Published on March 3rd, 2019 | by Daniel Nikulin0
Marking World Wildlife Day, Every Day
Like Earth Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day or any other annual reminder of the greater good we are all capable of achieving, celebrating World Wildlife Day should be a constant endeavour marked every day.
Even before signing on to the United Nations Global Compact initiative, Flight Centre Travel Group has been a leader in responsible travel, swaying vacationers away from activities that exploit animals for profit to more ethical and sustainable practices. Animal welfare is important to us and we believe that all wildlife should be able to live their most natural lives.
Our Responsible Travel Charter
As part of our corporate social responsibility commitment to the United Nations Global Compact, we created our Responsible Travel Charter, including a pillar dedicated to the protection of wildlife.
Our goal is to take steps to understand and prevent animal cruelty in the tourism industry
Specifically, our Charter mandates that we:
- establish an internal working group to review potentially problematic products and monitor wildlife welfare issues in general
- provide informative resources on animal welfare to our consultants and customers to increase awareness about animal welfare
- conduct product reviews to ensure that we are not selling products categorized as unacceptable under the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Animal Welfare Guidance.
In charting this course, we don’t look to criticize consumers interested in animal attractions but rather to inform them and provide suitable alternatives. In other words, we won’t book your swimming with dolphins excursion, but if you’re ready to interact with dolphins in the wild on their own terms, we’d happily book that snorkelling trip for you (but please respect the coral!).
So, what’s on our minds this World Wildlife Day?
World Wildlife Day 2019
On top of exploitive tourism practices, our oceans remain under threat from traffic, pollution, overfishing and climate change. From bleached and dying coral reefs to the indiscriminate finning of sharks and the lucrative whaling industry, our marine ecosystems face a number of challenges. As any action begins with awareness, for World Wildlife Day 2019, we’d like to spotlight the current struggles of marine mammals.
Salish Sea Orcas
Flight Centre Canada’s ongoing partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation helps the plight of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest through funding for awareness and research projects. The orcas of the Salish Sea currently number only 75. The proposed seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic in the region, along with depleted numbers of wild Chinook salmon (the orca’s main food source) leave their future uncertain at best.
If you’re lucky enough to come across a pod of orcas or any other marine mammal in Canadian waters, please make sure you keep a safe and legal distance.
Found only in Mexico’s Gulf of California, the critically endangered vaquitas are on the brink of extinction, with less than 20 left in the Sea of Cortez. Although not specifically targeted, vaquitas are killed as bycatch from the illegal gillnet fishing industry. A captive breeding program is being explored to save the species, but like most marine mammals, vaquitas don’t do well in captivity and the effort to breed them has so far been unsuccessful, further lessening their chance for survival.
To learn more about vaquitas and how you can help, check out porpoise.org.
The world’s second largest marine mammal after the blue whale, North Atlantic fin whales are listed as a vulnerable species as a result of resumed commercial whaling, habitat loss, pollution and climate change. Although their status was upgraded from endangered in 2018, they continue to be targeted by whalers against the advice of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
Follow Sea Shepherd to stay on top of the latest news surrounding fin whales and the exploitation of our oceans at large.
While we don’t sell or condone attractions like swimming with captive dolphins or elephant rides, whale-watching, safaris and other educational, non-intrusive activities we sell with vigour.
Adventure tour companies like G Adventures and Intrepid Travel are both committed to ethical practices with a shared belief in animal welfare. In fact, G Adventures partnered with the National Geographic Society to offer sanctioned nature tours. If you are looking for a wildlife encounter, speak to our Expert Travellers to book one that benefits everyone, including the animals you want to view.
We encourage you to help us get the word out about exploitive animal tourism practices and welcome any feedback on the excursions and tours we offer. There is nothing like getting a lucky glimpse of an animal in the wild, and like you, we’d like to help keep it that way for generations to come.
Happy World Wildlife Day!
Read more about Brighter Futures, our corporate social impact program, and how Flight Centre aims to empower and improve people and the environment.