Why You Should Support Eco-Tourism

I know a lot of people think I am nuts for spending lots of frequent flier miles and money to get to exotic places where I can see wild birds in their natural habitat.  For many, they think it is enough to simply watch nature documentaries on the Discovery Channel.  But when you actually travel to these places and see wildlife in person you are part of a world-wide effort to show native populations that wildlife belongs in the wild and not in traps and cages.  Have a look at this video (found in this article)  to see what fate awaits many endangered species if we don’t do something to stop the evil practice of trapping and poaching.

Pretty confronting and sickening, right?  But this is the reality for thousands of innocent birds who are cruelly stolen from their forest homes and nests.  Some species such as the Spix’s Macaw are already extinct in the wild and only still on the planet due to conservation efforts.  Let’s not lose any more species!

This is where we, as eco-travelers can help.  We can show the local people that wild birds are more valuable left alone in nature because WE will come there to see them.  And we will stay in local lodges, eat in local restaurants, buy local crafts, hire local guides and provide lots of jobs.  I have personally met several guides who started out as poachers and were retrained to be forest wardens, protect the local native species and guide tourists on photo safaris.  So let’s support these people when we travel.  Yes, we do use miles to get there and hotel points in the gateway cities near the airports but this should allow more people to afford eco-tourism and leave us more money to spend out in the field supporting the local economy and giving these people a chance to make an honest living while preserving their wildlife!