iZoo solves wildlife worries
By Justin Francis, CEO Responsible Travel

Responsible Travel became the first travel company to drop zoos altogether in April 2017. An independent survey was later conducted on the 12th and 13th April investigating people’s opinions surrounding zoos. The results, from 1,000 participants, revealed two huge disparities between public perception and zoos’ approaches to animal welfare and conservation:

Responsible Travel zoo campaign

  • Almost 90 percent of visitors to zoos were concerned that many animals held in captivity were adversely affected by this and showed signs of extreme stress.
  • 84 percent of zoo visitors were either ‘surprised’ or ‘very surprised’ that zoos spent just 3 percent of their profits on conservation.

We believe that the survey results predict the end of zoos, and create a new demand for the iZoo concept. Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel, says:

”Zoos remind me of SeaWorld which spent a couple of years after the release of the documentary Blackfish (2013) denying they had a problem and promising 'bigger tanks.' Two years on, SeaWorld have suffered a calamitous decline in sales; seen their share price collapse and been sued by their shareholders; have been forced to stop breeding orcas (meaning the current shows will be the last); and have been sold by their long term owners.”

Orca show at Seaworld
Shamu show at SeaWorld. Photo by Josh Hallett.

iZoo is a more humane way to raise funds for conservation. The animal welfare issues seen in today’s zoos will be solved instantly. No animals will be held in captivity unless they are genuinely endangered and in carefully managed breeding programs. Currently, only 10 percent of animals held in captivity are endangered.

The concerns around conservation will also be taken into account. The running costs of iZoo will be a fraction of today’s zoos and allow for a 10 percent donation of revenues to field conservation projects – more than triple the current percentage. Virtual reality will immerse people in wild habitats, educate about real life behaviours and deliver a better education into conservation than existing zoos. Donations made by iZoo will be transparent; all visitors will learn about the positive impacts their money is having on conservation.

Responsible Travel pitched the iZoo concept to Tim Cook, Apple CEO, in an open letter as a means to showcase new technologies and to engage people in conservation. Over the next five years, we believe the iZoo concept will become a reality. We have these amazing resources at our fingertips that render zoos in their present form outdated. This is an exciting opportunity to solve the problem of zoos.
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