The TreadRight Foundation Emphasizes the Critical Role of the Travel Industry for Protecting Wildlife in New Short Film Featuring ‘Wildlife’ Ambassador, Ami Vitale

Ethical travel plays a critical role in protecting and rehabilitating wildlife around the world

  • 06:12 AM, 25 Aug, 2020

National Geographic photographer and TreadRight Wildlife Ambassador Ami Vitale  in Centennial Valley, Montana  


To highlight the power of sustainable travel in protecting wildlife around the world, The TreadRight Foundation has released a short film featuring its ‘Wildlife’ Ambassador and award-winning National Geographic photographer, Ami Vitale. In 2009, Ami Vitale’s journey as a photographer shifted to focus on the world’s most compelling wildlife and environmental issues, after shooting a powerful story on one of the world’s last living northern white rhinos. Travel has empowered Ami to share stories about the interconnectedness of humanity and the natural world. The short film is set in Centennial Valley, just outside of Yellowstone National Park, which is home to an abundance of diverse wildlife, and to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states. The video can be found on TreadRight’s YouTube channel here.

With the recent halt of travel resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous conservation efforts around the world which rely on travel and tourism have been jeopardized. Without international visitors to support the economy, local communities and the wildlife they protect all suffer. “As we start to travel again, it is critical that we take an active role in helping to protect wildlife and the ecosystems we share with them,” says Ami Vitale. TreadRight and Ami Vitale’s goal is to encourage travellers to make conscious choices that support the ethical treatment of wildlife and protect endangered populations. She urges travellers to do their research and choose travel companies that put animal welfare at the forefront.

Protected areas around the world such as national parks ensure the safeguarding of many species while providing an opportunity for travellers to connect with nature and view wildlife in the wild. With travel slowly resuming, those seeking to explore the beautiful landscapes of our planet can visit them through The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, which exist to connect travellers to the natural world in an accessible way. Yellowstone National Park, for instance, is featured in multiple TTC brand itineraries, including Trafalgar’s 15-day Scenic Parks Explorer journey, Insight Vacations' 8-day American Parks Trail and Contiki’s 9-day National Parks Plus adventure, among others.

Seeing wildlife in its natural habitat is a profound experience that many seek out when looking to book travel experiences. “It’s extremely important to ensure that all experiences on our trips put the well-being of wildlife under human care first, but also to ensure that travellers are equipped with the do’s and don’ts of animal encounters, both domesticated animals as well as those in the wild,” says Shannon Guihan, Chief TreadRight and Sustainability Officer.  

To further support a travel industry free of animal cruelty, in June 2020,  The Treadright Foundation strengthened its Animal Welfare Policy, first launched in 2015 in cooperation with World Animal Protection. The policy, available in full on TreadRight’s website, guides TTC’s family of brands when selecting wildlife experiences for itineraries. Based on the latest science-based framework for assessing animal welfare, the Five Domains Model, it enforces the vetting and assessing of sanctuaries, private reserves, and other wildlife venues across the world. The policy is part of TreadRight’s ongoing efforts in its ‘Wildlife’ pillar, which aims to protect and rehabilitate the planet’s wildlife while also educating guests on ethical wildlife experiences. TreadRight and TTC are committed to ensuring all wildlife experiences on their trips meet this Animal Welfare Policy by 2021.

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