Is working in an elephant sanctuary an ethical tourist activity? In recent years, this question, and wildlife tourism as a whole has been hotly contested. There is much debate as to whether the industry is truly beneficial. Many oppose such operations, with the belief that we should not exploit wild animals for monetary gain. This concern is certainly a valid one. Still, others argue that these practices show poachers that animals are more valuable alive and in their natural environment. Respectfully, Discover Corps believes it’s possible to find a middle ground on this important issue. One that protects the health of wildlife foremost and appeases tourists second.
To do so, it’s important to understand how our presence impacts the natural environment, both positively and negatively. More specifically, careful consideration must be given to what flora and fauna we engage with, and how we do it. This and other complex issues regarding wildlife require thoughtful solutions. One option is sustainable travel, also known as ecotourism. This form of travel seeks to protect nature and wildlife worldwide and enhance the lives of local people. A great example of this brings us back to our original question about elephants. The fact that these gentle giants are a huge driver for Thailand tourism means you, as a traveler, will have many options to choose from to encounter the beautiful creatures. As such, here are a few important questions to ask yourself before traveling to Thailand for an elephant experience: