Barnum's Animal Cracker Critters Set Free In New Box Design
After years of confinement behind bars, the circus animal mascots on Barnum's Animal Crackers box now roam free. Here are our suggestions on where to see wild animals in real life.
According to a report by The Washington Post, PETA had a hand in convincing Nabisco to redesign their Barnum's Animal Crackers Box to feature animals roaming wild and free instead of in circus cages.
The original packaging depicted images of what some people believe to be a bygone era of mistreatment of animals by traveling circuses. The Ringling Brothers faced public scrutiny in 2016 for their continued use of elephants during shows and ultimately ended their act altogether in 2017. PETA cites this as evidence of a nationwide push for more humane treatment of animals. According to NPR on the end of the circus, "The Feld family bought Ringling in 1967... The Felds say their existing animals — lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos and llamas — will go to suitable homes."
Getty / Michael Ochs Archives, FotoWare fotostation
LOS ANGELES,CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 15, 1957: A couple pose with an elephant at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
According to ABC News, Nabisco has changed the package design before, but only for limited editions. "In 1995, it offered an endangered species collection that raised money for the World Wildlife Fund. In 1997, it offered a zoo collection that raised money for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. And in 2010, it worked with designer Lilly Pulitzer on a pastel-colored box that raised money for tiger conservation."
If you are an animal lover who wants to enjoy wild creatures in their natural habitat, there are many humane and ethical opportunities around the world. Here are a few of our best suggestions:
Elephants are a very popular tourist attraction in South East Asia, but there's an ethical way to experience the gentle giants without causing headaches for the elephants or their owners.
Swimming with the dolphins in Hawaii is often of a big part of the traveler’s paradise dream, but is the practice really safe for animals? The answer might surprise you.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Thailand
This Asian elephant sanctuary in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai cares for orphaned, injured, and rescued elephants that cannot live in the wild. Guests can stay at the sanctuary for a night in a local family’s home. Then during the day they can bathe, feed, swim and interact with these intelligent animals (riding elephants is not allowed here). At the nearby Elephant Nature Park, visit for the day or spend the night in a traditional hut. Here you can also feed, bathe and interact with elephants. Want to help from home? Order Elephant Nature Park coffee and other items, the proceeds helping to fund the organization.
Walk With Donkeys Sanctuary, Greece
Glamp in the Greek countryside at Crete’s Walk with Donkeys Sanctuary. Help previously unwanted and abused donkeys by brushing, feeding and just hanging out with these sociable animals. Other volunteer duties include construction of stalls, cleaning, donkey walking and training, greeting visitors and helping with the olive harvest. Accommodations are in pet-friendly luxury tents with private bathrooms, and vegetarian meals are served. Longer volunteer stays are welcome in this remote area near the village of Ierapetra.
Surfing Turtle Lodge, Nicaragua
Enjoy laid-back island life while helping hatching olive ridley, leatherback and hawkbill turtles. The solar-powered Surfing Turtle Lodge relocates turtle nests to their newly expanded hatchery to protect against predators and poachers. When the babies are ready to be released, gloved guests can help them on their way. Beach tents and cabins are available, with a lounge and restaurant on site and WiFi in the common area. More volunteer opportunities, such as looking for fresh nests, are available; contact the lodge to discuss their needs and your skills.
Pacific Whale Foundation, Hawaii
Help keep Hawaii beautiful at Haleakala National Park and the typically off-limits areas in the Honokowai Valley. Pull invasive plants, clear ocean trails, restore sand dunes, clean up beaches, work on an organic farm and help restore wetlands with the Pacific Whale Foundation based in Wailuku. Transportation is provided for volunteers to projects of their choice, and points can be earned toward items in the gift shop. Afterward, take a whale-watching cruise or go snorkeling with a naturalist to learn about Hawaii’s humpback and other whale species, with proceeds going back to conservation group. Other volunteer opportunities include getting involved with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Sanctuaries volunteer programs throughout the country.
Animal Experience International, Worldwide
Animal Experience International is a Canadian B Corporation that matches guests with volunteer animal experiences around the world. Helping rehabilitate wildlife in Malawi, caring for rescued elephants in Thailand and participating in bat studies in Cuba are just a few of the animal-helping, cultural-emersion experiences available.
Wilderness Travel, Worldwide
Help collar giraffes with field biologists from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation or collect desert lion data with researchers in Namibia and track tigers and snow leopards with the Snow Leopard Conservancy of India with Wilderness Travel. Since 1978, this organization has been matching ecologically and culturally minded travelers with researchers around the globe. This partnership creates one-of-a-kind itineraries while helping to fund a variety of conservation studies and programs.
Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives
Combine the luxury of a Four Seasons Resort with conservation at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, where guests can work with scientists and conservationists to help rebuild the coral reef offshore. Participate in manta ray and whale shark research at the Marine Discovery Centre, watch for nesting sea turtles and other projects that benefit the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
Visit.org connects travelers with local cultural and environmental experiences around the world, bringing revenue to local animal care organizations such as Sierra Leone’s Rainforest Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Cambodia’s Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre and Peru’s Pilpintuwasi wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center that’s dedicated to the care and conservation of endangered animal species of the Amazon (pictured). By including these excursions on their itinerary, travelers help fund local conservation programs while enjoying cultural and off-the-beaten-path experiences.
Hilton Los Cabos, Mexico
Trained staff at Hilton Los Cabos patrols 10-miles of beach daily during olive ridley sea turtle nesting season and relocates nests to their protected corral that holds 300 nests. From July through November, guests can watch almost daily as hatchlings are released into the ocean. With certification from the Semarnat and Profepa Mexican environmental agencies, Hilton Los Cabos increases the hatchlings’ odds from 1/1,000 chance of surviving to adulthood to 1/100. Guest revenue funds the 20-year-old program.
Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, California
Guests staying at California’s Ojai Valley Inn and Spa can visit the Discover Ojai Center and get a 90-minute educational and interactive tour with several turtle species, including a Galapagos tortoise. A portion of each booking made at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa goes to The Turtle Conservancy, an organization created by businessman Eric Goode that helps protects turtles and their ecosystems worldwide through land acquisition, captive assurance colonies, illegal trade suppression, increased public awareness and research.