Eco-tour

virus from human tourists harm gorillas and chimpanzees

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 04, 2008

 
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Ecotourism- Impact on wildlife

The latest environmental issue attributed to eco-tourists is a massive threat to an already endangered species. It appears that the tourists may be passing potentially deadly diseases to the great apes they spend so much money to view in the wild.

Every year the economies of African nations receive a boost from wealthy tourists willing to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for the chance to get up close and personal with majestic gorillas and chimpanzees. But new evidence has come to light suggesting that humans are infecting the apes with deadly respiratory viruses.

The first direct evidence linking human contact to disease deaths of great apes was found in the Ivory Coast. Chimpanzees at the West African nation’s Tai chimpanzee research station were killed by human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) and human metapneumovirus (HMPV).

This throws a wrench into the eco-tourism equation. Tourist money has undoubtedly had a positive impact on both the economies of desperately poor African nations and the situation of endangered great apes. Eco-tourism helps fund conservation projects and has reduced poaching by making the animals more valuable alive and in their natural habitat than they would be dead. However, an outbreak of a virus carried by an unwitting eco-tourist could potentially wipe out an entire community of apes, which could drive the endangered species toward extinction.

Scientists have proposed that all humans in close contact with the animals be forced to wear a mask. The mask rule would have to apply to all eco-tourists, as most people would be completely unaware that they were carrying a deadly virus. The viruses generally have no symptoms in humans. Conservationists also want to increase the distance that must be kept between human and ape. Currently, tourists must stand at least seven metres from the animals, but there are calls to increase that to 10 metres.

Source: Guardian Unlimited
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/feb/03/conservation.endangeredspecies?gusrc=rss&feed=environment

Eco-tour

Conservation and tourism

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 13, 2007

 
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According to the International Ecotourism Society, the market for conservation-oriented tourism continues to grow; in 2004, worldwide ecotourism and nature tourism were growing three times faster than the tourism industry as a whole.

The popularity of nature-based travel led the United Nations to hold a World Ecotourism Summit and declare 2002 the International Year of Ecotourism. More than 55 million Americans are interested in sustainable travel, which protects both environment and culture, according to a study by the Travel Industry Association of America sponsored by National Geographic Traveler.

Source: http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/travel/17journeys.html

 

Eco-tour

Trek on foot!

Posted by Susan Sharma on November 24, 2007

 
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Trek on Foot!

Long-distance hiking is incredibly romantic — the idea of spending weeks
or months at a time in some of the most beautiful backcountry areas in the
world is almost universally appealing, especially when contrasted to the
fluorescent lights, traffic jams, and overwhelming email inboxes of modern
life. But long-distance newbies need to realize that the reality of
long-distance hiking is not always pleasant: you can’t just “float” by like
you can in “the real world” — there are always miles to be walked, stormy
weather to fend off, fatigue and soreness to treat, discomforts to cope
with, etc. You have to earn the “Beautiful moments” — the sunsets, wildlife
encounters, 12,000-foot ridgewalks, and trail magic from generous locals.
If you understand the work-to-reward ratio of long-distance hiking, and if
you’re okay with it, you’ll have much more success and you’ll enjoy yourself
much more.

For new trekkers:
1. Familiarise yourself with all that you can read about the place.
2. Read trip reports by others
3. Develop skills, become more familiar with your gear and
maps/guidebook, and understand better the terrain and weather. Ideally go
with a more experienced backpacker who can transfer knowledge they have
learned from others and from their trials and errors.

 

Eco-tour

Asia-Pacific Ecotourism Conference

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 16, 2007

 
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Marine resources and environment protection in India has a long way to go.  Our neighbouring countries can provide case studies and success stories which can be a great learnng experience for our marine scientists and conservationists.

The 5th Asia Pacific EcoTourism Conference (APECO) is taking place in Terengganu, Malaysia on 27th and 28th October this year. The theme is Marine Ecotourism: Best Sustainable Practices and Success Stories. The Conference will address these challenging issues and learn how to manage marine ecotourism through sustainable practices particularly in the Asia Pacific region.  The conference also has special sessions on conservation of marine resources.

The details of the conference are avavilable at
http://www.apeco2007.com/
 

 

Eco-tour

Green Hotels in Singapore

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 23, 2007

 
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Singapore’s government is encouraging the city-state’s hotels to go green. Under a new scheme run by the National Environment Agency (NEA), energy-efficient hotels can compete for an “Energy Smart” label. To gain this distinction, they must measure themselves against a set of energy benchmarks devised by the NEA and the National University of Singapore.

The NEA is also helping to fund the energy audits. The winners of the inaugural award in August were the Regent, the Shangri-La, the Intercontinental and Changi Village. But much work still needs doing: hotels currently account for a whopping 2% of Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Eco-tour

Recreation vs Exploitation

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 14, 2007

 
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In recent years many western communities have shifted their reliance from drilling, mining and logging to recreational activities like camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, climbing and boating on public lands for jobs, economic growth and vitality.

According to a report prepared by Sierra Club,  outdoor recreation across the American West generated more than $60 billion and over 600,000 new jobs in 2006 alone. Western communities situated closest to federally protected public lands showed the strongest economic growth in recent years. The Sierra Club says it is working to get traction for this information so that policymakers and the public can counter industry propaganda about the need to increase drilling, mining and logging on Western lands.

“Public lands drive the tourist-based economies in our western states,” says the Sierra Club’s Keren Murphy, who authored the report. “If we protect special places, they’ll provide a source of income and enjoyment for generations to come.”


Source: Sierra Club

http://www.sierraclub.org/wildlegacy/downloads/2007publicwildlandsreport.pdf

Eco-tour

Eco tourism in India and Pakistan

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 13, 2007

 
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Key comments in a survey conducted by Planeta.com

 

How do you characterize ecotourism in the country where you live? Provide examples of best or worst practices

 

PAKISTAN - Ecotourism is a new concept in Pakistan. Some people understand its true concept but most of the people in travel trade are not fully aware about the concept

 

INDIA - Ecotourism is becoming one of the major attractions of Kerala. In this small state, ecotourism activities and programs are mainly in the wilderness areas. Ecotourism programs in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary are the examples of best practices, because of the participation of the local community. Worst practices are the business magnets trying to project themselves as leaders of the ecotourism bandwagon of Kerala. The whole tourism management authority of government is being manipulated by this highly influential group

 

What are the noteworthy achievements in ecotourism in the past five years?

PAKISTAN - In Pakistan people from travel trade have started thinking more seriously the negative impacts of general and tourism and there is better growth of understanding about the concept of ecotourism during the last five years.

INDIA - In India, especially in Kerala, more travellers and entrepreneurs have become aware of ecotourism. Indigenous people are making an alternate livelihood from these programs in the Reserves i mentioned earlier, and in turn, they are working with the state forest department to protect the jungles they live in which is indeed a noteworthy achievement.

Source:  http://www.planeta.com/ecotravel/tour/yearplusfive.html

 

Eco-tour

Walk on Tree Canopy!

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 30, 2007

 
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An amazing treetop walk through the dense forests of Naduvathumoozhy, near Konni, is likely to become a reality soon. And God’s Own Country will be able to offer tourists one more major attraction.

"The idea is to set up the facility at Naduvathumoozhy, on the banks of the Achencoil river, near Konni, in cooperation with the Forest Department and the Tourism Department,’’ District Collector of Pathanamthitta Ashok Kumar Singh, who is the chairman of the District Tourism Promotion Council, told The Hindu .

Mr. Singh, a former Additional Director of Tourism, said the treetop walk would be similar to those in Australia and many southeast African countries.

He said the project was part of the council’s efforts to provide a range of recreational amenities to visitors with different interests and varying levels of trekking and hiking experience. The proposed facility would be the first of its kind in the whole country, he said. What made the project unique was its structure. The walkway would be made of light-weight steel trusses built on steel pylons to form a secure ramp, he said.

"The walkway can be erected, linking giant trees in the forests. A boardwalk meandering through the thick forests and that too at a height of 50 to 60 metres will be really amazing to the visitors.’’

The length of the walkway can be from 1 to 1.5 km. The visitors can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy from the hanging walkway. It will be a peaceful experience with quiet spots to sit and reflect on the special nature of the forest. The walk under the canopy of thousands of stars will provide the opportunity to see nocturnal wild creatures.

Nature conservation

Mr. Singh said the council’s proposal was to protect native flora and fauna, while allowing the public access to certain areas of the reserve forests for recreation. The exact location of the project would be chosen with much care, ensuring that no tree felling was required, he said.

He said it was better if the Forest Department ran the proposed eco-tourism project funded by the Tourism Department. He had already moved the proposal to the Government.
 
SOURCE : The Hindu, Tuesday, January 30, 2007 

Eco-tour

UFW to Bedaguli – Trip Report

Posted by Akshathkumar Shetty on January 30, 2007

 
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UFW to Bedaguli – Trip Report
 
HTML Version      PDF Version

Eco-tour

Taxi drivers as eco-tour guides at GOA

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 29, 2007

 
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Mollem National Park: The core zone of Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary ( GOA) comprising an area of 107 sq. km. was notified as a National Park during 1978.

The forest range officer at Mollem, Amar Heblekar,decided to turn  a motley band of high-school dropout tour operators into wildlife experts and here is his success story.

With permission and funds from the Goa Forest Department, Heblekar arranged a workshop. He was aware youngsters of the area had already been identified as troublemakers. The Doodhsagar Tour Operators Union (DTOU), as the guides called themselves, monopolised the business, charged unreasonable rates and were also accused of threatening tourists.

Heblekar went around meeting the senior members of the DTOU, and passed out invitations for the nature interpretation workshop.
 
 
Earlier, the Goa Forest Department, on Heblekar’s suggestion, had registered the operators as official tour guides for an annual fee of Rs 5,000 to ensure their activities would remain under its watchful eyes. "Most of the participants came to us unsure about what they would get from the day-long workshop," says Heblekar.

Heblekar was convinced the guides were ideal for spreading awareness about wildlife conservation. "They work in the field and if they knew about the rich flora and fauna of Mollem, they would be able to help tourists appreciate the environment a lot better. In the process, they would automatically become wildlife enthusiasts and conservators," he says.

"We discovered a wonderful new world around us," says an enthusiastic Khandeparker. A tour guide for over three years, 22-year-old Khandeparker was one of those who attended the first workshop. From a novice, Khandeparker developed his new-found expertise to rattle off the difference between a Giant Wood Spider and a Funnel Spider as well as little-known facts about termites and their importance.

Originally envisaged for 40 participants, the first workshop had 65 applications. On the next one, 46 were picking up basics on wildlife conservation and eco-tourism. Heblekar also arranged for an initial donation of 30 books from the forest department for a fledgling wildlife library for the enthusiastic tour operators.

Contact Mollem National Park, Goa. Tel: 0832-2612211
 
Source: http://www.outlookindia.com/

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