Sustainable travel – Wildlife is Wildlife

With only a few weeks off work per year, people try to make the very best of it. Most dream to be in greener surroundings, at least once a year. And when they go away on vacation it has to be special. Wouldn’t you want to make-up for the rest of the year, which you had to spend at that desk and in that concrete desert with not even a single tree in sight? Most of us live so far removed from any form of nature that we get excited every time we see a sparrow. I do.

Travellers love to book excursions where they can pet lions or cheetahs. They love to go on trips where they visit dolphin- and monkey-shows at zoos and what else there is one can do with animals. Everyone gets back from that trip and believes this was the experience of a lifetime because very obviously they spent their precious time with the creatures they love most. And that selfie is going to show all of your peers what an adventurous nature you have.

Heart beats fast – Fluffy, furry and friendly travel companions

Whose heart does not beat faster at the thought of a happy, fun-loving, friendly dolphin? Flipper, we all know him from that TV show. It looks super cute when an elephant splashes water all over you. It is heart-warming really, and one might think the elephant loves to play with you. I once held a baby
lion at a zoo and had my picture taken while the adorable little Moritz sat on my lap. But think again. It is not so great to keep animals in captivity for human entertainment. Animals held today caught in zoos and theme parks are not happy. And yet most people are so ignorant and go visit these places. Families visit zoos because they think their offspring really has to see a bear or a giraffe. Why? This is such a strange thing to say. 

Kids are not going to die from not seeing bears or giraffes, at least I never heard of those cases. If you don’t show your children animals in a zoo, you make the first step in the right direction. They won’t grow up believing to be superior to wildlife. Your children will more likely start to respect animals. Ask yourself whether you would want to be caged for life. Give yourself an honest answer. And talk to all your friends about it.

Wildlife is Wildlife

Have you ever seen lions resting under a tree? Have you ever seen giraffes in the African savannah? Have you ever seen snow-white cockatoos against the backdrop of a bright blue sky? Have you ever seen elephant dung on a sandy road in the bush? That actually is an excellent example that elephants literally don’t give a shit about you. They just want to go on with their own lives and be with their own family and not carry you around in a zoo or through a river. 

Elephants. Botswana. Chobe National Park. The Touristin. Dorothee Lefering
Elephants giving us their cold shoulder

Act responsible – it is a liberating feeling

Together we can do everything. Years ago I translated a text from a German textbook about a study carried out in Germany in 1883. It wasn’t about an art exhibition but one where a scientist explained Australnegers to the German society. It started like this: Mr Castan introduces the Australians (who are at present in his panopticon) to the society. … The guide of these people Mr. Louis Mülller brought his charges to me at the pathological institute where I examined those same persons closely …. And it went on and on about their eyes, and hair, and height, and bla bla bla. It was sickening really. These things could have happened because people have perceived the world differently. The society and the way we do things have changed immensely over the last century, and it is comforting to know that people are willing to change.

World Wildlife Day-Start to Walk the Talk

World Wildlife Day is on 3 March to raise awareness of the threats to wild fauna and flora and the importance of conservation efforts and the fight against wildlife crime. It is easy to point your finger at government bodies and ask them to bring on change and to rescue all threatened wildlife there is. It is easy, to not do anything but talk. You know you would love to make the world a better place and well, it sounds fantastic if you talk like that. 

Start to walk the talk. Watch wildlife documentaries and read books on the topic, inform yourself. It is such a liberating feeling to act responsible and not to wait for others to solve the problem. Let us not harm animals for our entertainment. Go even one step further and stop the consumption of wildlife products (in cosmetics or food). It takes a little bit of effort but your habits will soon start to change, just read the labels on products while hitting the shops. We are the ones who control the market. If all members of society are going to change their habits that helps so much more than to donate money to the wrong charity. See travelling and tourism as a movement of hope, and become part of it.  

Let us turn every single day into a World Wildlife Day

What do you think of this? Do you have any other ideas of how to stop wildlife crime?

From Berlin with love