It’s the last set of group games in our fantastic World Cup for Wildlife, and this time the emphasis is on defence! We’ll be comparing wildlife tourism in each of the countries taking part in the World Cup to see who will ultimately take the title Wildlife Tourism World Champions 2014! In these games, we’ll be focussing on the problems that each country faces, as they are crucial in deciding whether they are a good place for wildlife tourism – or not!
Next up: USA v Germany
Check out the highlights and issues around wildlife tourism in each country below (all information taken from www.RIGHT-tourism.org), then read our Match Report at the bottom to find out the score!
USA Wildlife – Highlights
The US has too much wildlife to cover here, with close to 52 million acres protected by national parks. Suffice to say, whether it’s going for a trek in a forest, watching for eagles on a mountain or enjoying whales off the coast, there’s something for everyone.
Country Specific Issues
Animals on the Menu – Shark Fin
Despite the mounting criticism, the Asian delicacy, shark fin, is still available in parts of the USA. Tourists should be careful to avoid any meal including shark fins. The most commonly available dish is likely to be ‘shark fin soup’, typically offered in Asian restaurants. New York has recently introduced a proposed shark fin ban and California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington are enacting similar bans that were passed last year, while Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Virginia have legislation pending. Read more about shark fin soup here.
Animal Attractions – SeaWorld
SeaWorld in Orlando is notorious for its marine animal performances. Before capturing cetaceans in US waters became illegal, SeaWorld was known to capture wild animals, removing them from their families to perform for tourists. Although this practice has now been prohibited, SeaWorld continues to attract international condemnation for its training practices and animal welfare standards. Read more about aquariums here or see the news section below for details of SeaWorld documentary Blackfish.
Comment from Barry W on TripAdvisor about SeaWorld San Diego:
“Just saw the documentary, “Blackfish”…very interesting how one of sea world’s orcas has killed or hurt at least 3 trainers…it is no wonder…if you were held in a closet or prison cell for your life, you, also would go crazy…please use your summer entertainment money to go elsewhere…really sad for all the orcas, and the blatant lies and cover ups SeaWorld gives as excuses…”
Cruel Sports – Rodeo
Rodeos are a major tourist attraction in the USA, with an estimated 10,000 events held across the country each year. Marketing tactics usually imply that visitors will get to experience historical ranching practices and a little bit of the ‘old West’ heritage, however, these attractions can cause severe animal welfare problems and high risks to human participants and even spectators. To read more about rodeo click here.
Germany Wildlife – Highlights
With a forest cover of over 30% (three times the UK’s), Germany is abundant in dense forestation, which provides natural habitat for a wide variety of animals including red squirrels, roe deer, wild boars, hares, pheasants, beavers, lynx, and badgers. Once on the verge of extinction, wolves, foxes and brown bears are now seeing an increase in population. The country also possesses different mountain ranges, where the chamois and the ibex can be found. Germany is also home to many national parks, which have contributed to the preservation of wildlife. Hundreds of zoos and wildlife parks operate in Germany, the largest amount of any country. Please see our advice on visiting national parks here and on animal attractions (in particular zoos) here.
Country Specific Issues
Hunting continues to be very popular in Germany, and the number of tourists travelling to the country to take part in the activity is growing. Roe buck and the Russian boars are the most commonly hunted animals, with hunting trips typically taking place early in the morning and at night. However, any form of hunting with hounds is illegal in Germany. Although the hunting industry is regulated in Germany, there are major concerns that wild populations of animals are being severely damaged; furthermore, hunting animals causes animals to suffer. Read more about game hunting here.
Fur can often be found used in German clothing items, however, like all other furs garments, the material most likely comes from China. A report by Care for the Wild International showed that although fur may be labelled as coming ‘from Germany’, this is most likely not the case, with animals being farmed and slaughtered in China where there are no animal welfare laws. Read more about fur, and other products to avoid when shopping, here.
No team is assured a win in this match. Shark fin soup and internationally condemned training practices at some of its aquariums could lead the USA to play defensively. Then again, Germany’s hunting industry and fur garments might hinder its performance.
USA 2 v 1 Germany
Don’t miss the next game…