Conservation Tourism is not Necessarily Good for Animal Welfare
Tourists often have opportunities to interact with animals, from visiting zoos and aquariums, to more exotic interactions such as swimming with dolphins, feeding tigers, and riding elephants. This new paper (open) compared animal welfare across a diverse set of wildlife attractions with tourist satisfaction with the animal encounter. The authors found that tourist dissatisfaction was highest when animal welfare scores were lowest. However, they also found that ~80% of tourists did not consider animal welfare in their evaluation of the experience. Given the magnitude of the industry (2-4 million tourist annually, and 250-500k animals), the authors recommend a role for the travel industry to consider conservation status in their evaluation of wildlife attractions.
What We’re Watching: Dance Your PhD 2015
See all 32 of this year’s dances for the annual #scicomm competition.