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Eight things Aussie tourists must stop doing

Elephant rides may look like fun, but thousands of people around the world want this tourist attraction outlawed.

SOME tourist activities are so common – and so seemingly innocuous – that we wouldn’t think twice before taking part in them.

Scroll through Tinder or your mate’s Facebook page, and you’re guaranteed to run across the stock-standard shots: elephant riding down a dusty trail in Phuket, selfies with sedated tigers in Chiang Mai, a group of monkeys dancing from a random zoo day trip.

But after an elephant died while ferrying tourists around Cambodia during a 40C heatwave, people are saying enough is enough.

The elephant, Sambo, was used for tourist rides to and from the famous Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia.

Oan Kiri, a manager at Angkor Elephant Company, told AFPit had collapsed after working for 45 minutes, which involved a 2.1km walk.

“Veterinarians concluded that the elephant’s death was caused by the hot temperatures which caused stress, shock, high blood pressure and a heart attack,” he said.

A global petition has circulated since Sambo’s death, calling for the activity to be outlawed.

“There is no such thing as cruelty-free elephant rides,” the petition says. “Tourists may think that riding an elephant on holiday does not cause harm - you often can’t see the cruelty - it’s hidden from view. What you don’t realise is that a ‘once in a lifetime’ or ‘bucket list’ item for you, means a lifetime of misery for wild animals.”

Almost 45,000 people have signed it so far.

A global petition is being circulated, calling for elephants to remain in their natural habitats.

A global petition is being circulated, calling for elephants to remain in their natural habitats.Source:News Limited

Claire Fryer, the campaign co-ordinator for PETA Australia, told news.com.au that these animals are highly emotional, and being deprived of their complex social networks in their natural habitats see them experience the same loneliness and grief humans are capable of when isolated.

“Elephants like Sambo who are used for rides are typically torn away from their mothers when they’re just babies and violently ‘broken’ through domination, fear and punishment,” she said.

“The elephants forced to carry tourists around are often denied food and water for hours and aren’t given any breaks from the extreme heat, which is likely what caused Sambo’s heart attack.”

She said there was no excuse for using animals for entertainment in this day and age, and urged anyone visiting countries that offer animal attractions, like elephant riding, to leave them off their itineraries.

Earlier this year, a study commissioned by World Animal Protection revealed the cruellest animal attractions tourists contribute to. Riding elephants was first on the list. The others included:

TAKING PHOTOS WITH TIGERS

This is perhaps the most common attraction seen on social media, but tourists don’t always know what goes on behind the scenes. Tigers are often separated from their mothers when they’re young, so they can be trained to be used as photo props for hours on end. They are sometimes drugged into sedation, and may have their claws removed. They are typically chained or kept in small cages with concrete floors.

Posing for photos with tigers may be more harmful to them than you think.

Posing for photos with tigers may be more harmful to them than you think.Source:News Corp Australia

WALKING WITH LIONS

Lion cubs are typically used for tourists to pose with, but once they’re too old to pick up and hug, tourists are able to ‘walk’ them safely, sometimes on leads. These lions cannot be released into the world.

Walking with lions is a relatively new tourist experience. They are trained to walk ‘safely’ - sometimes on leads.

Walking with lions is a relatively new tourist experience. They are trained to walk ‘safely’ - sometimes on leads.Source:Supplied

HOLDING SEA TURTLES

According to the study, sea turtles often panic when they are handled, and are known to be dropped by tourists which can cause significant injuries.

According to the study, tourists can cause irreparable and fatal damage to sea turtles when handling them.

According to the study, tourists can cause irreparable and fatal damage to sea turtles when handling them.Source:Supplied

PERFORMING DOLPHINS

Dolphin shows have been the subject of heated discussion even here in Australia. The study says those that survive transportation after captivity face a lifetime of suffering, as these highly intelligent creatures are confined to small swimming pools.

The Gold Coast’s Sea World dolphinarium has been a controversial subject, with a Shut Down Sea World petition circulating early last year. In an interview with the Gold Coast Bulletin, Sea World’s marine sciences director Trevor Long rejected claims of cruelty.

A study found performing dolphins to be one of the cruellest tourist attractions.

A study found performing dolphins to be one of the cruellest tourist attractions.Source:Supplied

DANCING MONKEYS

On the busy streets of Jakarta, dancing monkeys are a common sight. Trainers are said to torture them into obedience through beating and/or starvation, in order to get them to learn moves to entertain tourists.

CIVET COFFEE

In 2013, a BBC investigation in Indonesia revealed civets are held in battery-cage conditions to produce the famous and expensive kopi luwak coffee purchased and sampled by tourists. Many retailers, however, market the product as ‘wild’, sourced from droppings of free-roaming animals in the jungle.

Civet cats are used to make kopi luwak – an expensive type of coffee.

Civet cats are used to make kopi luwak – an expensive type of coffee.Source:Supplied

CROC FARMS

A PETA investigation documented the conditions alligators and crocodiles were kept in, saying they were crowded in concrete pits for months or years before eventually being slaughtered for their skins. These skins were then used to make “luxury” Birkin bags and accessories.

A crocodile-skin birkin bag, with a whopping $US129,000 price tag.

A crocodile-skin birkin bag, with a whopping $US129,000 price tag.Source:AFP

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