A family of animal lovers? Here's how to go wild without endorsing animal cruelty, writes
1 Rabbit Island, Okunoshima, Japan
Some animal cafes in Japan do care about their creatures, and treat them well — but others don't. Take your tourist yen to Okunoshima instead, an island near Hiroshima, home to hundreds of free-range bunnies. A cute face for a dark secret; Okunoshima Island disappeared off maps pre-World War II when the Japanese government manufactured poisonous gases here.
These bunnies are protected today — so you can visit them on this historical site. Be aware, bunnies get tired too; catch the early JR Tadanoumi train and pay for the round-trip ferry in Tadanoumi port. Remember to get off at Okunoshima Port 1 when docking, and on at Okunoshima Port 2 when leaving.
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2 Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are, as Sir David Attenborough states; "a biological wonderland like no other". This remote archipelago off Ecuador is host to the largest concentration of endemic animals in the world; unique and varied wild creatures that are totally protected and just a tiny bit curious about you. To really explore the Galapagos, go by sea and go in spring. No mega cruise ships are allowed in the Galapagos and each vessel's path is carefully regulated for minimal environmental impact.
My five-day cruise was on
and two very lucky children joined us on that voyage. For me, and many others on board, the visits to the islands were life changing.
3 Hetta Huskies, Finland
How about a humane husky safari in a forested wonderland? These trips start from the company's base, 200km within the Arctic Circle, with single- or multi-day tours available. You can feel the love for the animals — the guides have amazing information about each and every dog. Hetta Huskies is "culturally, economically and environmentally responsible", with a long-term sustainability focus. Beautiful scenery and the perfect way to witness a true partnership between species.