Animals

You Can Actually Improve Your Health by Letting Your Dog Sleep With You!

As humans, we have many ways of improving our health and one of those ways involves your pet!  Recent studies from the Mayo Clinic have shown people who sleep with their dogs will let them sleep more soundly and improve their overall good health. Let’s look at the reasoning behind this study:

The Mayo Clinic:

Their study was a joint effort by researchers in two different branches of the clinic in Arizona. The experiment involved 40 people and their dogs. Every night, the participants slept in their usual way but with their dog either in the bed or in the bedroom.

The people and the dogs wore sensors to track how well they slept and whether they moved while sleeping. They were tracked and recorded each night for 5 months.

All the participants were adults who had absolutely no health issues relating to sleep and most of them were women.  The dogs were all adult dogs as puppies are too unpredictable in their sleeping habits which could disrupt the study.

The Difference Between Sleeping On The Bed Or On the Floor:

Many past studies have shown that distractions or sounds outside the bedroom, including that of dogs, can interfere with sleep.  This study showed that dogs in the bedroom did not disturb their owners’ ability to sleep.  The study also found that dogs who slept in the bedroom allowed their owners a better sleep than dogs that actually slept on the bed, causing less sleep.

People who love their dogs want them nearby which is a leading source of comfort. Studies have also shown that if a dog is calm and sleeps restfully, the dog’s breathing sounds are actually very soothing to help the owner sleep even better.

Overall, the study showed that people who sleep with one dog in their bedroom at night will allow them to sleep better than people who do not have a pet in the bedroom.

The study did show promise but there are other factors that could have changed the outcome. This study was very casual because there were only 40 participants and their dogs. It did not take into consideration other factors for getting a good night’s sleep or not.

All the participants had only one pet and all the pets were dogs. Having more than one dog in the bedroom could cause disturbances if the dogs wake up in the night.

It’s also believed the outcome of the study could have differed if they had more participants.  Also, the study could have been a washout if an owner had a very active dog and they were a light sleeper.  If you feel having your dog sleep in your bedroom would be a disturbance, then by all means, have them sleep in another room.

All said and done, pets are an important part of our family and having a study that shows you might actually experience a much better night’s sleep if your four-legged friend is sleeping close by.

There are other studies in the works to see if sleeping with your cat has the same effects as sleeping with your dog.  Pretty much, if you ask animal lovers how they feel about their pets you will find having them curl up on your bed or sleeping next to the best is welcoming to both the owner and their pet.  We will let you know if other researches are performed and what the findings will be.

As humans, we have many ways of improving our health and one of those ways involves your pet!  Recent studies from the Mayo Clinic have shown people...

Animals Nature & Tech Science

Armour Plated – The Fish With the Toughest Scales on Earth

The Arapaima fish lives in Amazonian lakes have evolved armor-like scales to protect itself. The fish is huge – growing up to 4 meters in length and weighing in at around 200kg and is likely to be the largest freshwater fish on the planet. Scientists are hoping that the scales can help them build more efficient armor to protect human beings.

The hardened scales are heavily mineralized and act to protect the fish from predators including the piranhas that infest the waters in which it lives. The scales remain flexible because of the existence of protrusions and ridges and there is a collagen layer underneath which binds the scales to the body without losing flexibility.

The layer appears as a series of twisting layers known as a Bouligand structure which is also seen in beetle, lobster and crab shells.

Test of Strength

A series of tests were conducted on the scales designed to see exactly how much stress they could resist.

Having soaked crushed scales in water for 48 hours the scientists exerted central pressure and pulled the edges apart. This causes the outer layer to increase in size, eventually cracking and peeling away. However, the fractures did not spread and this has been attributed to the way they are structured: The inner and outer layers of the scales work in unison to provide a light and tough barrier.

When looking to engineer armor there needs to be a combination of strength and flexibility and this is what the structure of the fish’s scales seems to achieve. If scientists can develop similarly lightweight but tough materials it could have wide-reaching impacts on industry, including aerospace engineering.

The Arapaima fish lives in Amazonian lakes have evolved armor-like scales to protect itself. The fish is huge – growing up to 4 meters in length...

Animals Funny Stories

Lazy Cat Sleeps on Busy Thai Restaurant Floor, Refuses to Move for Waitresses

This lazy cat was in no mood to move – and she simply sprawled out on the floor of a restaurant. The tabby named Thongdang was filmed sleeping coåmfortably on her back on the wooden floor in Chachoengsao, central Thailand on July 27.

When waitresses had to pass by carrying plates, Thongdang would not move and the staff had to step over the cat.

The restaurant boss said: ”She’s the kind of cat that does what she wants and everybody else has to accommodate her.

”But we still love her, even when she lays on the ground and won’t move.”

This lazy cat was in no mood to move – and she simply sprawled out on the floor of a restaurant. The tabby named Thongdang was filmed sleeping...

Category - Animals

Animals Cool Stories Science

A Pocket Shark That Glows in the Dark!

A new species of the pocket shark was found in the Gulf of Mexico.  It secretes a liquid that glows in the dark,  attracting its prey.

This is a very significant find because it’s the only other member of the  Mollisquama genus that has been identified, according to a study published in the  Zootaxa journal.

Named the American Pocket Shark (Mollisquama mississippiensis) was identified as a new species based on an analysis performed on a single 5½-inch-long male that was caught in the Gulf in 2010.

In Louisiana, researchers from Tulane University applied several different techniques including X-ray imaging and high-resolution CT scans to examine the specimen.  It was determined it was a different species of the pocket shark  (Mollisquama parini)  that was ever reported.  In 1979, a pocket shark was captured in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Only two ever captured

Director of the Tulane Biodiversity Research Institute, Henry Bart, said in the history of science, these are the only two pocket sharks ever captured or reported.  He said that both sharks are separate species and from different oceans.

They are both extremely rare and the fact that only one pocket shark was reported from the Gulf of Mexico, this new species emphasizes how very little scientists know about the Gulf, especially in deeper waters. This has led scientists to question how many new species might be in the Gulf, yet to be discovered.

Both M. mississippiensis and M. parini have similar characteristics, they both have two rather large “pockets” near their front fins and gills. In a paper, the latest pocket shark has a fluid that glows and then attracts prey.

Even though both species have similarities, they also have notable differences, according to the Tulane scientists.  The M. mississippiensis has fewer vertebrae than the shark found in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.  Also, the species found in the Gulf has many light-producing organs known as photophores which have been found all over the body.

A new species of the pocket shark was found in the Gulf of Mexico.  It secretes a liquid that glows in the dark,  attracting its prey.

This is a very significant find because it’s the only other member of the  Mollisquama genus that has been...

Animals

‘Wall of Sharks’ is a Real Phenomenon, and it Only Happens Once a Year

If you’ve ever wondered where the annual grey reef shark conference is, well, here’s your answer. Every year on the full moon of July, hundreds of sharks gather off of the island of Fakarava in French Polynesia, specifically in the south passage, a phenomenon that has been named the “Wall of Sharks.”

This area is one of the largest shark sanctuaries in the world, so it’s typical that you’d find a larger amount of this particular sea predator than you normally would in other places. However, on this single day of July, the usual number of about 250 sharks could shoot to a radical 900 all at one time.

So, what causes this astronomical change?

Well, this narrow passage where the open sea meets a lagoon is particularly full of sea life, enticing sharks to partake of plankton, fish, and more. However, it’s on the full moon of July that thousands of marbled groupers arrive to mate; in fact, it was while researching the aggregation of these groupers that biologists first discovered the gathering of grey reef sharks.

The groupers spawn over 20,000, providing the sharks a celebratory feast!

The pass is relatively quite small in comparison to this amount of sea life in it at once. In fact, “when diving inside, you can see both sides of the channel,” says shark researcher Dr. Johann Mourier. And, so, we have the nickname “Wall of Sharks.”

Brave Diving Challenge

Since it’s discovery, this site has become a favorite spot for courageous divers from all over the world. Top Dive hosts guided dives around French Polynesia year-round as well as during the short “Wall of Sharks” timeframe. The southern pass is a site to see all throughout the year – a “veritable undersea Garden of Eden,” according to Top Dive.

“Diving with 900 sharks?!” you might be thinking. And considering what sharks are rumored to be, it’s right to be alarmed. However, underwater photographer Lauren Ballesta assures divers that they are generally safe as sharks see humans as “obstacles not prey.”

Don’t base all your beliefs about sharks off of movies like Jaws. Sharks are vital to our ecosystem and are in need of our protection.

Whether or not your ready to dive in and enjoy a swim with these sharks, this phenomenon is simply incredible, one of the thrilling moments nature gives us to enjoy.

If you’ve ever wondered where the annual grey reef shark conference is, well, here’s your answer. Every year on the full moon of July, hundreds of sharks gather off of the island of Fakarava in French Polynesia, specifically in the south passage, a...

Animals Nature & Tech

Tourist Unwittingly Poses With Highly Poisonous Australian Octopus

Why is nature so beautiful? Why does a short walk amidst nature has such a calming influence on our mind? Why does the sight of flowers, butterflies, rainbows, and animals fill our hearts with joy unspeakable?

While evolution and science can explain many facts of our daily existence, the answer to this profound puzzle lies a little beyond the reaches of present-day science, and in the realms of the super-conscious.

Nature is beautiful because it is a manifestation of everything that is fervently pulsating with life on this planet. In the midst of nature, our minds become calm because we feel the pull of this joyful cosmic consciousness.

For the most part, people will do anything to avoid crawling creatures, especially when it comes down to disgusting, slimy, dangerous, poison octopus. Octopuses seem to tick most people’s instincts just by looking the way they look, not taking the dangerous factor in consideration.

This particular octopus might not be big however it happens to make the list in most dangerous and venomous octopus’s we’ve seen. This guy means business and that is clearly shown on this video.

Take a look at this story as a young Irish tourist was fishing with friends in Bundaberg, Queensland, on July 12 when he decided to pose for a photograph with an eye-catching mollusk that he later learned was the highly venomous blue-ring octopus, local media reported.

Johnpaul Lennon, 24, is seen in the footage laughingly asking a friend to place the octopus on his bare skin a few times, pulling his arm away in trepidation, then letting the creature briefly rest on him.

This big bhe blue-ringed octopus is one of the most venomous animals in Australia, with a bite that is capable of causing paralysis. British backpacker Ross Saunders, who recorded the interaction, said that at the time the men didn’t realize the octopus was poisonous.

More Luck Than Wits

Sauders posted to Facebook about the incident saying, “Thankfully no one was hurt and we can laugh about how close to death and stupid we were.” Saunders also said that the amateur fishermen got the hook out of the octopus and released it back into the water.

What do you think about this video? Make sure you tell us more in the comments down below. If you like what you see, don’t forget to share it with others who might like it as well. It just might be the creepy highlight of their day! Enjoy!

Why is nature so beautiful? Why does a short walk amidst nature has such a calming influence on our mind? Why does the sight of flowers, butterflies, rainbows, and animals fill our hearts with joy unspeakable?
While evolution and science can explain many...

Animals City Life

St James’s Park Gets Three New Pelicans

Wonderful News! There are three brand new arrivals to St James’s Park in London.  Their names are Sun, Moon, and Star.

James’s Park is famous for their pelicans who are able to roam freely but they seem to prefer staying close by the lake.  All three pelicans came all the way from the Prague Zoo and will soon be joined up with permanent residents Isla, Tiffany, and Gargi.

Actually, all three arrived here toward the end of May but have been kept out of public sight so they can settle into their new surroundings.

Hugh Smith, the Senor Wildlife Officer for The Royal Parks, believes it will take a few weeks for the two flocks to come together. There will be little interaction between the new pelicans and the established pelicans.

They will need a period of adjustment for bringing together three relatively tame birds with three semi-wild birds.  They do not see any disagreements just a little apprehension or suspicion while they get to know each other.

It will not take very long for these birds to start using the Pelican Rock because it’s natural for them.

A Gift For a King

Pelicans first arrived at St James’s Park in 1664 when the Russian Ambassador sent a gift to King Charles II.  This is the third time the Czech capital has sent pelicans to live in this very famous park which is located next to Buckingham Palace.

The Prague Zoo sent four in 1995 and another three in 2013.

Miroslav Bobek, Zoo Director, said he was honored to help St James’s Park to keep this 350-year tradition alive.  We believe that Sun, Moon, and Star will have a very happy life along with the other pelicans.

You can visit the park every day between 5 AM and Midnight and say hello to the Pelicans.  You can go to Duck Island Cottage between 2:30 PM and 3 PM to watch them being fed fresh fish.

Wonderful News! There are three brand new arrivals to St James’s Park in London.  Their names are Sun, Moon, and Star.

James’s Park is famous for their pelicans who are able to roam freely but they seem to prefer staying close by the lake.  All...

Animals Cool Stories

25 Year Old Shark Tooth Removed From Man’s Leg

Florida resident Jeff Weakley was bitten by a shark near Florida’s Flagler Beach back in 1994 and had long since put the incident behind him until he suddenly noticed that he had developed a lump similar to a blister on the same foot.  He decided to pop the blister with some tweezers only to have a piece of shark tooth fall out.

According to scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Mr Weakley had contacted them after the incident so they could run tests on the tooth to establish the species of shark it had once belonged to.

The Museum is currently running the Florida Program for Shark Research so it seemed was certainly the go-to lab for Mr Weakley.  He was, however, concerned that when they ran the tests it might come back as something like a mackerel tooth, which would be a lot less exciting.

Testing the Tooth for Shark DNA

Scientist Lei Yang took the tooth and removed the pulp to test for DNA.  It revealed that the tooth did indeed belong to a shark, specifically a Blacktip sharp.  Known scientifically as Carcharhinus limbatus, this is a medium-sized shark that is often found in waters similar to that around Flagler Beach.

The event was reported in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine where laboratory manager Lei Yang explained how the test had been performed using modern genome sequencing to obtain an unambiguous result.

The University of Florida’s Naylor Lab has a DNA library of around 70% of all known sharks and similar species in the world and the Blacktip is one of the most abundant found in the Gulf of Mexico.  Since they are so plentiful it is not uncommon for the Blacktip to be implicated in shark bite cases around Florida.

Mr Yang had some sympathy with Mr Weakley’s need to find out which shark had been the one to bite him.  For his own part Mr Weakley said that this was confirmation of his initial belief that the shark had been a Blackfin.

That being the case, he still spent time in the ocean and the bite had never put him off swimming in the area.  He likened it to being bitten by a dog, he was unlucky, but it was just a fact of life that sharks are present in the local area.

The team of scientists were lucky to be able to use the DNA in the tooth because it had been inside Mr Weakley’s body for around a quarter of a century, during which time it had undoubtedly come under fire from his own immune system.

Mr Yang was keen to point out that determining a species in the case of bites could be instrumental in understanding behavior and then implementing strategies that could help prevent future incidents.  Each species is different in their life span, history and behavior so understanding the sharks is key to preventing more bites.

Florida resident Jeff Weakley was bitten by a shark near Florida’s Flagler Beach back in 1994 and had long since put the incident behind him until he suddenly noticed that he had developed a lump similar to a blister on the same foot.  He decided to pop...

Animals Nature & Tech Science

Heads Up! Cockroaches Are Becoming Almost Impossible To Control!

Studies have shown that the cockroach has developed a resistance to bug sprays and might actually become impossible to control with chemicals.

New research published by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana believes there is a strain of German cockroaches, known as Blatella germanica L, which are becoming difficult to get rid of as future generations are going to be increasingly immune to our efforts to control them.

Scientists have strongly stated that these insects must be controlled as they threaten human health. They can spread bacteria and their feces triggers allergies and asthma in both children and adults.

A Losing Battle

A professor in the Department of Entomology, Michael Scharf, said: “This is a previously unrealized challenge in cockroaches”.  He led a 6-month study that was then published in the Scientific Reports journal.  He believes these insects are becoming resistant to many insecticides which will make controlling them almost impossible using chemicals alone.

This species of cockroaches cannot survive in areas without humans and thrive in warm indoor places with access to food and water.  This statement was made by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Purdue researchers believe insecticides used to remove the spread come in different classes and each works differently for eliminating cockroaches.  Some of these sprays contain a blend of multiple classes to ensure that at least one will impact these very tough insects.  New experiments are planned to test these sprays’ effectiveness.

German roaches were collected from apartments in Indianapolis and Danville.  Chemicals were purchased from Univar Solutions.  During the first test, 3 kinds of insecticides were rotated for 3 months before repeating the process.  The second test had a mixture of 2 insecticides for a period of 6 months. In the third test, scientists used a single insecticide on roaches that had low resistance and ran the test for another 6 months.

In the first rotation, researchers said they could keep the population down but failed to reduce it.  During the mixture test, nothing worked and instead the population started to grow.

What happened next was really shocking!

In a single insecticide test, scientists discovered they were able to eliminate the roach population because of the low starting resistance in the chosen insecticide.  That said, not all was good news.  With another single insecticide experiment the population with only 10% resistant but managed to grow.

Scharf believes that cockroaches will survive a certain treatment and essentially become immune to the insecticide in the future and that includes their offspring.  They have also gained resistance to other classes of insecticides even if the insects were never exposed to the treatments and never had a previous resistance.

He went on to say that resistance will increase four or six-fold in just one generation.  He said no one had any idea that something like this could happen so fast.

Female cockroaches have a 3-month reproductive cycle which will bring in another 50 offspring. Even a number this small can lead to a lot of trouble down the road.  It is suggested that even if a population is wiped out by one working bug spray, they could spring back in a matter of a few months.

Further research will have to be conducted to come up with a plan for removing cockroaches from the human population.  Chemicals have become a concern among most people, so how strong will a new variety of bug spray have to be to control the problem?  Adding to that, how long would a new bug spray last before these tough insects become immune to that as well?

That said, insects have been around since the beginning of time, so they might just survive us as well!

Studies have shown that the cockroach has developed a resistance to bug sprays and might actually become impossible to control with chemicals.

New research published by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana believes there is a strain of German...

Animals City Life

Finding the Right Dog Walker

Dogs needs to be exercised every day in order to stay healthy.  This is essential for their physical and mental well-being so if you are unable to walk your dog daily you will need to find a suitable dog walker.

This can be a difficult decision because although anyone can call themselves a dog walker, it doesn’t mean that they have the experience, qualification or expertise to be the right walker for your companion.

Take a look at this guide for choosing a dog walker that meets all your pet’s needs:

Word-of-Mouth Recommendations

Getting good recommendations from other dog parents is probably the best way to start when looking for a dog walker of your own.  Ask them what their experiences have been, talk to other dog owners at the park or ask your vet if they have any particular dog walker they are happy to recommend.

If you do get a good recommendation then be sure to check them out thoroughly before deciding to hire them.

Meet and Greet

Always invite a potential dog walker to meet your dog because your dog needs to be comfortable with them.  If your dog feels shy or wary when they meet new people you need to keep this in mind and give them some time. However, the walker should not be phased by this.  Ideally, they will be calm, assertive and able to read your dog’s behavior and body language.

Ask questions

 The sort of thing you need to know is what will be happening while your dog is with their walker.  Consider the following questions:

  • Where will my dog be walked?
  • Can you accommodate my dog’s needs? If your dog is not particularly well socialized, for example, would the walker be willing to walk him/her alone?  Would they be able to introduce your dog to others gradually?
  • How long will my dog be walked? Make sure you are clear about the specific amount of time your dog will spend walking with their new companion.
  • Will anyone else walk my dog? Many dog walkers work alone, but some are part of larger businesses.  If this is the case you’ll need to know who is likely to be walking your dog.
  • What training do you have? If you are employing a dog walker you want them to have some experience of dogs, ideally professional experience. This is a crucial question to ask or you could end up with someone walking dogs just to earn some extra cash.
  • Have you been walking dogs for long? You need to know how much experience this person has in walking dogs.
  • What training methods do you use? If their training methods do not dovetail with your own you might want to choose someone else.
  • Do you have the relevant licenses and insurance? A legitimate dog walking business is required to have a license and proof on insurance.
  • Are you able to deal with emergencies?
  • Are you trained and certified in canine first aid?

And finally, take the walker for a test walk:

Ask the walker if you can come along for the first walk.  Although they will obviously be on their best behavior you can still get an idea of how they interact with your dog and if your dog likes them.  See how they relate to your dog’s needs, for example, are they sensitive if your older dog needs to walk slowly?

Look to see if they are a good fit.  Look at your dog – how is their body language?  Do they look happy and comfortable with this person? Never feel rushed into making a decision, it is important that your dog feels happy and comfortable on his or her walk and that they are safe.

Dogs needs to be exercised every day in order to stay healthy.  This is essential for their physical and mental well-being so if you are unable to walk your dog daily you will need to find a suitable dog walker.

This can be a difficult decision because...

Animals Cool Stories

Study: Dolphins Form Friendships Based on Shared Interests

Just like humans, male dolphins have been shown to form long-lasting bonds and These ties are formed with those who have similar interests or traits.

It is well known that dolphins live in social groupings, known as pods, and carry out quite complex social interactions. However, this study is another indication of the level of intelligence they possess.

The international group of scientists from Australia, Switzerland and the UK studied dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia.  The particular pod of bottlenose dolphins has been observed before and it was discovered that the female pod members had developed a unique method of foraging using marine sponges in order to find food.

This behavior, known as sponging,  has not been seen outside this group and has been passed down from mother to calf.

Male Bonding

The scientists wanted to return to Shark Bay to look specifically at the behavior of the males in the group and studied 124 male bottlenose dolphins in their study which lasted from 2007 to 2015.

They found that some males used the sponging technique while others did not but those that did tend to associate with other sponging males.  They also spent more time foraging than the other males and less time sleeping.

It seems that, like the female dolphins, the males have formed social bonds based on the shared activity of sponging.

Another finding of the study is that the social alliances play a key role in the males’ mating success and that the bonds formed indicate, not only that the males can form social bonds based on similar traits, but also that these bonds can last for decades.

Just like humans, male dolphins have been shown to form long-lasting bonds and These ties are formed with those who have similar interests or traits.

It is well known that dolphins live in social groupings, known as pods, and carry out quite complex social...

Animals Earth Nature & Tech

A Swarm of Ladybugs in California That Shook the World!

The National Weather Service in San Diego said a huge “echo” appeared on the SoCal radar but discovered it was not rain, instead it was a cloud of ladybugs!  The swarm showed up on the California weather service’s radar map as an 80-mile-wide mass.

This is a phenomenon known as a “bloom”.  Meteorologist Miguel Miller said the bloom appeared on their screen as an amazing 80-miles wide and 80-miles long.  It seems the mass was moving from the San Gabriel Mountains toward San Diego.

The mass of ladybugs was seen moving from Barstow in San Bernadino County, 80 miles south of Riverside which is near Los Angeles.  It literally covered an area over 1,000 square miles.

Meteorologist Mark Moede from the weather service said ladybugs were everywhere and a weather spotter in the San Bernadino Mountains reported an abnormal population of ladybugs which was then linked by the weather service to the sighting.

Bugs, not Clouds!

Casey Oswant, San Diego weather service meteorologist, told the Palm Springs Desert Sun there were a lot of clouds at the time along with this massive bloom.

She said the size of the mass could not have been created by the clouds.  She followed the patch that was heading south in the morning and then disappeared from the screen by noon.  It is not known for certain where the ladybugs were traveling from.

Senior scientist at James W. Cornett Ecological Consultant believes the number of ladybugs needed to create such a massive movement would have turned the skies dark.

Whether this event happened or not, we are all relieved to know they were ladybugs!  Legend has it, if a ladybug lands on your shoulder, you are blessed with luck! Imagine a swarm of ladybugs this massive, that must be luck for a lifetime!

The National Weather Service in San Diego said a huge “echo” appeared on the SoCal radar but discovered it was not rain, instead it was a cloud of ladybugs!  The swarm showed up on the California weather service’s radar map as an 80-mile-wide...

Animals

Jellyfish Spinning After Getting Caught in Bubble Ring

Incredible footage shows the moment a jellyfish collides with a bubble ring off the coast of Menorca, Spain.

Footage captured on June 3 shows the jellyfish spinning after getting caught in the bubble.

Incredible footage shows the moment a jellyfish collides with a bubble ring off the coast of Menorca, Spain.

Footage captured on June 3 shows the jellyfish spinning after getting caught in the bubble.

Animals Vacation

How to Do Wildlife Tourism Right

Nearly all travelers love the thrill of getting up close and personal with animals – and the wilder they are, the better. However, what they often don’t consider is how these animals are treated in order to make animal encounters, such as elephant rides and photo ops with tigers, a reality.

The ethics of wildlife experiences is one of the many controversial issues covered in National Geographic magazine’s feature story “Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism.”

It’s not easy to figure out how to humanely observe animals, but one way you can assess the way a facility treats its animals is by referring to the standards recognized internationally in the “five freedoms” which were inspired by the U.K. in 1965. Here are some tips for how to go about viewing wildlife on your next venture.

Do your research

Research ahead of time to discover what facilities seem to care for their animals ethically. Just because a zoo has a high rating on TripAdvisor doesn’t mean that it’s humane. Read reviews to see if the animals have been well-fed and have access to clean water at all times.

Scan the space

When you’re at the facility, keep your eyes open and look around you to see what the space provides. Do the animals seem comfortable and happy? Are their environments appropriate? Do they have ample space, somewhere to get away from the crowds, and a comfortable resting area?

Watch out for buzzwords like “sanctuary” and “rescue,” especially if a facility is making these sorts of claims while also offering extensive interaction to large volumes of people. Most likely, it’s not true!

Look for red flags

Some things will be hard not to notice, like visibly injured animals or ones that have been cajoled into participating in entertaining activities that could be potentially harmful. Any time an animal that is meant to be wild is giving rides to the tourist is chained, or anything else unnatural to it, it’s just not right. Also, simply observe whether or not their enclosures are kept up and cleaned.

Tread lightly

Do your part in treating the animals with dignity. Large crowds and unnatural noises cause them distress, so be cautious and considerate while you are around them, especially those ones that have experienced some sort of trauma.

Keep it wild

Do your best to encourage and participate in experiences that take place in an animal’s natural environment.

It takes each of us to change the industry of global wildlife tourism. Every one of us that makes a conscious decision to only support facilities that treat their animals ethically helps to transform the industry for the better.

Nearly all travelers love the thrill of getting up close and personal with animals – and the wilder they are, the better. However, what they often don’t consider is how these animals are treated in order to make animal encounters, such as elephant rides...