After reading an article in Discover magazine (which I would link to, but I can’t find other than on my bathroom counter at home), I realized that there is a dark side to ecotourism. It mentioned the trash, pollution from jeeps, and danger to tourists from animals or acts of nature. The following tips, from a hotel group in India, might help.
How to be a responsible tourist
• Do not use facilities that have altered the natural habitat. These may include resorts, hotels, swimming pools, especially boundary walls and fences. These alter and inhibit animal movement.
• Avoid resorts that have swimming pools or fountains. These are wasting a precious local resource, especially in areas with water scarcity. Check if the resort uses a rainwater harvesting device.
• Recycle: You can use a towel for two days instead of demanding room service replace it every day.
• Avoid the use of detergents, soaps and toiletries that are toxic or not eco soluble. Check if the resort has restrictions on detergents, soaps and toiletries or waste-management systems and solar power.
• Do not use perfumes and deodorants on a safari.
• Do not use light and sound in restricted zones after dark. Do not insist on night safaris, driving through protected zones, or playing the stereo loudly. If unavoidable, put headlights on low beam, use the dipper and drive slow.
• Use resorts or home-stays run by local communities, people dependent on the forest, however basic. Ensure you are contributing to the local economy.
• Do not crowd
animals. You may feel like your safari is a waste if you haven’t seen a tiger up close, but as one conservationist put it: “How would you feel to be put on exhibition, surrounded by 40 jeeps, each with eight humans, each with a camera?”