You probably have seen pictures of travellers taking selfies with tigers, swimming with dolphins or other animal related activities that seem super cool, but are actually awful extortions and abuse of the animals that are involved. We all know what kind of activities are too cruel (like bears ‘dancing’ or people standing on top of killer whales in Seaworld), but there are also a lot of activities that appear to be decent when they actually aren’t.
There are multiple organizations out there that portray themselves as animal sanctuaries, but that are actually in it for the money. For a lot of travelers, myself included, it is difficult to separate the real good-doing sanctuaries from the fake ones that actually abuse animals and make profit from it.
I was talking about this with my friend Adarshjit Das on Instagram. He is a researcher in Animal Behavior and Ecology in India, and he gave me some great insights on what to look for if you want to know what kind of organization you’ve encountered. I invited him today on Wanderlust Wonderland to talk about his work as a researcher and to give us a little bit more insight on how you can tell if an animal activity is a do or a don’t.
For our trip to Germany, we’d only planned our first day to Köln and Schloss Drachenburg. The remaining two days, we just wanted to relax and explore the area a bit. For our second day, we decided to go to a wildpark and visit one of the many castles the Eifel has to offer.
We set out for Hochwildpark Rheinland, a park in the middle of the forest, about twenty minutes from our hotel. I was driving and we were talking and we missed the exit. It was lucky we did, because when we took the next one, we accidentally came across this magnificent castle.
I must have taken about 500 pictures of reindeer on our trip. On our second day in Lapland, we went to a Reindeer Corral and there were a lot of reindeer we could pet and feed. I don’t think I have ever seen these animals before and it was so cool to see them up close. There were some cute little babies, some ‘holy’ white ones and one that was a tad aggressive and tried to steal my scarf…
The people that live in Lapland are called the Sami and they are the official owners of the reindeer. They are wild animals, but they do have trackers so the Sami can always know where they are. The reindeer corral we went to, is a place the reindeer can go if they want a bit more food in the winter. They can come and go as they please. And I figured they must want some extra food, because there were a lot of them.