For many travellers, some of the most interesting experiences comes from interacting with animals and wildlife that they don't have in their home country. Especially if you live in a large city, your daily interactions with animals probably go as far as your own pet or unluckily crossing paths with a raccoon or small rodent. All over the world, there's vast variety in the types of animals birds, mammals and water creatures you'll see inhabiting a particular area. For some travellers, these interactions are a deciding factors for their trip - like those who travel to the Galapagos Islands with the intent of swimming side by side with dolphins in addition to appreciating the beauty of the region. So how does one do that? In most cities, there's usually a local zoo where tourists and locals alike can get just a little bit closer to wildlife in a way that doesn't endanger them at all. There are, however, much more than just this one option. Animal Sanctuary Animal sanctuaries tend to make the animals much more comfortable than zoos, and provide them a large space to live out the rest of their lives. These sanctuaries closely mimic a natural habitat, and provide a protected space for each of the animals. You can often learn plenty of information about each of the animals as well, as these sanctuaries are usually staffed with knowledgable caretakers. They provide an engaging environment that allows you to get closer to the animals in a way that doesn't put either of you in danger. Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Wildlife rehabilitation centers are great places to not only learn about the animals within them, but also understand the problems facing a particular species. As centers like that rely heavily on the work of volunteers, a visit can truly open your eyes to the work being done; especially in regions with lots of endangered animals.
Head Into NatureIt's important to treat this option with some caution, as depending on where you go you may actually be in harm's way or disrupting the ecosystem around you. If you know an animal to be particularly dangerous, exercise caution and take more of an observational stance instead of trying to directly interact. In some areas, designated caretakers will be present when you interact with, swim or play with certain animals; like those along beaches who help travellers swim alongside different animals safely. Like any activity you plan for your trip, check ahead to see the types of options that will be available to you in terms of seeing wildlife on your journey and don't be afraid to check out options other than the local zoo. As always, be sure to be well-prepared and packing using one of our Rise Gear bags. Happy Travels!