Helping you make ethical and informed choices about captive wildlife tourism in South Africa

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Captive Wildlife Tourism Facilities in South Africa
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Supported (Acceptable) (37.6%)
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Not Supported (Unacceptable) (62.4%)

SEE THE LIST OF FACILITIES WITH SUPPORT RECOMMENDATIONS

CLICK HERE

About WildChoices

WildChoices is a non-profit company dedicated to improving the state of the captive wildlife tourism industry. We assist local and international tour operators, agents, and individual travelers to make informed choices about captive wildlife tourism facilities in South Africa.

Pledge Your Support

We are excited to announce our 2023 National Roadshow to raise awareness around captive wildlife tourism in South Africa. We’re thrilled to have Toyota SA on board as a sponsor with a new branded vehicle for the six  months. Our fundraising target to make this campaign a reality is R375,000, please pledge your support by clicking on the donate button below/above.

The WildChoices Support Recommendations (WSR)

Since its launch in March 2022, the WildChoices Support Recommendations (WSR) has provided the only comprehensive list of captive wildlife tourism facilities in South Africa and their support recommendations against industry standards of sound ethics and good practices. The WSR serves as a voluntary guideline for the industry, empowering tour operators, destination managers, agents, and both domestic and international tourists to make informed decisions when choosing which captive wildlife tourism facilities to support. Additionally, facility owners can use the WSR as a benchmark to evaluate their own operations and implement necessary changes.

The Assessment Process

WildChoices identifies the captive wildlife facilities in South Africa that offer tourist attractions and activities, including interactions and volunteer programs, and assesses them by applying the publicly available SATSA Captive Wildlife Attractions & Activities Guidelines and Decision Tool as the current tourism industry standard to publicly available information about the facilities and their activities.

The Tool is in the form of a Decision Tree that guides the user through the rapid assessment of a facility against a series of qualifying and disqualifying criteria. The assessment process results in one of three assessment outcomes based on the answers to the relevant questions the SATSA Decision Tool:

  • Support (Acceptable)
  • Support with Caution (Ask More Questions)
  • Avoid (Unacceptable)

The Problem

Only 37% of the 229 captive wildlife tourism facilities in South Africa, when assessed against industry standards based on sound ethics and good practices, fall into Support (Acceptable).

Our aim is to improve the situation by encouraging tour operators, travel agents, and domestic & international tourists to only support these facilities and to encourage facilities in Avoid (Unacceptable) to change their practices.

A Swiss Cheese Approach

The captive wildlife tourism space in South Africa is a complex problem. It’s unlikely that a single intervention will solve the problem, and we should rather see the solution as a Swiss cheese approach: each layer has imperfections; multiple layers improve success.

The SATSA Guidelines and Decision Tool is just one layer, designed with adoption by the tourism industry in mind. It drew a line in the sand in 2019 which represents the balance between the level of intervention and the degree of adoption by the industry, based on the knowledge gained through country-wide stakeholder engagement sessions during the development of the Guidelines and Tool. The application of additional layers (think welfare, any trade in animals, which is not illegal but regulated, individual beliefs and morals, etc.) will systematically disqualify more facilities, unless they change.

The Team

Meet the people behind WildChoices.