Since captive wildlife interactions and activities remain a complex issue, a guide to evaluating captive wildlife attractions and activities has been launched by the tourism association SATSA(Africa). The guide includes an interactive method for quick decision-making on experiences through a “decision tree” with eight simple questions.The guide and resource is targeted at four main groups: foreign and local tourists engaging with wildlife, customers such as destination management companies, international and local tour operators as well as members of industry such as associations,
The tool would allow these groups to assess animal contact operations and make informed decisions to help South Africa’s ethically sound and responsible operators. The research, guide and method discusses animal communication, including the reasons for captivity, animal origin and use while in captivity, as well as the animals ‘ possible destination.
A comprehensive research project and extensive collaboration with the broader tourism industry follows the report. At the release, SATSA CEO David Frost noted that the process “was world-class and a fundamentally good news storey that can be shared with the world,” while Lee-Anne Bac, BDO’s Advisory Services Manager, noted that the guide’s goal was to “to raise awareness and prick sensitivities”.
SATSA Animal Interactions Board Chair Keira Powers clarified that the guideline and method were focused on the integrative approach to ethics founded by Professor David Bilchitz, University of Johannesburg. Other dynamic elements of the document include the line in the sand, which Powers explained as the identifying of tourism tolerance limit, “where and why to draw a line in the sand and its position in 2019”.
Tourism activities involving captive wildlife that are considered unacceptable include animal performance, tactile interactions with all infant wildlife, predator or elephant walking, tactile interactions with predators or cetaceans (marine animals) and wildlife riding.