If you are reading this, congratulations! You are a part of the 'most intelligent' species on this planet.
Now that you have been congratulated, it's time for some introspection. If you look at the instances of tourism-related animal cruelty cases that have become so frequent these days, you will realise that most of us are so entitled that we put nothing above our selfish interests.
If those 'interests' mean animals will die, they mean animals will die.
Let us look at some of the heartbreaking instances of how tourism has affected animals all over the world, and in most cases, resulted in their death.
1. Having swum a long distance, a moose drowned & died of exhaustion after people crowded to take pictures & scared it into going inside water again.
The moose had already been in the water for several hours when it reached the shore at South Hero, a part of Grand Isle. The resting animal caught the fancy of bystanders who just wouldn't leave it alone.
Petrified, it ran back into water but couldn't swim out of exhaustion. It died soon after.
2. A polar bear was killed by cruise employees at an Arctic archipelago when they encroached its habitat.
In what was said to be an 'act of self-defence', the polar bear was shot dead after it attacked a guard from a cruise ship that had landed on the northernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago- between mainland Norway and the North Pole that is known for glaciers, reindeers and polar bears.
This evoked a huge reaction on social media with people asking why did these guys go so near to the polar bears! They are animals, after all. They will attack if they feel threatened.
Humans encroached into this animal's diminishing territory, likely bringing the smell of food where resources are scarce, & this polar bear reacted as polar bears do. Wild animals have little habitat left – PETA urges travelers to leave them in peace. https://t.co/JOy3QaGChT— PETA 🐳🐬 (@peta) July 30, 2018
3. Donkeys in Santorini getting crippled by the weight of tourists travelling on their backs.
Greek island Santorini witnesses a rise in tourism between May and October. This also results in an increased demand for donkeys who carry people and things up the steep hills to places which are not accessible by vehicles.
As you can imagine, this takes a toll on their health and wellness. The animals are forced to carry weight much heavier than they should, which leaves them with spinal injuries and open wounds that are often neglected by owners.
4. A bear beaten to death by locals in Odisha after he attacked a tourist who was trying to take a selfie with the animal.
In a disturbing video footage, a group of people could be seen beating the bear to death as they tried to free the 27-year-old man from its claws. The same guy was reportedly attempting to take a selfie with the wild animal who got furious and attacked him.
5. Death of 1,268 endangered green turtles in 2014 after the outbreak of a serious infection linked to tourism at the Cayman turtle farm.
Cayman turtle farm, located in the islands of the same name in the Caribbean Sea, attracts many tourists who are allowed touch and hold turtles. This might seem like a small thing but turtles get really stressed because of this, to the point that their immunity system weakens and they become highly susceptible to diseases. In the year 2014, almost 1300 turtles were killed at the farm after an outbreak of Clostridium infections.
6. Tourists killing a baby dolphin in Spain by taking it out of the water and passing it on for selfies.
In an appalling case of insensitivity which happened last year, the people on the beach of Mojacar in Spain began crowding around a dolphin that appeared on the coast and took it out of the water for pictures.
This went on for 15 minutes before a rescue team arrived on the scene, but it was too late as the dolphin was dead by then.
7. An elephant named Sambo collapsed to death due to a heart attack while carrying tourists in Cambodia.
The female elephant was carrying two tourists - one at a time - to Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia and was under scorching heat for 40 minutes. She ultimately died of a heart attack that was caused due to heat, exhaustion, and lack of wind.
8. Monkeys in Indonesia were forced to wear creepy doll faces for 'entertaining tourists' and begging.
For this cruel practice, monkeys are taken away from their mothers at a very young age, often when they are still being breastfed.
Next, their teeth are removed so that they cannot harm anyone physically and are ultimately made to wear creepy doll faces to earn money from visiting tourists.
9. Endangered yellow-eyed penguins lost their lives because of the tourists' selfie obsession.
Katiki Point in New Zealand is the home to beautiful yellow eyed penguins, who are facing breeding problems because of tourists entering their nesting area and poking them with selfie sticks for a perfect picture.
This traumatises the penguins who often do not return to their nests, thus being unable to feed their children which results in their death.
10. Tigers and lions in Africa and Asia are being separated from their mothers to be trained for interaction with tourists.
Lions and tigers are the most majestic animals and people are often fascinated with the idea of taking pictures with them. Cashing on this opportunity are tourism companies who separate little cubs from their mothers at, as early an age as one week, so that they can be trained to be docile.
When they grow up, they are used for 'lion walks' which have lately gained popularity, and after their death they're are sold off for medicinal purposes.
11. Elephants in Southeast Asian countries forced to go through the 'crushing' process so that they submit to giving rides.
For those who are wondering, this is the process in which elephants are made to live in a small cage, tied with a rope and allowed to move only when they are ordered to. Additionally, severe pain is inflicted on them with 'bull hooks', which eventually breaks them emotionally and they become submissive.
12. Camels being forced to pull carts all day for 'joy rides'
Camels are transported from one city to another so that they can be used for 'joyrides' by people attending the fairs in various parts of India. Now, in conditions where they should be given extra care, they are not even provided with basic facilities for good health.
They are often made to walk on roads wearing ill-fitted saddles, in conditions that are not suited for their body type.
13. Two peacocks shocked to death in a Chinese zoo after people picked them and plucked their feathers.
Two peacocks died after people in a Chinese zoo picked them up and also allegedly plucked their feathers. The birds, who do not like being touched, were so deeply shocked that they eventually died. The zoo released a statement later and mentioned:
The uncivilised behaviour of visitors caused the death of a peacock, a preliminary investigation determined that the five-year-old bird was scared to death.