Saving Turtles and Eco-Travel

Posted July 9, 2016 by ecoadventuretravel
Categories: Eco-Tourism

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The BBC World News had an interesting article about saving Turtles in the wild in Sri Lanka.  I have personally seen Sea Turtle hatcheries in Costa Rica, and in Mexico, and in general they provide a safe space for turtles to lay their eggs, in a protected area, and return to the ocean once hatched without harassment by tourists or predators.

Sea turtles are given legal protection in the United States and its waters under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which declares the following species of turtles as threatened species and thus endangered:

  • Hawksbill turtles;
  • Leatherback turtles;
  • Kemp’s ridley turtle;
  • Green sea turtle; and the
  • Loggerhead turtle.

This designation makes it illegal to harm, harass or kill any sea turtles, hatchlings or their eggs. It is also illegal to import, sell, or transport turtles or their products. In the United States, the National Marine Fisheries Service has jurisdiction over sea turtles in the water, while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for them on land. Other countries have their own conservation laws and regulations that apply to sea turtles.

Some regulations affecting sea turtles are global in scope. The “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species” (CITES) controls international trade in endangered and threatened species. Sea turtles are covered under Appendix I of this agreement and receive protection from international trade by all countries that have signed the treaty.

As a result of the need to protect Sea Turtles and their eggs, a need has arisen in the eco tourism niche where persons can help achieve these goals.

Some charities that mix volunteer opportunities with fundraising and other efforts to help turtle conservation:

http://www.turtleconservationfund.org/

http://www.conserveturtles.org/

Home

http://www.seeturtles.org/

~Robert Miller

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Eco Friendly Travel Tips

Posted March 6, 2016 by ecoadventuretravel
Categories: Eco-Tourism, Environmentally Friendly

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Eco Friendly Travel Tips

I have one rule at home that I admittedly find it hard to follow 100%.  But I do try.  That rule is to never purchase something new that I can get preowned or used.

There is much talk about how best to save the environment, and how to best use our purchasing power, as consumers, to urge more eco friendly products, from clothing to cars.  But almost nothing wastes more money than the process to make new consumer goods, while there are perfectly good items that can be used instead of wasting money on manufacturing new ones.

Consider the process to make new items or to manufacture more existing products:

  • The design of the product, from prototypes to redesigns;
  • The amounts spent on marketing the product, from print advertising, bus ads, marketing on car and truck wraps, blimps, and on giving away free product for promotion;
  • The fuel, energy, waste, and raw materials made to manufacture the product;
  • The fuel, energy, waste, and raw materials used just to package the product;
  • The fuel, energy, waste, and raw materials used just to transport the product, from cardboard boxes, to plastic casing, to shipping containers; and
  • The fuel, energy, waste, and raw materials used to trash, give away, or repurpose the product when replaced by another model or upgrade.

Under our current system, many cars, clothing, furniture, electronics, and other items are replaced long before their useful life is through.  Those products end up as waste in dumps, or additional resources are used to donate those to the third world.

It bothers me somewhat how much in kudos are given to manufacturers that make supposedly eco friendly products, without taking into account the total carbon footprint or impact of the entire design and distribution of the product.  It may be substantially better to use existing products rather than purchasing, and having shipped, a new more supposedly eco friendly item.

It often is a mental leap for many to realize that keeping an old gas guzzler running (for one example) might actually end up in a lower carbon footprint than purchasing a new lower emissions vehicle.  But the marketing attractiveness of new products sold in a sales pitch of being “Earth Friendly” might not tell the whole story.

When it comes to travel, looking for ways to stay, cook, eat, and sightseeing with a minimal impact on the environment is a worthy goal.  But sometimes that means foregoing the new “eco friendly” resort being built in the rainforest, and using the pensione, hostel, or existing hotels in the area instead.  Marketing doesn’t always mean effectiveness.

Adventure Travel in Tahiti

Posted February 28, 2016 by ecoadventuretravel
Categories: Activities, Eco-Tourism, Pacific Islands / Oceana, Scuba Diving, Uncategorized

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I’m excited about my vacation to Tahiti in less than 30 days.  French Polynesia is an amazing, historically significant place on the planet.  As one of the last places to ever be originally habituated by humans, the country has been relatively unspoiled from the beginning.

After becoming a French colony, Tahiti became a center of ecological controversy for decades due to nuclear testing in the area.

The country consists of 130 islands scattered across the Pacific —a total land area roughly equivalent to that of metropolitan Paris and London combined but spread across a swath of ocean five times as large as France.

Tahiti has become more environmentally sensitive due to awareness of envorinmental issues, and concerns, like all island nations, of sea levels rising due to global warming and climate change concerns.

Three decades of French nuclear testing had led to increased atmospheric plutonium and radiation, several destroyed coral reefs, a landslide and related tsunami, and radiation poisoning found in fish in the area. (Source: http://canterbury.cyberplace.org.nz/peace/nukenviro.html)

Because of the isolation of the islands, there is little biodiversity in plants, most of which were introduced by the first Polynesians, and many others were introduced by Europeans centuries later.

On the limestone soils of the island atolls, desert-type plants are commonly found. On the high volcanic islands plant life is more diversified; ferns have conquered many hills and plateaus, whereas rainforests are established in the upper valley areas. On coastal plains coconut, breadfruit, and various fruit trees flourish.

No mammals are indigenous to the islands, but you can find feral goats, pigs, horses, cattle, and rats introduced by prior settlers. A fish called nato and a variety of shrimp are found in the islands’ freshwater streams. The marine life in the lagoons and surrounding seas is varied and plentiful.

Current tourism on the islands focuses on minimal impact sailing, snorkeling and scuba, hiking, and responsibly exploring the natural beautiful environment and surroundings of not only Tahiti, but all the surrounding islands that make up French Polynesia (including the Marquesas Islands.

Eco friendly adventure travel outfitters include the following:

http://tahitiecotourism.com/

http://www.adventurefinder.com/adventure-travel/french-polynesia-adventures/south-pacific-tuamotu-the-marquesas-islands-adventure-life-tidadlv5691.html

Having been fascinated by the artists that have lived in French Polynesia, and the amazing stories relayed by James Michener in the Pulitzer winning novel,”Tales of the South Pacific”, which became a popular Rogers & Hammerstein musical and film.

Look for more photographs and adventures coming up!

Eco-tourism coming to Goa

Posted January 14, 2016 by ecoadventuretravel
Categories: Eco-Tourism, Environmentally Friendly, India, Uncategorized

Although Goa, in India, is known for nightlife, beaches, and a “hippie” vibe, eco friendly travel is coming soon.  The forest ministry in Goa is looking to develop eco-villages in that city, in a bid to decongest the beaches and divert tourists to the beautiful, more rural, areas of the region.

Talking about the future of eco-tourism in the region, Goa Forest Minister Rajendra Arlekar was recently quoted, “We have to balance revenue generation as well as keeping the environmental balance of the state. Setting up eco-villages will help us greatly promote eco-tourism in rural areas.”

Hopefully those plans will become a reality soon.

How to be a responsible eco-tourist

Posted July 17, 2012 by ecoadventuretravel
Categories: Eco-Tourism, educational, Environmentally Friendly

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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

Babys first swim

I just used this photograph (marginally relevant to the swimming pool tip) because I think my son Louis is cute, and it reminds me of his first swim! – Robert 

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?”

World’s largest Crocodile found in an ecotourism park

Posted July 12, 2012 by ecoadventuretravel
Categories: Eco-Tourism

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World Record Crocodile: 2,259 Pounds And 20 Feet Long

A saltwater crocodile in the Phiippines has been declared the world’s largest in captivity.

The crocodile weighs more than 2,200 pounds, is 20 feet long and eats up to 22 pounds of meat per week.

He’s become a tourist attraction in the town of Bunawan, where an ecotourism park was built around his enclosure.

“Lolong” is the croc’s name. He was captured last year after a three-week long hunt, which came after the crocodile was believed to have killed a girl and a fisherman in the town.

The Guinness Book of World Records recently declared him the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity.

Lonesome George Dies, Ecotourism Companies pay tribute

Posted July 6, 2012 by ecoadventuretravel
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Naturalist Journeys, an Arizona-based, nature travel company, joins the world in honoring the passing of a conservation icon, Lonesome George, famous tortoise of Galapagos. If he had a Facebook timeline, several parts of this reptilian celebrity’s story would stand out. Called the rarest animal on earth, at one time the government of Ecuador offered a $10,000 reward for anyone finding a genetic match. Thousands of tourists viewed Lonesome George every year. “Seeing George was pivotal,” says Peg Abbott, owner of the company and veteran host of Galapagos cruises. “He inspired ongoing conversations about the challenges and pitfalls of saving endangered species. Seeing the last remaining individual of a species or subspecies, particularly in the Galapagos where nature is so vibrant, was moving every time.” Visits by ecotourism groups, for Naturalist Journeys scheduled next year January 18-28, will help to ensure that his story is told, and the legacy of the island’s most famous mascot lives on.

Portal, Arizona (PRWEB) June 29, 2012

Naturalist Journeys joins the world in honoring the passing of a conservation icon, Lonesome George, the tortoise celebrity of Galapagos. Groups from the Arizona-based natural history travel company have been visiting George for nearly twenty years. “Seeing George was pivotal,” says Peg Abbott, owner of the company and veteran host of Galapagos cruises. “He inspired ongoing conversations about the challenges and pitfalls of saving endangered species. Seeing the last remaining individual of a species, particularly in the Galapagos where nature is so vibrant, was moving every time.” Abbott describes that groups over the years would joke about George’s lack of interest in females after years in isolation, but find sobering the reality that his subspecies’ existence rested on his failed sexuality.

Thousands of tourists viewed Lonesome George every year. If he had a Facebook timeline, several parts of his story would stand out. Called the rarest animal on earth, at one time the government of Ecuador offered a $10,000 reward for anyone finding a genetic match. In previous centuries, sailors and pirates captured tortoises, carrying them alive – sometimes for years – Flipped up on their backs with bound limbs, to supply fresh meat as they traveled. It was hoped that somewhere, in a port near or far away from the Galapagos Islands, there might have been a suitable female tortoise offloaded from one of those boats. Sadly, the money went unclaimed despite years of searching.

In 1992, with tourism on the rise, George was moved to a new pen along the public route through the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS), and his new lodgings came with company – two females. Acknowledging that no survivors of his kind remained, a mating with closely-related individuals seemed the only possible choice. Naturalist Journeys clients watched for several years as this attempt at captive breeding failed due to George’s lack of interest, and then cheered when in the year fifteen, he got inspired. One year, participants met a young Swiss graduate student assigned by the CDRS to help George find that interest in females, or to get familiar enough with him to collect semen – the only way his subspecies could survive. Through tourism, members of the group got caught up with his ongoing story; several joined CDRS or the Galapagos Conservancy. Clients kept in touch, and cheered when Lonesome George finally mated with a female, and then sighed with sadness when the eggs proved to be infertile – twice.

In 2008, National Geographic issued an article entitled, “Extinct Tortoise Could Be Reconstructed.” On tours, Naturalist Journeys clients learned that new techniques were making it possible to test some of the tortoises that did not seem to match their specific island prototype, and scientists were finding some of the lost genes. Remote Wolf Volcano to the north, the last island ahead of setting sail for the open sea, showed promise for such finds. Scientists decoding the genomes of the various subspecies of Giant Tortoises (once 15, now 10, and all but four very rare) thought they might be able to devise a breeding program, using molecular markers, to bring diluted genes from individuals of these mixed subspecies to a more pure form.

Giant Tortoises (Galapagos in Spanish) gave the fabled islands their name. Lonesome George acquired his from the popular 1950’s comedian television star, George Gobel, who inspired laughter in his role as a beleaguered, misunderstood husband. It is estimated that George Gobel’s namesake lived for over 100 years, forty of them at CDRS.

Space is still available on the Naturalist Journeys’ January 18-28, 2013 voyage to the turquoise-rimmed, World Heritage islands of the Galapagos. There, for the first time, Lonesome George’s story will be told in the past tense. Abbott is counting on positive news from a scheduled 2012 meeting of experts, held to work out a plan for breeding, repatriating, and managing tortoises over the next ten years to offset his loss. In this way, the island’s most famous mascot and his legacy will live on. Full details of the voyage can be found on the Naturalist Journeys website.