Families Asia Thailand Suggested Itinerary Elephants and the Sea 2

Responsible wildlife encounters - our approach to viewing and meeting wildlife

We are big supporters of activities that get families closer to nature, improve understanding of the world around us and get children excited about sustainability. Getting up close to animals such as elephants, big cats, monkeys. whales and dolphins is exciting and exhilarating, but unfortunately, there are ways of doing so that have increasingly put these animals' lives in danger.

Rear view of a blurred man taking photograph of group of elephants in Kruger National Park Indian Tiger Spotted Dolphins, Azores

Wild animals are just that - wild. Elephants, big cats and primates have never been domesticated in the same way as horses or dogs so even when they may appear tame, a great deal of the wild remains in their being. At Families Worldwide we believe all wildlife should be treated with dignity and respect, which is why we choose some animal activities over others.

On trips with Families Worldwide you'll still get the chance to meet elephants, track tigers in their natural habitat and see dolphins jump alongside the wake of your boat. However, we don't include visits to sanctuaries, tiger temples or elephant trekking centres.

Since Families Worldwide began, weve seen a greater recognition of the needs and rights of captive animals, but the number of animals being used for entertainment in the tourism industry has still increased. We've often found that these activities can be as traumatic for the families taking part as the poor animal being exploited. That's why we made the decision to promote only positive experiences for both our families and the animals they encounter.

That means no elephant riding, but instead you can visit a nature park where they rescue and rehabilitate elephants. There you'll watch feeding time and get to bathe the elephants. We'll take you to the best places to spot leopards in Sri Lanka and tigers at Ranthambore in India. The anticipation makes a sighting much more exciting than seeing one at a zoo. You can visit local centres we support that provide vital research into species, such as the Chengdu panda breeding centre in China and the Bukit Merah Orangutan foundation in Malaysia.

We're proud to always promote sustainable, ethical photographic safaris in national parks as the best way to see wild animals. If this option is not possible, we are happy to promote vetted establishments where you can meet and observe well treated, captive animals from the ground.

Please phone us on 01962 737 560 for more information.