Of Black Alpine pigs and spectacled bears: what hotels do to protect animals

Hotels that promote animal protection? In sustainable enterprises this is not unusual, since environmental protection as well as social commitment are important aspects of sustainability. What is done to achieve these goals varies from hotel to hotel and each one has different priorities. Depending on the location and situation, some focus on a responsible water management, others support social projects – and some dedicate themselves to the protection of endangered species or the ethical treatment of animals. We want to share some examples of this commitment with you.

Happy Alpine pigs

© Berghotel Rehlegg

The Black Alpine pig had almost become extinct. In Bavaria, there weren’t any specimens of this animal breed since 1907. However, in the pigpen of one of the associate farmers of the Berghotel Rehlegg, by now about 40 small and big Alpine pigs are frolicking around. Everything began when the hotel’s owners Hannes and Franz Lichtmannegger attended a seminar on pig breeding. They learned about some farms that fed the animals to 100 kilograms in 20 weeks and wanted to do things differently. Since then, they have been cooperating with local farmers that keep animals according to their needs. Finally, the animal protection organization Pro Patrimonio Montano entrusted them with six Black Alpine piglets that are now in the care of the Lichtmanneggers’ associate farmers.

Robust outdoor piglets

© Berghotel Rehlegg

The owners of the Berghotel Rehlegg wanted to find an original breed for their project. In former times, Black Alpine pigs were very widespread on the mountain pastures. Their dark bristles make them resistant to sunburn and major temperature fluctuations – unlike their pink relatives. That is why Black Alpine pigs are able to spend a large part of the year outside, living on fresh grass. Due to this very original way of keeping, the animals grow very slowly, but the Lichtmanneggers accept this gladly.

A useful flock of sheep

© Schloss Wartegg

At the Swiss eco-hotel Schloss Wartegg, situated in a historic castle, Imelda Senn and Richard Butz pursue a similar approach. To vivify the castle’s historic park, they decided to acquire a flock of an endangered kind of sheep, the “Bündner Oberländer Schaf“ that is very similar to the original form of sheep and has been nearly extinct. In the park of Schloss Wartegg, there is enough space for these animals and they are roaming the lawn between spring and autumn. A positive side effect: The grazing sheep make lawn mowing completely dispensable. This is sustainable indeed.

A NGO for species protection

© pixabay

In order to research and preserve local flora and fauna, the Inkaterra hotel group has even founded a NGO: Inkaterra Asociación (ITA). One of its many projects is a rescue center for the so called spectacled or Andean Bears, established on the property of Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel. At the rescue center, they take in specimens of this endangered species that have been hold in captivity and in many cases have been treated very badly. Wherever possible, they prepare them for being reintegrated into their wild habitat. In this way, the rescue center also contributes to the preservation of the local eco-system, as spectacled bears mainly eat fruit. Due to the pollen that catch in their fur and the seeds that they excrete, the animals living in the wild contribute to the dispersion of various species of flora.

Joint efforts for the protection of marine life

© Reethi Beach Resort

Reethi Beach Resort on the Maldives is dedicated to the protection of marine life. To counter the decline of the shark population in the area, it launched the Baa Atoll Project, a union of all resorts and dive centers in the Baa Atoll, in 2007. Together they managed to achieve the prohibition of shark fishing and shark product trade. Subsequently, they have also dealt with numerous other topics. For example, island resorts such as Reethi Beach provide financial and organizational support for the retraining of people who have formerly been working in the shark fishing industry. In this way, the Baa Atoll Project is not only committed to environmental protection, but it also accepts its social responsibility for the inhabitants of the Maldives.