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Implementing responsible tourism policies requires constant regulation, something Intrepid knows all too well. The company has just audited its 140-plus wildlife tours to maintain its ethical practice standards.

Intrepid Travel, one of the world’s largest tour operators with a reputation for responsible tourism, has cleaned up its wildlife tours offering, maintaining its animal welfare policy standards.

The travel company has reviewed its 140-plus range of wildlife experiences and removed tours that failed to meet its standards of ethical engagement.

Its customers will no longer be able to book certain tours, ending support and inclusion of Madagascar’s Adasibe National Park experience for example, “due to enclosed animal living conditions for the sole purpose of travel and entertainment, without clear conservation intentions.”

The company also ended a “Tasmanian Devil Zoo” experience in Australia, which offered showtime feedings that did not adhere to Intrepid’s guidelines to “ensure species are able to live out natural habits and behaviors with limited impact from human interaction.”

The company has been a partner of World Animal Protection since 2010, and made its first major removal of elephant riding on all trips in 2014.

Despite the importance and popularity of wildlife tourism, many travel-related companies have failed to develop animal welfare policies, let alone put them into action, according to Matt Berna, Intrepid’s Americas travel president.

“Like all of our wildlife-themed trips, our new and improved itineraries for the year ahead support conservation efforts in some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems and engage with the communities who are taking action to protect local species.”

Following the audit process Intrepid confirmed the launch of 16 new wildlife tours and experiences for 2023, including its first tour to the Comoros Islands, off the east coast of Africa.

The lesser-known island nation was recently designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve and is home to some of the world’s richest marine biodiversity.

Other wildlife tour additions include a Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust experience between Vic Falls to Kruger that lifts the curtain on wildlife crime investigations while supporting critical anti-poaching efforts and a “Beauty from Brutality” mission experience in its Stone Town to Vic Falls trip supporting local Zambian jewelers who are turning poachers snare wire into jewelry.

Nicole Barrantes, wildlife campaign manager of World Animal Protection, US, noted the recent wildlife tours audit, adding “Intrepid continues to establish itself at the forefront of ethical wildlife tourism and as a leading resource for travelers seeking experiences that respect and protect animals. With its new set of wildlife experiences providing exciting opportunities for animal enthusiasts to observe animals in their natural environments, Intrepid is demonstrating how travel can be a force for good.” 

Several travel companies have recently been taken to task by a World Animal Protection Report for failing to regulated activities seen to promote the exploitation of wildlife.

Most recently TUI has announced its science-based sustainability policies and targets for 2030, including a focus on its certified process for experiences to “support local suppliers to improve the sustainability of their offerings and thereby helping to transform the whole sector.”


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Tags: experiences, intrepid travel, responsible tourism, sustainable tourism, tours and activities, tui group

Photo credit: The mongoose lemur native to Madagascar. Source: Intrepid. Intrepid

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