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asian elephants, thailand, thai elephants

A wild elephant investigates a pickup truck in Thiland – Photo: © IUCN / Bampen Chaiyarak

A new study conducted by the Thai foundation Bring the Elephant Home (BTEH) shows that certain types of deterrence measures could reduce human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Thailand, and save lives on both sides. The study’s findings suggest that people’s interest in conserving elephants is more or less proportional to how much they stand to gain from the animals’ presence. It also found that those currently in conflict with elephants show a willingness to shift to alternative methods of deterrence to those currently being employed.

Elephants, revered and loved for ages in Thailand, have lately become a problem. Human settlements are expanding into elephant habitat, leaving wild populations of the species no other option but to invade human territory. Here, they can ravage plantations and destroy houses, which often escalates into direct confrontation. Conflicts between people and elephants result in hundreds of deaths per year on both sides, and pose a significant threat to the survival of Asian elephants, which are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

Read the full article here.

By IUCN.

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tiger, wilderness, sustainable travel, protect wildlife, wildlife protection, conservation, animal welfare

Credit: Shutterstock

Wildlife encounters are one of the most exciting and memorable experiences you can have, but your safety and the animal’s welfare should be your highest priority.

Here are some tips on how to have an exhilarating and responsible wildlife experience:

  • If you can, visit animals in the wild or in sanctuaries where they are kept in the most natural conditions possible. If you’re looking for a more affordable option such as a zoo, do some research on the establishment’s stance on animal welfare before you purchase a ticket.

 

  • Don’t use animals as photo props. Critters such as the slow loris are adorable, but they get distressed when held; therefore, no matter how cute or seemingly harmless, avoid the urge to treat wild animals as cuddly toys.

 

  • Check if your tour operator has taken adequate measures to ensure safety for you and the wildlife. You can reduce uncertainty by booking tours through tour operators that have special accreditations, that show they follow sustainable tourism practices, such as PATA members Khiri and Buffalo Tours.

 

  • Appreciate animals just as they are and respect them. Some attractions may have your favourite creatures behaving in a way they normally wouldn’t in the wild. It’s best to avoid supporting such activities, as it is difficult to access whether the training methods used to tame the animals are responsible or not.

 

 

Spend sustainably because your refusal to engage in potentially dubious activities will bring down the business that profits at the expense of wildlife.

For more background information on the role of elephants in Asia and animal welfare, visit the links below:

If you’d like a more thorough understanding of animal welfare in tourism, check out ABTA’s Animal Welfare Guidelines.

 

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People enjoying elephant ride in Chitwan National Park, on Saturday. Photo: THT

Amid increased activism by global animal rights activists against elephant ride, jungle safari operators based in Chitwan and Nawalparasi have demanded that the government come up with a regulations with minimum conditions to be fulfilled for using elephants for tourism and wildlife conservation.

Stating that elephant is a crucial part of Nepal’s wildlife tourism and conservation, they said banning their use completely would have an adverse impact on tourism, which is one of the major contributors to the national economy. At the same time, it would also hamper conservation efforts, and put at risk the livelihood of elephants in captivity.

According to elephant safari operators, tourism also provides livelihood to elephants in captivity. They say these elephants are not only earning money for the tourism business, they are ahelso earning for themselves.

Read the full article about the jungle safari operators’ demand for regulations here.

By Himalayan News Service for The Himalayan Times.

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

Pack in, pack out

 

Make sure you don’t leave any trash behind when doing a jungle hike. Food and drink cartons are common items to remember cleaning up but smaller things, such as cigarette butts, toilet paper and food leftovers are often overlooked and can still have a big impact on nature. Food litter can harm animals but also attract them. Make sure you bring food and drinks in reusable containers to avoid littering. Boy Scouts of America has a great article about the proper disposal of waste.

 

Nature and wildlife conservation

 

Be an observer of nature and take in its beauty in from a distance. Avoid walking off-track and don’t pick flowers or remove rocks as this might have more impact on nature than you think. Even though it is tempting to get closer to wild animals such as orangutans and other primates, keep your distance and admire them from afar. It can be dangerous for both humans and animals.

 

Respect local ways and culture

 

When jungle trekking in tropical countries, it can be very hot and humid. Even so, avoid going trekking wearing minimal clothing as this can be very inappropriate in some cultures and local communities, especially when visiting holy places, such as temples. Remember to always ask locals first if you want to take a picture of them and avoid giving gifts to poorer residents as this can encourage begging. Make sure you are well informed about local ways and culture before you go hiking (or before you go to a foreign country in general).

Support the local community

 

Book your jungle trek with a local tour operator and with local guides. This method of touring is win-win because you will support the local community, and because locals have the best knowledge and the best stories about the area you are visiting. Hire local porters, but make sure they are not carrying too much because often they carry almost as much as their body weight up the hills. Also, consider combining your jungle trekking with a community-based tourism experience! When you get to the villages, buy local souvenirs but avoid giving them too much money for it as this can do more harm than good.  

 

Spread the word –  share your knowledge

 

Education is key, share your sustainable experiences with other travellers and friends and in turn you can learn from others.  Express your concern at tour operators and travel companies as the more people that are concerned with environmental issues, the more tour operators will adopt eco-friendly and sustainable practices.

 

For more ideas on responsible camping, check out this Green Tip.

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World Elephant Day: Help conserve and protect elephants!

Categories: Green Tips
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World Elephant Day

World Elephant Day taking place on August 12, 2015, was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered, and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we are on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature in its natural habitat. This day gives us the opportunity to share ways to conserve elephants and protect them from the many ways in which they are threatened.

Elephants are heavily advertised in the tourism sector; here are some ways to be aware of how our actions affect these beautiful creatures.

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SHARK WEEK: Stand up for sharks!

Categories: Green Tips
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sharks

In honour of Shark Week, beginning Sunday July 5th, here are some ways to celebrate sharks and the many ways they benefit our environment.

Sharks have a direct impact on the ecology of our oceans and are worth more alive than dead. Sharks feed on injured or sick fish creating a balanced system for fishing, tourism, and other economic activities that support our marine ecosystem. It’s time we stop fearing sharks, stop dining on shark fin soup and begin fearing a world without them.

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