The cost of ending hunting in Tanzania – would you pay an extra £40 on your safari?

Tour operators in Tanzania are calling for an end to big game hunting – particularly elephant hunting – as they believe that it impacts on the marketing of safari holidays to the country. Now the hunting industry are hitting back and demanding a tax on safaris. With hunt permits bringing in $50 million dollars last year to the government the cost of ending hunting is high. To recover the lost trophy income the government would have to tax safari and tour operators. With just over 1 million tourists a year visiting the country in order to replace lost hunting income every visitor would need to be taxed $50 or about £40.00. The…

Indonesia to become safe haven for manta rays

Indonesia have announced that two enigmatic ray species – the giant manta ray and the reef manta ray – are to become protected throughout the country’s territorial waters. 2.2 million square miles of waters will be protected under the new regulations that will ban fishing for the species. Over the last 10 years the reef manta ray has dropped in number by 33% and the giant manta ray has seen numbers drop by 57%. Manta rays were most at risk in Indonesia around the coast of Nusa Tenggara where traditional fishermen used to take between 900 and 1,300 rays each year. The rays were caught to meet demands for fish gills…

Can Zimbabwe save its elephants?

Over the weekend the Zimbabwe government announced plans to boost protection of its wildlife. It was announced that the army will be called in to protect the reserves, more boreholes will be drilled to provide water for wildlife and the ranger service will see its numbers boosted. But the track record of Zimbabwe has not been good for wildlife conservation. It will be a major turnaround in attitudes at the highest level of government if Zimbabwe finally started to look at wildlife protection issues in the country. Senior members of the Zanu-PF have been implicated in poaching, un-restricted game hunting with South African safari syndicates have tacit, if unofficial, backing from local governors and politicians,…

World’s biggest aquarium opens in Singapore

World’s biggest aquarium opens in Singapore

The world’s largest freshwater aquarium has opened to the public at the nature themed River Safari park in Singapore. The aquarium seeks to highlight the wealth of species that live in the Amazon River of South America. Exhibits include manatees that have been moved to the aquarium from their previous home at Singapore Zoo. The new aquarium is 4 times larger than their previous home. The new aquarium is found the River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest. The River Safari park is a nature attraction that seeks to educate people about the great rivers of the world. At a cost of over USD 160 million the attraction opened to the public…

Is Bali about to ban shark fishing?

There are hints that a new shark and manta ray sanctuary is about to be formed at Bali. Last month the underwater paradise of Raja Ampat in West Papua, Indonesia banned the fishing of sharks and rays in it’s coral reefs and set up a shark sanctuary – the first in the so called Coral Triangle of South East Asia. Now there are hints that Bali is about to follow suit and ban shark fishing from it’s waters. A report in the Jakarta Post published today covered the campaign by Conservation International (Indonesia) to get the Bali provincial government to establish a shark sanctuary. The campaign was started in 2011…

Tourists take priority over tigers in Uttarakhand

Conservation activists have made claims that since tiger reserves in Uttarakhand were reopened looking after tourists has become more important than looking after the tigers. While tigers are under threat of poaching tiger reserve rangers and their vehicles are tied up in buying and cooking food for the tourists. A directive by the Corbett Tiger Reserve director, Ranjan Mishra, has ordered that forest rangers have to ensure that fresh food and provisions are available in forest lodges for visitors who stay in the park overnight. According to the NGO People for Animals, Uttarakhand member secretary Gauri Maulekhi this means that rangers are having to use forest vehicles to buy provisions and transport them around the…

Uganda ponders wildlife cull

Uganda is concerned that recent outbreaks of both Ebola and Marburg viruses are having a negative impact on their tourism industry. Now the Tourism Ministry and Health Ministry are pondering wildlife culls in the country’s national parks to try to halt the diseases. Some tourists have already cancelled planned visits to the country after the outbreaks and the Tourism Ministry last week slashed the costs of visiting the gorillas from USD500 to USD350 a day for certain periods over the next 6 months. Now could the best time for booking your gorillas viewing at the best prices. The cull is being considered as it is known that wildlife can carry the…

Botswana to ban hunting from next year

In order to protect its wildlife that draws thousands of people each year the President of Botswana, Ian Khama, has announced that no more hunting licenses will be issued from next year. It is hoped that by banning hunting it will be more difficult for poachers to launder their kills out of the country. Botswana has , as with other African countries, seen a big boost to the number of animals poached in recent years. The reduction in wildlife is now noticeable and in order to save its wildlife and safari industry a ban on hunting was deemed necessary. [pullquote]”Our wildlife control measure through issuance of hunting licenses has reached its limit,” [/pullquote]…

As courts re-open tiger reserves Karnataka orders resorts to close

Just a few days after the Indian courts order the re-opening of the tiger reserves to tourists the state authorities of Karnataka have ordered that private resorts in and adjacent to tiger reserves should close. They will also be closing their own forest department guesthouses in the reserves. The announcement by Karnataka’s Forest Minister C P Yogeshwar has been made today because the authorities believe that commercial activities so close to protected reserves disturb the wildlife. The ban on commercial resorts and hotels will not just impact tiger reserves but any protected wildlife sanctuary in the state. Yogeshwar gave notice today that all commercial resorts will be given official notices to stop trading…

Wild orang-utans get stressed by ecotourists

Eco-tours are a growth market and for many communities in developing nations it produces a major contribution to the local economy. The community of Sabah, Malaysia run wild orangutan tours but is it doing these ‘wise men of the jungle’ any good? A study by an anthropologist from Indiana University, Michael P. Muehlenbein, has discovered that yes the orang-utans do get stressed out by their meetings with eco-tourists but they cope better than most other primates in the same circumstances. [pullquote]When we compared samples from Jenny and Etin obtained the day before, the day of and the day after tourist visitation, we found that stress hormone levels were significantly elevated in samples collected the day after tourist visitation.[/pullquote] Can eco-tourists…

European bears avoid contact with humans

The Scandinavian brown bear is a real success story in recent times. The European brown bear was almost driven to the edge of extinction but has now bounced back. However since a fatal bear attack in 2006 public support for bears in the forests of Norway and Sweden has dropped. A 3 year study has tried to establish whether there is an increased risk of conflicts between humans and bears. The result has just been published on PLoS ONE and it looks like that the risk of an attack is low. When human hikers come into contact with bears it the bears that turn and move away. Understanding how brown bears respond to hikers.…

How hunting is improving the lives of the poor in Namibia

For a lot of people in Africa life is tough. When you’re part of a rural community in Namibia that has traditionally been at the bottom of society then things are really tough. Extreme poverty and hunger becomes part of life. Sustainable hunting in community managed lands are turning the lives of the San group around.

International court orders removal of troops from protected wetlands

There’s been a bit of conflict brewing in South America with a border conflict between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. It centres around the protected wetlands of Isla Calero and Nicaragua’s current dredging of the San Juan River. The International Courts of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague has ordered Nicaragua to remove it’s troops but refused to order the stopping of the dredging as requested by Costa Rica.

Volcano hit village unveils plans for ecotourism development

Volcano hit village unveils plans for ecotourism development

The village of Soran on the island of Java was covered in ash and debris following the recent eruptions of the volcano Mount Merapi. This led to a delay in plans for the village to try and alleviate poverty and poor housing conditions. Now though the village with it’s partners the Christian housing charity Habitat for Humanity and the world’s largest paper produce Asian Paper and Pulp (APP) have unveiled plans to renew the village.

Our top 5 wildlife holiday destinations for 2011

It’s the start of a New Year and that means for many people we are heading into the peak holiday booking time of the year. Now is when many of the travel companies have their best deals in order to try and attract early bookings. So what are our top 5 holiday destinations for wildlife lovers in 2011?

Teaching dolphins to fish

Teaching dolphins to fish

A documentary on dolphins scheduled to be shown tomorrow night (3rd November 2010) on BBC2 at 8.00pm is expected to show some stunning video footage about new born dolphins including what appears to be baby dolphins being shown how to hunt for fish. The programme, The Dolphins of Shark Bay, follows a family of dolphins headed by a female called Puck. Using some of the latest wildlife filming techniques the film makers were able to capture scenes never seen before in dolphin behaviour. Some of the dolphin behaviour have surprised seasoned marine biologists and scientists. The behaviour also suggests that dolphins are even more intelligent than previously thought and have…

Kenya to launch investment bonds for wildlife and conservation

Kenya to launch investment bonds for wildlife and conservation

For decades the African safari was synonymous with eco tourism or wildlife holidays and the Kenyan safari was the market leader. Things are changing now though as many more countries get in on the eco-tourist market and in Africa there are many upstarts snapping at the boots of Kenya to take it’s crown as the safari capital of Africa. Kenya is still the major player in safaris but years of underinvestment means it’s infrastructure is not up to modern standards. To deal with this the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has announced plans to launch a series of conservation bonds from next year. Funds from the new wildlife investment bonds will…

Tiger tourism projects suspended in India

Tiger tourism projects suspended in India

Two tiger tourism projects in India have been suspended while the authorities look into the legalities of their continued operation. The projects at Periyar National Park in Kerala would have seen tourists undertaking treks in the park with rangers to experience the wealth of wildlife in the park.  The two new projects were called Tiger Trail and Jungle Patrol. The two projects would not have seen tourists being taken into the heart of the park but will have provided the opportunities for tourists to join rangers on patrol in the buffer areas and the fringes of the park. “We allow tourists to patrol with forests guards only in fringes of…

Travel Light on the Earth This Summer

For many people, the term “eco-travel” might elicit thoughts of whale-watching, going on photo safari in Kenya, or trekking through the Brazilian rainforest. But that is just the tip of a very big, fun iceberg of options. Travelers can plan trips to their favorite destinations, and visit them in an eco-friendly way, ensuring that the local culture and environment are preserved for generations to come. All it takes is a little planning, some creativity, and a sense of adventure. Co-op America, a non-profit information center for environmentally wise purchasing and investing, has a few suggestions for earth-wise summer travel that’s ecologically sensitive, culturally sensitive, and easy on the wallet: Travel…