Avatar photo

By Citizen Reporter


Safaris are causing wild animals stress – study

Humans coming too close to wildlife can lead to aggravated behaviour from the animals.

New research has lifted the lid on the impact of safari tours on wildlife and it’s not good news.

According to a study conducted by Isabelle Szott of Liverpool John Moores University in South Africa, tourists on safari are damaging elephants’ health, scaring them, stressing them out, and making them more violent towards people and each other.

“Tourists who wish to observe animals in their natural habitat should be aware of their potential negative effects on animal welfare,” Szott explained.

Szott, whose research was published in the Journal of Zoology, said elephants at waterholes often experienced frustration and stress, while also potentially becoming targeted by other herd members, all this combined with the encroaching presence of safari vehicles led to an increase in the risk of aggression towards people in vehicles.

“We suggest a consistent minimum distance from the nearest individual, especially upon first approach, should be introduced to guidelines for wildlife viewing to alleviate the potential for conflict,” she said.

“Wildlife tourism should not in itself cause an issue if conducted according to strict codes of conduct regulating how elephants should be viewed, such as safe-distance observation.”

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Read more on these topics

elephants environment Safari study

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits