Skip to main content

Operators that partner with the World Wildlife Fund, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Born Free Foundation and World Animal Protection, to name just a few relevant groups, must adhere to established best practices surrounding animal welfare.

Divesh Mistry

Operators that balance thrilling wildlife encounters with sustainability and conservation can be tracked down by following these three steps:

1. Ask the right questions

Does the operator have an animal-welfare policy in place that prohibits activities such as feeding and holding wild animals? If not, move on. “Beware lip service,” says Kelly Galaski, director of global programs for the non-profit Planeterra foundation. “Operators must be able to provide specific examples of responsible travel.”

Story continues below advertisement

Other telling queries include: “How do you give back to local communities?” and “How will the animals benefit from my travels?” Answers here should highlight sustainability and conservation, again with specific examples. For instance, when sourcing wildlife tour operators, Toronto-based Goway Travel “is specifically concerned with helping travellers actively contribute to the regeneration of local ecosystems and to protecting the wildlife,” says Emma Cottis, the agency’s marketing manager.

2. Check affiliations

Membership in national organizations such as the Canadian Association of Tour Operators and the United States Tour Operators Association may comfort travellers, but it’s not always clear how it benefits wildlife. That’s where third-party affiliations come in. Operators that partner with the World Wildlife Fund, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Born Free Foundation and World Animal Protection, to name just a few relevant groups, must adhere to established best practices surrounding animal welfare.

3. Read reviews

The millions of reviews on TripAdvisor and the like are undeniably useful for assessing tour operators. TourRadar.com drills even deeper by encouraging travellers to post reviews of the tours they booked through the Austria-based website. These now number more than 70,000, says spokeswoman Katie Stanwyck, and “give you a great, unbiased sense of what tours are like.”

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter