TripAdvisor had already taken steps to protect animals in 2016, by banning the sale of tickets for experiences such as riding elephants, swimming with dolphins, or petting tigers. (Shutterstock/File)
TripAdvisor has become a trip-planning reference that offers a wide array of tourist activities, such as museum, monument and zoo visits, in partnership with subsidiary Viator.
The two reservation platforms have decided to stop offering activities from venues that make use of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) "for public display," deleting such operators' offerings from TripAdvisor over the next few months. The measure will be fully implemented by the end of the year.
Some tourist venues involving dolphins and whales will be exempt from this decision: those that have put in place seaside-sanctuary environments, for example (or are in the process of developing them), will not be involved, as are those that protect and oversee reproduction by qualified husbandry specialists and veterinarians -- but not those that breed the animals in captivity or engage in trade.
The decision has gotten a lukewarm reception from conservation and animal welfare groups who suggest the policy should go further and apply to all structures where dolphins and whales do not enjoy complete freedom.
The American travel platform outlined that "its policy extension takes into account that while it is possible to prevent future generations of cetaceans from a life of captivity, for those already in captivity, the situation is different. For most of the current population of cetaceans, release into the wild is not a realistic option. Therefore, the policy includes several stipulations aimed at protecting the needs, safety and health of cetaceans currently in captivity, too."
"We believe the current generation of whales and dolphins in captivity should be the last," said president of experiences and rentals for TripAdvisor Dermot Halpin. "Seaside sanctuaries have enormous potential but they need more backing from the tourism industry. As long as facilities with captive whales and dolphins continue to profit from keeping these animals in smaller, cheaper and less natural living environments, then they don't have enough incentive to adopt serious change."
TripAdvisor had already taken steps to protect animals in 2016, by banning the sale of tickets for experiences such as riding elephants, swimming with dolphins, or petting tigers.
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