Brazilian kids create a brighter future for animals in the Amazon
We've been working with local schools in a popular destination in the Amazon, to highlight the importance of sustainable tourism for wildlife
Vila São Pedro is a wildlife selfie trade hotspot. Many tourists travel to the region – and other Amazon communities near Manaus in Brazil – to take selfies with wild animals. Many sloths and other Amazonian animals are stolen from the wild and kept in captivity by local residents and tour operators so they can sell photo opportunities to tourists.
That’s why we're working with schools in Vila São Pedro.
How do kids play a role in sustainable wildlife tourism?
The tourism industry and the demand for animal selfies causes clear harm to the species taken from the wild to entertain tourists. But this dangerous trend also causes kids to leave school during the high season.
During our work in the area, it's become clear that many tourists prefer to take pictures of animals in the hands of children. This means many local kids decide to leave school.
How we're helping
To counter this practice, our consultants and community teachers have developed a range of educational activities. Over a three-month period, we educated students in the area about animal welfare, species behaviour, biology, ecosystems and nature conservation.
Importantly, the students also learned about sustainable tourism.
The 350 incredible children we taught in Vila São Pedro have become our "Wildlife Leaders” and now they're helping to create a better future for animals. To celebrate the work of these kids, four artists from Manaus visited Vila São Pedro and painted a large mural on the wall of the community’s Jovino Coelho School.
The kids also recently presented to the community about what they had learned about tourism with animals, Amazon species and the need to protect animals.
Our local consultant, Renata Ilha said: "Now our project is marked on the school walls and in the students' minds. The future of the Amazon is bright because these children will be the individuals of change."
Vila São Pedro is the first community to commit to the protection of animals in its region. These kids can play a key role in ending the cruel exploitation of animals for tourist pictures. We’re encouraging more local communities in the Amazon to follow the excellent example shown by these "Wildlife Leaders" and pledge to give wild animals a better future.
Sign up to the Wildlife Selfie Code now and commit to cruelty-free selfies. Together, we can help keep wild animals in the wild where they belong.