March 3, 2023 is World Wildlife Day and also the 50th anniversary of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It’s a day to celebrate the wild animals of the world and conservation efforts taking place. But it’s also important to consider wildlife, oceans, forests, and our earth every day and keep raising awareness once the celebration is over. As a vegan travel writer I do not attend zoos, aquariums, or marine parks with captive wild animals and I don’t ride on animals or swim with them in captivity. I also do my best to leave as small a footprint as possible and am constantly inspired by what other people and companies are doing to save our earth and wildlife.
Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest travel company to be certified B-Corp, has been on the forefront of animal welfare issues for years and is a leader in responsible travel. They became the first tour company to put an end to elephant riding on all their trips and they help preserve the planet by planting forests in Kenya, are committed to protecting ecosystems, advocate for responsible tourism, and are a carbon-neutral business. I have traveled with Intrepid to Italy and Europe and they work directly with local guides and industry experts. Intrepid has launched 16 new trips for 2023 and reviewed all 140+ existing wildlife tours to ensure they continue to have only a positive impact on the environment and communities, while still allowing travelers to get close to nature and experience ethical wildlife adventures such as the ones mentioned below.
Rwanda Gorilla Naming Ceremony & Uganda
During your trek through the forests of Uganda you will get to spend a rare and certainly unforgettable hour in the presence of gorillas. Climb the muddy and rugged mountains and forests of Bwindi National Park with a local guide and trackers that will ensure there is minimal disturbance to the land and creatures living there. During this once in a lifetime experience you will watch gorillas happily play in the wild as the male silverback watches over them. The Rwanda Gorilla Naming Ceremony & Uganda tour includes exploring wildlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park and learning about the human-wildlife conflict and how it’s being addressed. Celebrate the centuries old tradition in Rwanda by attending a naming ceremony for baby gorillas born in Volcanoes National Park over the last year. This is an important celebration of conservation success and new life coming into the world.
A portion of this brand new Intrepid trip supports the work of The Gorilla Doctors and travelers will meet a field veterinarian during a private fireside chat at a lodge and learn about the crucial work they are doing.
Galápagos Island Hopping
Located in the Pacific Ocean, the islands of the Galápagos are considered one of the world’s leading destinations to view wildlife in their natural habitat. Part of the country of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Park situated in the Pacific Ocean. On Intrepid’s Galapagos Island Hopping tour, travelers will discover unbelievable wildlife on both land and sea. Watch adorable sea lions, giant tortoises, a huge assortment of birds, marine iguanas, and swim among sea turtles as you are safely led by an expert naturalist guide.
Explore the stunning archipelago via multiple boats, discover volcanic environments, hike over rocky terrain in search of wildlife, and go on snorkeling excursions. If you are in need of an electronic break, the Galápagos will help you detox from your phone and computer because Wi-Fi is not always available. Think of it as a blessing from the animals and use your downtime to rest, read a book, or contemplate the theory of evolution Charles Darwin style.
Comoros Wildlife Expedition
In August 2023 Intrepid is launching its first ever trip on the Comoros Islands. Located off the coast of Eastern Africa on a remote island paradise, wildlife and nature lovers will be in their true element learning about rare sea and land species such as green sea turtles, sharks, tropical fish, manta rays, humpback whales, lemurs and bats.
Wildlife experts, national park eco-guards, and local guides will explain the current conservation efforts and how locals and visitors can help protect these unique ecosystems. Depart from the capital city of Moroni and travel to Itsamia and Mwali, the island and surrounding waters that have been designated by UNESCO as Mwali Biosphere Reserve to protect marine diversity. Comoros Wildlife Expedition includes exploring tropical rainforests, unique hikes along streams in the mountains, visiting a ylang-ylang farm, meeting locals in small villages, and learning about the crucial role tourism plays in conservation.
In addition to Intrepid being a leader in responsible wildlife tourism, they are a partner of World Animal Protection and have an Animal Welfare Policy Toolkit to support other companies in ending the exploitation of wildlife in travel and entertainment.