Can you still call this ecotourism?
The sad fact is that the human race, being the ultimate predators, has - and will in the future, until we make our beautiful planet totally uninhabitable - caused so much devastation of our wildlife and environment that I cannot see much hope for the future.
Some world leaders, such as Tony Blair and his Government and the EU, make bland statements about what we need to do to save our planet yet, at the same time, they continue to support those companies whose activities help to cause Global Warming - and the resultant loss of biodiversity - because the companies pay taxes which contibute to the National GPB
I agree Cerinthe
I perfectly understand that the environment needs the money from tourism to survive. I'm not that naive to think that it is possible to exclude money from any equation. Sometimes I just wish there was a better solution, but I know there isn't any.
And I know that what ppl frown on today is tomorrow the acceptable norm, to give you an example. Today they will allow 2 cars at a sighting, tomorrow it will be 4 and the day after it will be 8 and so on. Ppl keep on broadening the boundaries and that I do not want to accept. It is all going too fast.
Thanks Fani that was interesting to read. I think that a huge chunk of the game reserves are off road also - so many animals live peacefully. I agree too Cerinthe that we must mitigate and try to lead by example ..... but some times you can talk until you are blue in the face .......
On the stretch of road between Skukusa and Lower Sabi in the Kruger National Park, there was a troop of baboons nicknamed "The Hitchhikers" People were feeding them and they were becoming agressive and climbing into the vehicles. Sign were everywhere warning that these baboons were in danger of being destroyed as they were now a threat to the visitors. People still fed them.
Here in Greece ecoturism is something so confused...It means : let's sell our environment ...Nothing else...
And we haven't to wait something more....But there are two aspects that you have to think...I'll give you an example ...
Dadia forest is one of the few (very few) areas in Europe that you can see all four vultures together ...and a place where a big variety of raptors nest...There was a very poor vilage there (Dadia) People lived mainly on cutting the trees of the nearby forest..WWF tried to establish a feeding place for the vultures and started an ecoturism program...European community payed for that....After twenty years the village isnt poor ...young people stay there and can find jobs..Hundreds of people visit the area...But nothing is the same like before twenty years...the deterioration of the enviroment becouse of so many people visiting the area is obvious to me ...and I will never visit it again....because it brings a lot of pain... This is not ecotourism ...it's mass tourism...BUT can you imagine what woud have happened to the forest if villagers continued cutting the wood....Ecoturism saved the old trees with the nests of raptors ...in fact save all the forest and at same time the environment of the vultures and eagles
As you can understand there is a point of balance between benefits and loses and it's difficult to tell what to do or not
My opinion is that some areas must be totally protected ...even from ecotourism...I think in Dadia forest there is an area where none can penetrate by car or camp and so on...Villagers had never accepted that if they hadnt profits...(and I can assure you that this is the worst thing here... When authorities tried to protect an area the nearby villagers go inside and destroy everything, putting on fires ...killing the animals and so on and this is the most devastating thing I have ever seen and I have seen it many times)
Unfortunatelly this is the only area here where such a program is running...all the other "protected areas' looks even worse...and many have already lost the charasterisics that made them important
I dont know what exactly happens in Canada or in South Africa...but I think in most cases ecotourism (at least what they call ecotourism) protects ecosystems from other maybe worse threats...and it depends on scientists, ecologists and authorities to find the point of balance....Tourism is an industry ...dont wait from them something more...it's the authorities that must put the rules...like all the other bussines in our life
To learn to respect nature ..it isnt easy...simply "ecotourism" or "I love to watch animals" will not change anything...it needs more and more...
Just try to think that Cerinthe
How many times have you seen pics like that you sent above....but instead of a bear an excausted bird that had the 'idea' to land somewhere away the usual and around it hundreds of birdwatchers and other sensitive about environment europeans clicking on their cameras !!!!
Try to think it when you will visit tomorrow Lac de ....(lol I cant remember it) ...And try to enjoy it as much as you can...(just think that maybe cranes was enxtincted from Europe if there werent the birdwatchers )
Now I hope you can understand what I'm trying to tell...LOL I will appreciate if you correct my mistakes above... :roll:
Certainly that's Ecotourism, both examples above and we need to be grateful for it. Since the end of apartheid the number of foreign tourists visiting the KNP has increased a 100 fold, some million foreign tourists annually + another million locals. Why grateful for the traffic jams in this supossed peaceful park ? Simple, money.
The KNP generates Billions of Rands in reveune, and is the only reason South Africa's other 20 National Parks are able to exist.
Wilderness areas and the game that populates them no longer (if ever ?) have an intrinsic right to exist in our society, they should above much else, but don't. I attended the world's first EcoTourism conference in 1996 and the several hundred delegates mostky agreed o the following
If the Game can Pay then the Game can Stay.
It's been the guiding principle ever since.
About 10 miles south of Satara there is a bridge. We often crossed it, I always looked. This particular day I spotted a lioness. She had a tiny cub in her mouth which she deposited in a bush; she left and about 15 minutes later came back with another cub.
A car had pulled up behind us and saw her with the second cub.
More and more cars arrived and pretty soon we were totally blocked in and unable to leave. Eventually people started getting out of their vehicles and walking up to where they could get a better view. You couldn't see the cubs without binoculars but we could hear them and I could just make out the lioness licking them.
She became quite preturbed about all the vehicles, we could tell she was anxious. Eventually she proceeded to move her cubs again.
Meanwhile on the bridge ... arguments were breaking out. There was no road for through traffic. People who had a ways to go were getting cross. There was no way we could remove ourselves from this mess.
I will never forget seeing those cubs, but I was so worried that she had to move them again because we interfered with her. We counted about 50 vehicles backed up way off the bridge.
There were a lot of people who wanted to go .... and leave her be .... but also quite a few that didn't ....... I think we walk a very fine line between "tourism" and "eco" tourism.
Not in my opinnion.
The word "Ecotourism" is often misused. It has become a marketing tool to promote tourism.
I looked up the meaning of "Ecotourism" on the internet. Here is what I found on the website of The International Ecotourism Society (http://www.ecotourism.org)
"Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."
Ecotourism is about connecting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel.
This means that those who implement and participate in responsible tourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:
* minimize impact
* build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
* provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
* provide direct financial benefits for conservation
* provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people
* raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate