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What TripAdvisor's "Features Animals" Badge Means

Just recently TripAdvisor added a "Features Animals" badge to the KayTours profile. TripAdvisor adds this badge to any tour company or other organization that allows guests to view animals. The tricky part is that there is no distinct differentiation between groups that feature animals in the wild versus showcasing animals in captivity. TripAdvisor is doing its best to cut ties with groups that showcase animals in captivity, and we applaud these improvements. However, we want to make sure travelers are not fooled into thinking we harm animals because of this badge. KayTours does not and will never feature animals in captivity. Follow along to learn more about the "Features Animals" badge and why it's there, as well as our policy on wild animals.

The purpose of the “Features Animals” badge is to show TripAdvisor’s commitment to improve wildlife welfare standards in tourism. Their goal is to educate people to their best ability. TripAdvisor has decided that hundreds of animal attractions where tourists come into physical contact with captive wild animals will no longer be bookable on their platform.

Every animal attraction listing on TripAdvisor is now linked to an education portal that provides links and information on animal welfare practices, helping travelers write more informed reviews about their experience. These reviews are expected to shed light on how certain groups aim to help conservation efforts. Overall, TripAdvisor’s goal is for people to write better, more informed reviews so that travelers can make more informed booking decisions when it comes to protecting wildlife. In turn, this will ultimately improve the standards of animal care in tourism.

TripAdvisor’s new education portal includes insight from a variety of experts in the field of sustainable tourism, animal welfare, wildlife conservation and the zoological and marine sciences.

Stephen Kaufer, president and CEO of TripAdvisor said, “We want to celebrate those destinations and attractions that are leaders in caring for animals and those in the tourism industry who help further the cause of animal welfare, conservation and the preservation of endangered species.”

Our goal is to continue to be a private tourism company that travels in small groups, avoiding harming wild animals at all costs. We hope any guest leaving a review on TripAdvisor includes that we care about the conservation of animals and preservation of endangered species.

Ultimately we are very happy with the transparency that TripAdvisor now allows. We do not want to see a market grow around animals in captivity. Now we want to be transparent as well and give you as much information as we can on how to preserve wildlife while booking KayTours.

Our article, Tread Lightly: How to Protect Animals and Wildlife with KayTours, outlines these practices in depth, but here are some of the guidelines we have:

1. At Kay Tours we always encourage guests to ask for a straw-free drink.

2. If possible, please bring a reusable water bottle with you instead of plastic. If you use a plastic bottle, always recycle.

3. When visiting remote destinations like Sian Ka'an, we always take our trash with us so that it’s our responsibility to make sure the trash goes to the correct place.

4. While we often come across animals or set out to view them, we make it explicitly clear that we never touch animals. We are only there to observe. During whale shark season, we try to avoid joining the group of boats. We never want to stress out the animals. We only approach sea life in small groups, and our sea captains are very aware of these concerns.

5. We avoid using sunscreen in the ocean so that we do not harm sea life with chemicals. If possible, please stick to all-natural products when heading outdoors.

6. We’re always thinking about how we can reuse something instead of wasting it. For example, we buy ice for the coolers in our vans and use the ice bag as our trash bag during the tour.

7. We educate all of our guests on the ways in which we protect the environment and wildlife as much as we possibly can. It is no secret that our actions have consequences, and we do our best to tread as lightly as possible everywhere we go.

How You Can Protect Animals No Matter Where You Travel

1. Never feed wild animals, touch them, or provoke them. It is great to see them, but it is important to remember to simply observe. When observing, always leave enough distance so you do not disrupt the animals and avoid making sudden movements.

2. Be mindful when sharing photos with animals in them. Do not share photos of animals that are captive or treated unfairly.

3. Only support organizations that respect animals and other wildlife.

4. Do not buy souvenirs that are made out of wildlife products, including threatened natural materials like turtle shells, feathers, or ivory.

5. Do not ride animals that are too young or too old. Never ride animals that are pregnant or nursing. If possible, avoid riding animals. Instead, try volunteering for them! For example, bathing elephants instead of riding them.

6. Never interfere with breeding sites.

If you do write a review, please include any ways that we informed you to better preserve wildlife. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding with following our guidelines.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to write in the comment section below or send us an e-mail to:

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