Wildlife safari based tour operating provider and tiger expert Jack Baucher: Interview about his experience to link tourism with conservation on the Indian sub continent

Jack Baucher is one of the founders of Tears for Tigers Travel, which sprang from his time spent living in a hillside village in a remote district of Western Nepal. Jack witnessed not only the simplicity and frugality of life of the local Nepali people, but also the adverse impact of the continuing spread of humanity on indigenous wildlife throughout the hillsides and the river valleys. Working in the jungle and seeing, for the first time, tigers in the wild, served as the inspiration for establishing a wildlife safari based tour operating provider in the Indian sub continent with its primary focus on India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Jack/
Tears for Tigers Travel as member of LT&C and provider of the LT&C-Example Chitwan and Bardia National Parks in Nepal will in October share his experience during a study tour to the Bardia National Park and the Annapurna mountain reserve. Recently the Jack met the Queen. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh invited him to Buckingham Palace for his conservation efforts. Peter Prokosch interviewed Jack to find out more about his efforts to link tourism with conservation:
 
Jack, what are your secrets to link tourism and conservation? what made even the Queen to become aware of it?

‘Seeing is Believing’. We practice the process of getting clients up close to wildlife, that way it gives them the engagement and brings in the passion for conservation. I was based in Nepal for many years and learnt from the founder of sustainable tourism in Asia – Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge. Tiger Tops had the benefit of being operational before the national park was established. It meant that park rules were centred around giving the optimum experience for the tourist and stimulating the drive to conserve. After many years of working for the Tiger Tops group, I met the Royal Foundation to discuss conservation in Nepal and India and then was invited to meet the queen at Buckingham palace to celebrate the year of ‘UK and India Year of Culture’.

 

Photo: Jack Baucher

 

What does your membership in LT&C means in this context for you?
In my opinion, linking conservation and tourism is key to protecting and conserving many of the national parks in Asia. A study was done in Ranthambore national park in India, a single Tigress had bought in over USD $ 100 million in tourism revenue for parks, villagers and businesses over a 10 year period. If the locals don’t feel they have a steak in their wildlife or national park then conservation is very hard to practice. To be a member with LT&C will enable us to create synergies with other parts of the world to share our success stories and decide what is the best solution we are dealing with today on a case by case basis.
 
What will the participants at the autumn study tour to Bardia national park and Annapurna learn and see from your efforts to link tourism and conservation ?
Participants will see first hand just how well Nepal’s national parks have been protected through tourism. A demonstration of why poaching stats have been so low over the last decade and how the combination of national park bodies, local organisations and tourist operations can protect fauna and flora.
 
Do you have any thoughts or even plans to “export” your experience with the LT&C-Example Chitwan and Bardia National Parks to other countries, and who could support such plans ?

Yes, we are exploring northern Burma and Tamanthi Willdife Reserve at the moment. Also parts of Africa, Botswana and Kenya in-particular. Still early days but we look to export further down the line.

 

 
Is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development leading you to any extra efforts this year in linking tourism and conservation ?
Yes, I am now part of a charity. We are launching at the end of May so I cannot give away too much at this stage. We hope it will allow travellers to become even more hands on with conservation projects on their trips. Again, goes back to our philosophy of ‘Seeing is Believing’.