New global benchmark encourages tourists to become responsible wildlife watchers  

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Unique Wildlife Heritage Areas connect wildlife experts, responsible travel companies, and local communities to designate wildlife-friendly tourism destinations

World Animal Protection and World Cetacean Alliance have today launched a new global programme, working with a coalition of responsible travel businesses and wildlife charities, which they hope will change the way people travel to see wildlife forever. 

Called ‘Wildlife Heritage Areas’ the programme will provide outstanding and responsible wildlife tourism experiences. Wildlife Heritage Areas has been developed to meet an expanding need from tourists to see wildlife in the wild, as the ethics of wild animals in zoos and aquariums increasingly comes under scrutiny. Now, travellers will be able to discover destinations where local communities care for and protect the wildlife in their environment, and support them through incredible tourism experiences that are sustainable in the long-term.

Angela Maldonado, founder of Entropika, a conservation NGO and part of the Wildlife Heritage Network, comments: “The Amazon Night Monkey Heritage Area covers 640 km2 in Vista Alegre on the Colombian-Peruvian border. It offers low-impact nature activities, such as jungle hikes, wildlife watching tourism and experiential tourism, which are all guided by knowledgeable locals. These local stewards of the forest are critically important in helping to alleviate outside pressure that the monkeys face from a range of issues including trafficking for biomedical research and deforestation.”

The travel industry currently has no means of identifying destinations meeting high standards of responsible wildlife watching. The Wildlife Heritage Area programme changes this. In addition, Wildlife Heritage Areas will create new opportunities for visitors to engage with the unique culture, heritage and biodiversity that underpins each local community’s wildlife offering. This will help to generate pride and income for the responsible protection of wildlife and habitats.

 We’re thrilled that Wildlife Heritage Areas is one of LT&C’s partners.

Current Wildlife Heritage Areas

  • Amazon Night Monkey Heritage Area (candidate), Peru/Colombia
  • Amazon Uakari Heritage Area (candidate), Brazil
  • Apennines Marsican Bear Heritage Area (candidate), Italy
  • Whitsundays Whale Heritage Area (Candidate) Australia
  • Santa Barbara Channel Whale Heritage Area (new designation), USA
  • Madeira Whale Heritage Area (new designation), Portugal
  • Plettenberg Bay Whale Heritage Area (designated), South Africa
  • Algoa Bay Whale Heritage Area (designated), South Africa

Amazon Night Monkey, Santa Barbara Channel Whale, Madeira Whale, Whitsundays Whale and Plettenberg Bay Whale are all located in protected areas.

Find out more

Wildlife Heritage Areas are open to applications from interested community groups. The process is simple and supportive.


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