Do Ethical Considerations Affect Your International Travel Plans?

African Elephant, Amboseli National Park, Kenya. © Melissa Groo

African Elephant, Amboseli National Park, Kenya. © Melissa Groo

Do ethical consideration every effect your willingness to travel to certain countries? Should they?

I often make the mistake of believing that humanity’s consciousness has increased along with access to information and ever-increasing educational opportunities. However, this is not the case, and nothing exemplifies that more than the alarming/horrific increase in illegal poaching of wild elephants in recent years (recent years!).

A 14-year study conducted by Save The Elephants, a Kenya-based conservation organization, found that the proportion of elephants that were illegally killed doubled in the last three years of the study. By 2011, 56 % of the elephants were dying at the hands of poachers.

Where are these ivory tusks shipped after being sliced off these majestic creatures? China is popular, and according to this article published on, the trade there is unlikely to end. What nature lovers deem unacceptable is good business to ivory traders.

“To the outrage of conservation groups trying to stop the slaughter of African elephants and the embarrassment of Chinese law enforcement agencies, Xing’s thriving ivory business is just one drop in a trail of blood that stretches from Africa, by air, sea and highway, to Chinese showrooms and private collections.”

Worse, “Asian demand, he wrote, required about 220 tons of raw ivory – equalling the lives of roughly 20,000 elephants – every year.”

What do you think? Is the Chinese government doing enough to curb the trade? How can travelers shed light on this subject?

Check out the resources below.






Laura Kammermeier

Laura Kammermeier is the creator and managing editor of Nature Travel Network. She is a writer, website producer, traveler, birder and a birding/nature travel consultant. Laura has traveled Uganda, Europe, Ecuador, Belize, Honduras, Israel, and throughout the United States Read More

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