Animal welfare is crucial to how we operate, not simply because we’re all empathetic human beings who wouldn’t like to see an animal suffer. A distressed animal will not exhibit its normal behavior, will not be willing to reproduce, and will make all our conservational efforts worth nothing.
Animal welfare helps us achieve the long-term goal
Our long-term goal is to promote biodiversity through education, breeding and release programs, and to ensure that your children and their children will still be able to see the same animals we see today.
The sadness would be unimaginable if our children were to learn about rhinos only through the Internet and books because they went extinct in our generation.
To prevent this terrible future from happening, animal welfare is implemented as it is crucial to our long-term success.
The Five Freedoms as the foundation of Animal Welfare
We understand that Animal Welfare has a far too broad definition and has been a controversial topic for a long time. To this day, there are still arguments on, for example, whether or not invertebrates have the capacity to feel suffering.
In Bali Safari Park, we have our own strict guidelines on how we treat wildlife and domestic animals, but one principle remains as the foundation – the Five Freedoms:
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by providing access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
- Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by preventing or rapid diagnosing and treatment.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
It’s a safari park, and you’re on safari!
While it’s true that the animals you see in Bali Safari Park live in enclosures, don’t forget the actual size of the enclosures.
In regular zoos, the enclosures are small enough that it’s possible to create glass walls or low fencing and trenches surrounding the enclosure. Guests can walk around the enclosure to see the animals from various angles.
In Bali Safari Park, the enclosure is too big for this. That is why we provide Safari Trams that drive into the enclosure so that you can observe the wildlife at a much closer distance and in a more natural environment than in a regular zoo.
Large enclosures ensure Freedom #4, the freedom to express normal behavior by giving the animals plenty of space.
Ethical training for animal presentations
Some animals are naturally intelligent and can understand basic cues to behave a certain way so that they receive rewards. For a moment, think about how you train your dog.
Your dog’s ancestors have evolved alongside human beings to provide our company and security, in exchange for the same thing – company and security. This symbiotic relationship between dogs and humans works.
Dogs (Canis lupus) don’t have to hunt and hide in dens during bad weather if humans provide food and shelter, which makes them happy. They learned that if they treat humans with respect, admiration and trust, they will receive the same in return.
In Bali Safari Park, we do not force any animal to behave outside of their comfortable range of behaviors. For example, elephants are naturally curious and can remember so many behavioral cues, just like dogs. They feel comfortable acting alongside our animal show actors, and they receive plenty of rewards for this.
To the elephants, the Elephant Show is like a fun side gig that they are comfortable doing, with extra benefits – the delicious elephant treats!
We are happy to answer any questions that you might have regarding animal welfare and ethical training. Feel free to ask our staff after every show. Come visit our elephants, tigers, and many more animals in our various educational shows!