LT&C Study Tours for supporting Protected Areas

Linking Tourism & Conservation offers a number of Study-Tours, which take you on a journey to experience and learn from our LT&C-Examples. These tours are meant to raise awareness of the positive contribution tourism can have on nature protection and therefore aim to convey valuable messages among its participants. As increasing numbers of travellers visit national parks and are keen to explore nature, we hope to produce incentives that grow LT&C-Examples worldwide. Our Study-Tours aim to support the visited protected areas, and our partner and member South Pole ensure that your tour related climate footprints are compensated. Tourism has many negative impacts, which most of us are aware of. The more crucial it is to promote such forms of nature-based tourism that contribute to safeguarding their own assets: protected areas of natural importance of our global biodiversity. Tour companies, which share our mission, thus make specific offers to LT&C-Example destinations, available exclusively to our members. You find them here on our new website.

11th World Wilderness Congress (WILD11) in Jaipur, India

A message from our partner, the WILD Foundation:

Dear Wilderness Friends and Family,

The 11th World Wilderness Congress (WILD11) is finally upon us! Between March 19-26, 2020, participants from around the world will gather in Jaipur, India to join this great gathering for the protection of life.


This is your opportunity to influence a global movement for the defense of Earth’s remaining wild places! Throughout 2020, world leaders will meet to decide the fate of biodiversity – never before has wilderness needed the strength, energy, and enthusiasm of its advocates, and WILD11 is how you can be involved! You can sign up here to be notified as soon as registration is available.

WHY 2020?

2020 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change history and take a global step forward towards a new, truly sustainable relationship with nature, one based on respect for wilderness, the future, and ourselves. In October 2020, the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity will convene in China to set new targets for the amount of lands and seas that need protection (currently, 17% terrestrial and 10% marine). Life needs them to think big. Never before have our leaders needed more vision and strength to do what is necessary to protect the future of all life. WILD11 is a powerful stepping stone to the China meeting. It will build vision, strength, and support for them to think big….and to protect half the planet’s land and seas. Read more here.

WHY INDIA?

Indian conservationists have overcome enormous hurdles to achieve one of conservation’s greatest success stories: saving the tiger from near extinction. While half of the world’s nearly 4,000 remaining tigers are in India, they need more natural habitat to thrive and support Indian ecology. That’s why Indians are pioneering effective new solutions to restore wildlands and reintroduce animal and plant species, working hand-in-hand with local communities to rejuvenate human livelihoods as well. Read more here.

OUR PARTNER

Sanctuary Nature Foundation (SNF) – WILD is excited to partner with India’s most established nation-wide network in conservation communications and media. SNF’s flagship publication is Sanctuary Asia, India’s premiere monthly conservation publication. Considered the main “crossroads for conservation” in India, SNF works at the interface of conservation, community, and climate. Of its many programmes, Kids for Tigers is a +1 million network of youth advocating constantly for awareness and protection of the Bengal tiger. Read more about the co-hosts here.

CHINA

WILD’s wilderness work in China continues and is a central objective of WILD11, which will unveil a global leadership committee for Nature Needs Half based within the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), some of the world’s most populous and biodiverse countries. We continue to work with Chinese officials and opinion leaders to build and strengthen support for wilderness inside and outside of China. Learn more about WILD’s work in China here.

While you discover more about WILD11 here, also consider the following articles to learn more about this important event.

The future of a wild planet depends upon the actions we take now. Be a delegate to WILD11 and propel awareness that wilderness is the ultimate “nature-based solution” to climate change, extinction, human well-being, the future of a healthy and vibrant world.

Let’s do this, now!  I look forward to seeing you there.

For life, livelihoods, and love,

Vance G. Martin
President
The WILD Foundation

Ecotourism on the Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

Ecotourism on the Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

Yellow Eyed Penguins. Source: Wikimedia

The Otago Peninsula is located on New Zealand’s South Island, near the city of Dunedin. It is a 20 km long, hilly finger of land that extends into the Pacific Ocean and has been, for long, a prime destination for wildlife tourism in New Zealand. The Otago Peninsula is home to some of the most endangered and charismatic species of the country, including, but not limited to: Yellow-Eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes), Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptola minor), Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi) and New Zealand Sea Lion (Phocarctos hookeri).

The example of ecotourism on the Otago peninsula provides benefits for both wildlife and people on a number of different levels. First, it creates a source of income for locals and allows them to connect with their natural and cultural heritage. Second, wildlife tourism provides a chance for guests to encounter highly charismatic species (flagship species for conservation) and increases their awareness of conservation challenges in the Pacific region. Finally, the income from tourism is being used to provide funding for conservation projects in both state-owned and private reserves.

The following list includes an overview about some of wildlife tourism experiences on the Otago Peninsula and how these businesses link tourism and conservation.

Otago Peninsula Trust and Royal Albatross Center: The Otago Peninsula Trust is one of the oldest charitable trusts operating on the peninsula. The trust was established for protecting and enhancing the fauna and flora of the peninsula and further, to preserve its cultural heritage as well. The Otago Peninsula Trust operates the Royal Albatross Center, located at Taiaroa Head at the north-eastern tip of the peninsula. Taiaroa Head is the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross and, as a nature reserve, managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation as the government’s conservation agency. The Royal Albatross Center has a concession to operate within the reserve and provide visitors with the unique experience of encountering albatross at their breeding grounds. Part of the income is being directed to the Department of Conservation.

Nature Guides Otago: Established in 1990, Nature Guides Otago is a tour company committed to sustainable development and wildlife conservation. The owners are members of the Yellow-Eyed Penguin trust and support the charity with both income from their tours and as consultants.

Elm Wildlife Tours: Another tour company, Elm Wildlife Tours offers excursions on the peninsula, enabling visitors to encounter penguins, sea lions and albatross. They are cooperating with other businesses such as the Royal Albatross Center and support habitat restoration measures at Papanui Beach which is a breeding colony of Yellow-Eyed Penguins.

Penguin Place: The Penguin Place is an entirely tourism-funded conservation program. Situated at a privately-owned beach, the Penguin Place offers guided tours, allowing visitors to encounter Yellow-Eyed Penguins in the wild in a privately-owned reserve. While the company is obliged to uphold the New Zealand Wildlife Act and protect wildlife, it is allowed to set up their own agendas and conservation management plans for their property. Income from tours is being directed to a variety of projects, including habitat restoration along the beach, research programs, as well as the operation of a rehabilitation center for injured or sick penguins.

Given the diversity of different ecotourism businesses on the Otago Peninsula, it is difficult to provide a straight answer to this question. As a non-affiliated observer, one of the challenges that I noticed is to improve communications among businesses, as well as with the state-owned Department of Conservation, for enhancing the overall conservation strategy of the Otago Peninsula and to determine how conservation funding is and could be used.

This case offers a variety of possibilities that could be adapted in other places around the world. For instance, the cases of the Royal Albatross Center and other eco-tourism companies provide examples of how the tasks of conservation management and environmental education can be split between different organizations: One which is state owned (the Department of Conservation) and a charity (The Royal Albatross Centre) or ecotourism business (Elm Wildlife Tours or Nature Guides Otago) on the other side. Here, the tourism revenue is being used to maintain a charity-operated visitor or ecotourism-business, to inform guests and to provide conservation managers with funds for habitat management and population monitoring. The Penguin Place on the other hand shows how national conservation law can be maintained in a privately-managed reserve, while at the same time allowing guests to experience unique wildlife and funding both habitat management, wildlife rehabilitation and conservation research.

The examples require limited infrastructural requirements, however a permit system for eco-tourism companies would have to be put in place, as well a memorandum of understanding in which the cooperation/relationship between tourism and state-owned conservation agencies is being outlined.

Otago Peninsula Trust: http://otagopeninsulatrust.co.nz

Royal Albatross Centre: https://albatross.org.nz

Nature Guides Otago: https://www.natureguidesotago.co.nz

Elm Wildlife Tours: https://www.elmwildlifetours.co.nz

Penguin Place: https://penguinplace.co.nz

Department of Conservation: https://www.doc.govt.nz

“nature needs half” – an important message from our partner, the WILD Foundation

Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C) is a support organization of the UN goal (the so-called “Aichi target 11” of the Convention for Biological Diversity) to reach by 2020 a well-managed and representative global network of protected areas, 17% on land and 10% of the marine environment. We profile for replication cases – LT&C-Examples -, where tourism – as the main user and benefiter of nature – is supporting the establishment or development of national parks or other types of protected areas. In 2020 the UN has to assess, how far their goal has been reached and has to agree on a new set of goals in order to safeguard the ecosystems of our planet. In this context, we like to republish a message of the WILD Foundation, which has its focus on wilderness areas, as an important and interesting contribution to the upcoming discussions of the UN:

You are invited to encourage the UN to protect half the planet.

Deadline: April 15th, 2019

Citizens from around the world are being asked to contribute recommendations to the United Nations for the protection of Earth’s biodiversity. These recommendations will influence the historic 2020 Convention on Biodiversity. The deadline to submit comments is April 15th, 2019. We need YOUR help to encourage the United Nations to adopt 50% targets for land and seas – that is the protection of half the planet to end the Sixth Mass Extinction and transform humanity’s relationship with wild nature.

Please copy and paste the text below or draft your own comments and send to this email address by April 15th, 2019: secretariat@cbd.int

Subject: Target 11: Protect Half

To Whom It May Concern,

By the end of this century, four million species are at risk of extinction. Such a catastrophic loss would undoubtedly have devastating consequences for humanity. Biodiversity is the foundation for a stable and thriving planet. Nothing short of unprecedented ambition is sufficient to take advantage of a rapidly closing window of opportunity for action. We still have half left to protect and life on Earth desperately demands this half remains intact (see: An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm). The post-2020 framework must be grounded on the 50% protection target – nature needs half.

Sincerely,
INSERT YOUR NAME HERE
INSERT YOUR COUNTRY
INSERT PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT

Let’s inspire UN leaders to take the actions needed to defend life on Earth.

In gratitude for your help,

Amy Lewis
Vice President, Policy & Communications
WILD Foundation


For more information on the process, visit:
Preparations for the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework

For more information on why we need half, visit:
To keep the planet flourishing, 30% of Earth needs protection by 2030

Catastrophic Declines in Wilderness Areas Undermine Global Environment Targets

UN’s ‘dire’ warning: Act now on Earth’s environment as human health ‘increasingly threatened’

Climate study warns of vanishing safety window on reducing carbon emissions – here’s why

The Rapid Decline of the Natural World is a Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change

World’s food supply under ‘severe threat’ from loss of biodiversity

Biologists think 50% of species will be facing extinction by the end of the century

Explore the new PANORAMA website – much in common with LT&C

Explore the new website of our collaborator, PANORAMA. Despite the fact that some of our LT&C-Examples, such as Chumbe Island or the Wadden Sea as part of the East-Atlantic Flyway Partnership, are also profiled as PANORAMA Solution, there is certainly much more potential for synergy between LT&C and PANORAMA. We like to encourage our members and providers of LT&C-Examples to have a look at this new website and find out, whether they would like to expose their case also within this wider community. We all have an interest that good examples or solutions are widely seen and find replicators.

Amahoro Tours and Redrocks Rwanda supporting Kahuzi-Biéga National Park, DRC

Amahoro Tours and Redrocks Rwanda supporting Kahuzi-Biéga National Park, DRC

The Kahuzi-Biega National Park is a protected area near Bukavu town in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and it is located close to the western bank of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. The park was established in 1970 by the Belgian photographer and conservationist Adrien Deschryver, and it is named after two dormant volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi (3,308 m) and Mount Biega (2,790 m). With an area of 6,000 square kilometres and over 600,000 ha, this is one of the biggest national parks in the country and is home to the last refuges of the rare Eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), an endangered species on the IUCN Red List. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed in 1980 for its unique biodiversity of rainforest habitat and its eastern lowland gorillas.

The Park contains a flora and fauna of exceptional diversity, making it one of the most important sites in the Rift Albertine Valley and the Congo basin, it is also one of the ecologically richest regions of Africa and worldwide. In particular, the national park contains a greater diversity of mammal species than any other site in the Albertine Rift. It is the second most important site of the region for both endemic species and in terms of species diversity. The Park protects 136 species of mammals. Apart from the eastern lowland gorilla, there are other thirteen primates, including threatened species such as the chimpanzee, the colobus- and cercopithecus monkey. Other extremely rare species of the eastern forests of the DRC are also found, such as the giant forest genet (Genetta victoriae) and the aquatic genet (Genetta piscivora). Characteristic mammals of the central African forests also live in the Park, such as the bush elephant, bush buffalo, giant forest hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni) and bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus). The park receives an average annual precipitation of 1,800 mm (71 in). The maximum temperature recorded in the area is 18 °C (64 °F) while the minimum is 10.4 °C (50.7 °F).

The last census of the gorillas in 2013 counted only 145 individuals. The highland section with most of the gorillas is open for visits, with three gorilla groups habituated for visitation. Tourists are advised to contact the rangers in advance and travel with them from the Cyangugu-Bukavu border with Kahuzi Biéga NP park rangers. The park is absolutely gorgeous and the gorilla experience is simply superb. In general, stay with, listen to and follow the advice of the KBNP park rangers and you should be at least as secure as possible for your Gorilla trekking experience.

The Community people are helpful and extremely friendly plus the lush and enormous landscape of beautiful mountains makes it definitely unforgettable! Your visit to Kahuzi-Biéga National Park will be filled with rewarding adventure in an environment that feels like a taste of paradise.

The park is situated in one of the most densely populated areas of the country. Some 90% of the population of Kivu is rural, mainly dependent on agriculture. Seven separate tribal groups live around the park including the Pygmy, Barega and Bashi peoples. Traditional livelihoods are based on shifting agriculture and subsistence hunting.

This initiative by Amahoro tours to encourage people visiting the Kahuzi-Biega national park helps act as an example geared at creating awareness and attention for other tour operators in the region to open their eyes and consider not only the natural benefits within the park, but contributes with education measures and financial support to local peoples positive involvement in the park’s management. The local tour operator Amahoro tours engages with its non-profit organization Redrocks Rwanda to ensure it works with local communities and create more local activities. It is with the belief that the more people, who visit Kahuzi-Beiga, the more local jobs are created and sustained, with the effect that local communities support the objectives of the national park. Sustainable conservation for future tourism is the aim.

These activities of an Africa-based tour operator needs, in particular, be seen as a very positive contribution in the context of solving what UNESCO World Heritage describes as a problem of the national park: “Political instability in the region, provoking the displacement of thousands of people, represents a very serious threat to the integrity of the property, resources, and populations of large mammals in the Park have declined dramatically. The Park does not have a designated buffer zone, supporting cooperation of the neighbor populations in the conservation of the property is one of the principal tasks of management, in particular in the zones of heavy human density.”

The DRC National Park authority ICCN has established a long term relationship with the Red Rocks initiative and confirms the value the non-profit organization as a subsidiary of the Rwanda based tour company Amahoro Tours produces for the park and the local inhabitants: ICCN recommendation letter

Our marketing as a tour operator in collaboration with the community non-for profit RedRocks of KBNP as a destination will in the future rotate with the marketing of other national park destinations in the region. Continuous promotion of these destinations will also be achieved by organizing workshops for other stakeholders and policymakers. More attention to highlight the biodiversity richness of KBNP should be given in the context of supporting several national parks in the region. Communicative networking with several other national parks could promote the Kahuzi-Biéga national park a part of destination packages.

Established partnerships with other authorities and organizations, in particular with other park management bodies, could enable different tour operators to join this cross border collaboration. This could encourage learning from each other in a broader region and accelerate activities of more tour operators in a direction, which increases benefits from tourism by supporting at the same time several national parks and surrounding local communities. A partnership with another cross-boundary national park region in Africa could be a way to transfer experiences from this example.

Also see Amahoro tours’ LT&C-Example at Virunga national park

Eco- and Wild-Carnivore Tourism supports Abruzzo National Park, Italy

Eco- and Wild-Carnivore Tourism supports Abruzzo National Park, Italy

Abruzzo National Park is the oldest park in Italy and was established in 1922 in the Central Apennines. The park offers unspoiled, wild nature, though being only two hours away from Rome and Naples. The park covers three regions: Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise. It covers an area of about 50,000 hectares, surrounded by 80,000 acres of “pre-park”, a buffer zone that, amongst other functions, aims to protect the park’s wildlife, which often leaves the conventional boundaries of the park itself. Originally, Abruzzo National Park has been founded to save the Marsican brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus) and the Apennines Chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata), but is home to a wide variety of animals that once occupied a much wider range in the Apennines: 67 species of mammals, 230 of birds, 14 of reptiles, 12 of amphibians, 15 of fish, and 4,764 species of insects, including important endemic species.

Abruzzo national park today is also known as one of the best examples in Europe for its relatively well-functioning wolf management. Local tourism businesses are benefiting of visitors interested in watching carnivores.

Ecotur is a local tour operator, founded in 1989 and continues its work with passion and love towards nature for 30 years. The business idea was to base the company on one of the main pillars on which the Park itself rests: the development of an eco-friendly work, able to combine land conservation and the economic and cultural development of local populations. Ecotur’s activities cover hiking, trekking, travel education, environmental awareness campaigns, photography and nature photography. They manage a CEA (Center for Environmental Education) and have a small shop selling local and organic Abruzzo products, as well as an information center in Pescasseroli, which is one of the most visited in the park. Ecotur also manages a cabin called “Ecorifugio della Cicerana”, being the most famous spot for wildlife observation (bear watching) in the park.

We think that the activities carried out by Ecotur are important for the conservation policies of nature from many points of view: above all economic and cultural.

In the first case, we believe that the national parks, especially in a country as anthropized as Italy, have the possibility of working in the best way only if they can establish a profitable coexistence with the local populations, who live in the areas concerned for years. Ecotur, therefore, is a small example of how a park can generate eco-sustainable work, involving local youths who would otherwise be forced to emigrate or even look for jobs that have little to do with nature conservation (construction, ski slopes, etc.).

In the second case, the activities carried out by Ecotur are useful to the Park from the educational/cultural point of view, because we are the main scientific communicators of the work that the Park carries out in our territory. We are also directly involved in environmental education projects for national and local schools.

Numerous initiatives could be undertaken to improve the link between tourism and nature conservation. In particular, I believe that dialogue with institutions is fundamental, in order to create new projects and resolve the difficulties that arise from time to time in the best possible way.

We believe that the model of the Abruzzo National Park has much to learn, but also a lot to give to other similar realities scattered around the world. In particular, we are interested in spreading our model of coexistence with large carnivores (wolf and bear), which is
unique in all of Western Europe. In this park, over the centuries we have managed to establish a relationship of coexistence with these large animals, so as to guarantee their conservation. Today, in Western Europe (France, Germany, etc.), some predators are finally returning and we are witnessing a process of rewilding of excessively anthropized territories, we think that the model we propose can be useful.

Marine Conservation Institute awards Global Ocean Refuge status to marine protected areas (MPAs)

The Global Ocean Refuge System improves the quality and quantity of marine protection globally by awarding protected areas that meet science-based standards. It is helping the world create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas through strategic and cost-effective ways, ensuring the future diversity and abundance of marine life.

Marine Conservation Institute’s objective for the award is to bring special recognition to nations, decision makers and site managers who effectively protect their marine ecosystems and to incentivize better ocean protection worldwide. Our hope is that this network grows and inspires nations around the world to strongly protect 30% of the ocean’s most important places by 2030.