TripAdvisor, which claims to be the biggest travel site in the world, says it will stop selling tickets to elephant rides, swims with dolphins, and other attractions that involve humans getting up close and personal with wild animals or endangered species, NPR reports. According to National Geographic, these kinds of attractions harm animals both physically and mentally, shortening their lives and leading to the capturing of more wild animals. World Animal Protection had been leading a protest of TripAdvisor for a year and a half over the issue. Prior to the announcement this week, TripAdvisor had claimed it wasn't its responsibility to influence the kinds of attractions users chose to support.
“TripAdvisor’s new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals," CEO Stephen Kaufer says in a statement. In addition to not selling tickets to certain attractions, TripAdvisor will be working with wildlife protection groups to educate users about the well-being of animals. “TripAdvisor’s leadership position in travel means we can help educate millions of travelers about the diverse opinions that exist on matters of animal welfare,” Kaufer says. TripAdvisor's policy change will go into effect in early 2017. The website will continue to sell tickets to attractions such as zoos, aquariums, animal sanctuaries, and horseback riding. (Read more TripAdvisor stories.)