One of the many problems with safari tourism has been made abundantly clear in a troubling video uploaded to Reddit.
The footage is supposedly shot at the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, with the opening seconds showing a grazing animal being hunted by a pack of big cats, most likely lions. A few safari vehicles dot the horizon, but all are keeping their distance as the tourists observe the action.
However, when the animal has been successfully caught by the pride of lions and they begin to feast, things take an upsetting turn.
The vehicles then start to move, with more and more entering the shot as they circle the animals.
Within seconds, the animals are entirely surrounded by open-top jeeps, and to make things worse, the vehicles start to honk their horns as they jostle for position to get their groups the best view possible.
The comments section was absolutely livid about what they had just witnessed.
“This is so gross on so many levels,” one user said.
“That is so depressing,” another Redditor observed, likely echoing the feelings of most people viewing.
In addition to being a horrendous invasion of the personal space of animals in their natural habitat, the fact the vehicles likely disturbed and destroyed the wild grasses and other flora while driving over the terrain is another grim consequence. Many creatures will rely on those plants for food.
While these visitors might think they are proving their love for animals by getting an up-close experience with them, they are doing more harm than good.
In the case of the prey, the presence of humans likely contributes to them becoming habituated, dulling their natural fear instincts that make them more vulnerable to predators. That could lead to overfeeding from predators, which could disturb the natural balance.
Humans getting too close to animals doesn’t just happen on safari, with many ill-advised close encounters in national parks all over the world having adverse effects for the animals that inhabit the area — with tourists putting themselves in danger, too.
Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.