We are categorically against baiting lions for tourist entertainment in Gir National Park in Gujarat that has made headline news in the national press recently. We endorse the principles of World Animal Protection to stop the abuse of all wild animals in entertainment and promote the idea that animal welfare and conservation-friendly tourism is the way forward for a humane model of sustainable tourism in the wake of the pandemic that was believed to have been caused by humans coming into proximity of wild animals in abusive situations. We are also encouraging our clients not to undertake onward journeys to places that offer elephant rides and other forms of exploitation of wild animals in captivity," mentioned Sunny Shah, noted naturalist and proprietor of Wolf and Company highlighting the importance of ethics in wildlife tourism that involves the exploitation of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"As an organisation, we are totally committed to ethically sound tourism practices involving wildlife in both the wild and in captivity. We wholeheartedly welcome the directive of the court in punishing the offenders involved in baiting lions for tourism and strongly emphasise the principle of 'build back better,' to promote a more humane, responsible and animal-friendly tourism model on behalf of travel and tour operators in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. We are pleased to include 1000 Island Hotels and Resort and Wolf and Company in our fold to prevent the promotion of elephant rides, selfies with captive tigers and other abusive wildlife practices in the tourism industry. We hope that the example set by the court as well as these two responsible corporates will pave the way for more companies to endorse ethically sound wildlife-friendly practices," emphasised Gajender K Sharma, Country Director of World Animal Protection in India welcoming the legal directive on the baiting of lions in Gir and the accompanying wildlife-friendly pledges of the tour companies.
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