Her audience has exploded to more than 80,000 followers worldwide. Alla Azovtseva, a longtime dolphin trainer in Russia, shakes her head. When you’re in America, everyone is smiling.” But he appreciates that the facility is at their hotel, so they can watch the dolphins being fed and cared for. Thailand is a place where people from all age groups can enjoy. The venue is so intimate that even the cheapest seats, at nine dollars apiece, are within splashing distance. Thailand has some 3,800 captive elephants. Please help us improving our species range maps. What many don’t know is that EcoValley’s seemingly carefree elephants are brought here for the day from nearby Maetaman—and that the two attractions are actually a single business. After Stephanie's elephant picnic, I watch her edit the day’s hundreds of photos. Quite a few parks are reopening this month. Captive orcas, which can grow to 20 feet long and more than 10,000 pounds, are too big for the traveling shows that typically feature dolphins and belugas. It looks like a children’s bouncy castle that’s been drained of its color. She selects an image with her favorite elephant, Bo. James Regan says what he saw in Blackfish upset him. Regan, honeymooning in Hawaii with his wife, Katie, is from England, where the country’s last marine mammal park closed permanently in 1993. The popularity of these photo-friendly attractions reflects the disconnect around dolphin experiences: People in the West increasingly shun shows that feature animals performing tricks, but many see swimming with captive dolphins as a vacation rite of passage. Of all the silently suffering animals I saw in pools and pens around the world, two in particular haunt me: an elephant and a tiger. Many animals don’t have tear ducts. Visitors can stroll through an open-air museum and learn about Thailand’s national animal. Any Thai will shout, CHANG! Many travelers, unaware of the training the elephants endure, view such picturesque experiences as the highlight of their trip. Another day in the same forest, Kirsten and I join 12 young women who have nearly identical Instagram accounts replete with dreamy photos of models caressing owls and wolves and foxes. Another very interesting set of photo contest results. Yes, Chang or elephant is declared as the national animal of Thailand. In Thailand we also saw American men bear-hug tigers in Chiang Mai and Chinese brides in wedding gowns ride young elephants in the aqua surf on the island of Phuket. But elephants getting baths, like those that give rides and do tricks, will have been broken to some extent to make them obedient. Hands-on wildlife encounters are popular in the region. “Westerners enjoy bathing because it looks happy and natural,” she says. Snap: The bear looks as if he’s smiling. Social media adds to the confusion: Oblivious endorsements from friends and trendsetters legitimize attractions before a traveler ever gets near an animal. It contains some superb images and showcases Thailand's incredible bio-diversity including mammals, birds, arthropods, wild cats and underwater images. And, she says, Meena the elephant’s behavior has gotten better since her mahout started using the spiked chain. Birds, reptiles, and amphibians all have pain receptors. The easiest way to narrow down the ID of Thailand's Macaque species, 5 days in Pang Sida National Park with just rain and fog for company, SIte members camera trap one of Thailand's rarest mammals in KKNP, The Clouded Leopard, mysterious, rarely seen but soooo beautiful, Paul T tries out the new Laowa 24 mm macro lens on a small spittle bug, A tribute to our late good friend Robby Lee and his epic travel guides, Its now the best time of year for those elusive sightings of leopards, Information and discussion from Thailand's largest national park. In a forest outside Moscow, Stepan, a 26-year-old brown bear and social media star, sits between an angel-wing-clad model and his owner, Svetlana Panteleenko. Twice as many trips are being taken abroad as 15 years ago, a jump driven partly by Chinese tourists, who spend far more on international travel than any other nationality. Both 33, they’ve been best friends since childhood. Siriyupha Chalermlam, 16, rests with her daughter, Joy, outside Joy’s father’s family home in Ban Ta Klang, where the family raises elephants for a living. At the moment, she’s training pilot whales to perform tricks at Moscow’s Moskvarium, one of Europe’s largest aquariums (not connected to the traveling dolphin shows). Her paintings are then sold to tourists. They argue that these animals have evolved to swim great distances and live in complex social groups—conditions that can’t be replicated in the confines of a pool. They watch as mahouts goad their elephants—some of the most intelligent animals on the planet—to throw darts or kick oversize soccer balls while music blares. In China, which has no national laws on captive-animal welfare, dolphinariums with wild-caught animals are a booming business: There are now 78 marine mammal parks, and 26 more are under construction. Creating awareness of the wonderful natural Thailand around us. Some belugas are sold legally to aquariums around the country. Sitting next to me is 20-year-old Stephanie, who asked not to use her last name. Many of the numerous scratches on the dolphin’s skin are from brushes with other dolphins vying for bait. Activities once publicized mostly in guidebooks now are shared instantly with multitudes of people by selfie-taking backpackers, tour-bus travelers, and social media “influencers” through a tap on their phone screens. A four-year-old elephant just stands there in the rain, her leg jerking in the air. As recently as a decade ago, scientists had collected more evidence that fish feel pain than they had for neonatal infants. Most tourists who enjoy these encounters don’t know that the adult tigers may be declawed, drugged, or both. What people don’t know about many aquarium shows in Russia, Azovtseva says, is that the animals often die soon after being put in captivity, especially those in traveling shows. To add a new location to the range map we need a clear image of the specimen you have encountered. “It was my dream,” she says as she fidgets with her hair, which had been styled that morning. But we know that animals feel pain. The show’s four bears wear metal muzzles, and their trainer, Yulia Denisenko, carries a metal rod. Families take their seats around a small pool. But the first thing I notice is the elephants. Last December, authorities rescued 22 animals from the town. On her day off, we meet at a café near Red Square. She posts it at 9:30 p.m.—the time she estimates the largest number of her followers will be online. EcoValley’s guest book is filled with praise from Australians, Danes, Americans—tourists who often shun elephant camps such as Maetaman because the rides and shows make them uneasy. National parks are protected areas of land because they have unspoilt landscapes and a diverse number of native plants and animals. There has been some recognition of social media’s role in the problem. They lived in the same facility, Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo, about 15 miles south of Bangkok. And Azovtseva—making clear she’s referring to the industry at large in Russia and not the Moskvarium—says she knows many aquariums quietly and illegally replace their animals with new ones. In Ban Ta Klang, Thailand, a trainer directs a young elephant to practice a handstand. To be precise, she’s a painter. I meet him at Dolphin Quest Oahu, an upscale swim-with-dolphins business on the grounds of the beachfront Kahala Hotel & Resort, just east of Honolulu. In the parking lot of the Torgoviy Kvartal shopping mall, next to a hardware store, is a white inflatable pop-up aquarium: the Moscow Traveling Dolphinarium. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- The Panteleenkos say they bought him from a small zoo when he was three months old. Both had irrefutable signs of suffering: The emaciated elephant had a bent, swollen leg hanging in the air and a large, bleeding sore at his temple. Out past the pool, elephants roam in a lush valley. They say the bear’s work—a constant stream of photo shoots and movies—provides money to keep him fed. The owners toss grapes to Stepan to get him to open his mouth wide. Gluay Hom was still alive, still standing in the same stall, leg still bent at an unnatural angle. Using a bullhook on its ear, they teach the baby to move: left, right, turn, stop. Please post your images to our Thai Species Identification Help group on Facebook. It’s a vigorous debate: whether even places with high standards, veterinarians on staff, and features such as pools filled with filtered ocean water can be truly humane for marine mammals. Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.” > Robb Sagendorph. He’s wrenching his head back and forth and thrashing his trunk around. The shows are the domestic arm of a brisk Russian global trade in dolphins and small whales. Katie protests: “Stop making my dream a horrible thing!”. Rae Stone, president of Dolphin Quest and a marine mammal veterinarian, says the company donates money to conservation projects and educates visitors about perils that marine mammals face in the wild. Snap: A photo goes to her Instagram feed. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2019/06/global-wildlife-tourism-social-media-causes-animal-suffering.html. The easiest way to narrow down the ID of Thailand's Macaque species. Or that there are always cubs for tourists to snuggle with because the cats are speed bred and the cubs are taken from their mothers just days after birth. Once separated, the baby is confined. Barantseva has been photographing people and wild animals together for six years. Not all wildlife tourism entails going to exotic destinations: Traveling shows bring marine animals to people in small cities throughout Russia. Their selfies—of swims with dolphins, encounters with tigers, rides on elephants, and more—are viral advertising for attractions that tout up-close experiences with animals.

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