Archive for the ‘Wildlife Conservation and tourism’ Category


Can hunting tourism assist conservation?

Can hunting tourism assist conservation?

Some have argued that recreational hunting can bring in so many dollars for conservation that Australia needs to introduce it in a big way, and also that it will directly help to control pest species

A recent  article – http://focusingonwildlife.com/news/why-are-we-still-hunting-lions/ – argues that the killing of healthy adult male lions (mostly to take trophies back to USA) not only removes some of the fittest animals, but often results in rival males coming in and taking over the pride, killing the existing cubs of his former rival in the process. It also claims the money produced by hunting lions in AFrica is minuscule compared to that produced by tourists coming to watch and film live animals.

Donald Trump’s sons didn’t win many friends by posing smugly by the bodies of leopards and other big game. Nor did the head of NSWs shooters party.

goat

Feral goat in outback Queensland: photo courtesy of Araucaria Ecotours

Hunting of feral animals such as pigs, foxes, cats, rabbits and  goats would be of conservation value in Australia, and in fact is necessary for the longterm survival of many of our wildlife species, but  hunters will  not pay the same big money for a feral tabby or fox as they would for a lion or elephant, although they may pay a fair bit for a big boar or buffalo.

Potential problems with recreational hunting include:

  • danger to rangers and public (either through mistaking a human for a game animal or a stray bullet finding an unexpected mark)
  • mistaking native animals for pest species
  • irresponsible hunters (which do exist, even though there are clearly some very responsible ones as well) taking potshots at protected species when the allowed ones aren’t found – there has certainly been evidence of rare ducks and even such un-ducklike birds as avocets and spoonbills being shot by duck hunters
  • native animals being scared away from their feeding or breeding grounds by the shooting
  • native animals that tourists want to see becoming too scared of humans to come close enough for easy viewing or photography
  • animal welfare issues such as wounded animals not being immediately dispatched, and young starving after mothers are killed

We do certainly need to reduce or eliminate ferals in many areas (look at the devastating effect feral cats had on the bilby population after the fence at Currawinya was damaged) but does sport hunting have a role to play here, or should it be accomplished by highly-trained professionals on assignment

 


Two new wildlife tourism papers

Two new wildlife tourism papers

(two of the authors – Isabelle Wolf and David Croft) are also Wildlife Tourism Australia members)

Wolf, I. D., Hagenloh, G., & Croft, D. B. (2012). Visitor monitoring along roads and hiking trails: How to determine usage levels in tourist sites. Tourism Management, 33, 16-28.

From the abstract: “We assessed visitor use at 80 sites in the Flinders Ranges gorges and compared 11 visitor variables for their potential to differentiate usage levels between sites either exposed to vehicle or hiker traffic. …. We recommend GPS tracking because of the reliability and detail of data and the many sites per day that can be sampled. … Survey data gathered in relation to specific site-use were tempered by the memory of visitors and their ability to describe or reference the visited sites on a map. ”

Wolf, I. D., Stricker, H. K., & Hagenloh, G. (2013). Interpretive media that attract park visitors and enhance their experiences: a comparison of modern and traditional tools using GPS tracking and GIS technology. Tourism Management Perspectives, 7, 59-72.


Animals under stress in a zoo

Animals under stress in a zoo

[Please see comments below by Trevor Buchanan  and responses: apologies for confusion]

Wildlife tourism, including well-run zoos and wildlife parks, can be very good for wildlife

This zoo appears to be an example of one that isn’t

One of our readers started the following conversation on the Wildlife Tourism Australia Facebook:

Her name is Melani, a Sumatran Tiger in KBS (Surabaya Zoo), Indonesia.

She is undernourished, you can see her skin clinging to her bones. At her age, a healthy feline should weighted at 100 kg, but Melani is 60 kg. Her days are spent laying helpless on the cage floor. Almost every food she consumed was eventually vomited a few moments later, and diarrhea is preying for her life. The only trace of her soul is her fierce eyes seeking for your help. Melani is not the only one. Last month, a male tiger Razak died after lungs disease due to tiny and unsanitary cage. Many are now concerned Melani will die soon, or she might face euthanasia. Ironically there are only 600 Sumatran tigers left in Sumatran forests.

In March 2012, the only giraffe in KBS died in her cage after her stomach was filled with plastic garbage. The giraffe and other animals in KBS do live under inhumane condition: tiny cage filled with garbage and inadequate sunlight. Some of them does not have shelter after their cage was leased as rooms for humans, and leafy trees to shade was occupied for witchcraft clinic.

We ask you to join the petition to support the Minister of Forestry to act immediately and save the animals at the KBS zoo. Not only because they are endangered, but also because they are a living being like us that can feel pain and fear. Let’s speak up for those who cannot speak.

sign this petition:

http://www.change.org/petitions/menhut-segera-bertindak-selamatkan-satwa-kebun-binatang-surabaya

updated data from sumatran tiger:

http://www.mongabay.co.id/2012/07/18/data-terkini-jumlah-harimau-sumatera-lebih-banyak-dari-perkiraan/

video about Melani:

http://youtu.be/JyQDkHTIeNg

On Behalf of Melani, Thank you very much for your support.

still need your help Prof.
share it to your friend.
God bless you
Saturday 6:28am [from WTA]
That zoo sounds terrible
Would you like to write something about it in English for the Wildlife Tourism Australia blog, to tell more people about the kind of wildlife tourism that is NOT acceptable and perhaps get some more signatures on the petition?
Saturday 12:22pm
Surabaya Zoo, also known as Kebun Binatang Surabaya (KBS), was founded in 1916 and is the one of the largest zoos in South East Asia, covering 37 acres and housing over 350 species. The zoo has fallen into disrepute over the last few years with widespread allegations of mistreatment, corruption, and uncontrolled breeding. Many of the animals cared for at KBS live in pitiable conditions, some are highly endangered species. This must stop.
The Zoo states there are 2,800 animals living there, other reports put the number at closer to 4,000. The mistreatment of the animals started to attract widespread condemnation in 2010. In that year, the Jakarta Post labelled KBS as the Surabaya “Zoo of Death”. In the same year the Forestry Ministry revoked Surabaya Zoo’s license after many animal deaths including rare species such as Sumatran tigers, Komodo Dragons, lions and crocodiles
East Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) conducted an investigation, which found that negligent keepers were to blame for most of the animal deaths. It is alleged that zookeepers are stealing meat which they sell to the black market. Also that animals are being stolen by the zookeepers and also sold.
The zoo does not have the cashflow needed to feed, house and breed the animals in it’s care. Entry is less than US$2.00 per person. It does not generate enough. Subsequently, the animals are maltreated and underfed. The zoo is unable to separate breeding animals, so breeding is out of control. For example, nearly 200 pelicans inhabit a filthy enclosure the size of a basketball court. They do not have the room to move their wings.
Recently a giraffe died that was found to have an 18kg ball of plastic in it’s stomach, It had been living off food thrown to it by visitors, such as candy bars, which often still had the wrapper on it.
Tigers are kept locked in small concrete cells because they do not have enough room to exercise. They are allowed out of their damp cells for only 3 days for every 10 they are locked up. Some animals have chronic long term back and leg complaints because they cannot exercise. Many have wasting digestive diseases from eating tainted meat.

Reference sites:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/archive/zoo-suspects-missing-komodo-dragons-either-eaten-or-stolen/430960/

http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/04/04/yet-another-surabaya-zoo-animal-dies.html

http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/03/15/the-disturbing-state-of-indonesias-zoo-of-death/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthpicturegalleries/9140708/Surabaya-Zoo-animals-kept-in-scandalous-conditions-at-Indonesias-largest-zoo.html

http://media.smh.com.au/news/world-news/the-sorry-state-of-surabaya-zoo-4243087.html

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2010/08/zoo-official-issues-dire-warning-about-the-treatment-of-animals-at-indonesias-surabaya-zoo.html

http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/starved-and-abused-inside-indonesias-nightmare-zoo/story-e6frfq80-1226298813282

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonbin_Surabaya

http://www.theage.com.au/environment/animals/zoo-takes-terrible-toll-on-animals-20130526-2n5ct.html 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/13/surabaya-zoo-indonesia-giraffe_n_1340941.html 

Saturday 8:49pm
The latest news from JAAN (JAKARTA ANIMAL AID NETWORK): “We received an update from the veterinarian at Surabaya Zoo that Melanie has a digestive problem since her birth in the zoo and Melanie is now on a special diet and provided extra vitamins and medicines for the digestive tract and that her condition is somehow slowly improving and that she might be relocated to yet another zoo.”
Chat Conversation End
 [one wonders how the tiger could have reached such a terribly malnourished state before the special diet and vitamin supplements were introduced, but at least it is good that she is now being given some assistance]
Thanks, Antonius, for telling us about this. WTA obviously supports wildlife tourism, but not this kind of wildlife tourism.

National parks in India aim for tiger conservation

Guest post

Top 5 national parks in India which aim for tiger conservation

Jessica Frei

India possesses half of the world’s tiger population, but the astonishing fact is that these ferocious creatures are in grave danger. There are only fewer numbers of tigers left in India that are on the verge of getting extinct from the earth. However, in order to contain the abating population of the tigers, the various government agencies and national parks in India are introducing various conservation programs such as the Project Tiger, nature camps and education at the school level to protect the tigers. Some of the National Parks that have undertaken tiger conservation programs are as follows:

Jim Corbett National Park

The Jim Corbett National park is renowned as one of the first national parks in India from where the ‘Project Tiger’ was initiated. It is also the oldest national park of India. During the 19th century, there were approximately 50000 tigers all across India. In the year 1972, their population decreased alarmingly to 1800 all over India. Deeply concerned by the dwindling number of tigers, the former Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi took some concrete steps to protect these species from the brink of extinction. As a result, Project Tiger was launched on 1st April, 1973 in the Corbett tiger reserve. Since then, there has been no looking back as this particular project is still proving to be successful for the tiger conservation.

Tiger, Photo:  K shreesh

Tiger, Photo: K shreesh

Bandipur National Park

Bandipur National Park is situated in Mysore (Karnataka) that was set up as a tiger reserve in the year 1973, under Project Tiger. The population of tigers in this park has increased considerably, mainly due to the conservation efforts of the National Tiger Conservation Agency, a well-known government agency and scientific monitoring of the tigers. The monitoring of the tigers is done by the amazing technique known as the camera trap. The camera trapping project undertaken by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the involvement of several local people and NGOs has greatly helped in boosting the population of tigers significantly.

Bandhavgarh National Park

The popular Bandhavgarh National Park is located in Umaria (Madhya Pradesh). It was declared a national park in the year 1958. Considering the large percentage of flora and fauna found in the park, it was included in the Project Tiger Network in 1993. The Madhya Pradesh government has launched many conservation efforts in this park with the help of the World Bank (WB). The funds provided by the WB are utilized to develop the necessary infrastructure and training staff for the tiger protection. M.P. Tiger Foundation Society has also been formed that collects funds from the people and NGO’s to safeguard the tigers.

Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park is situated in Sawai Madhopur District (Rajasthan) was declared as the tiger reserve in 1980. The main objective of the park is to protect the tigers and various other flora and fauna of the forest. When the reserve was established, there were many villages in the park that used the forest year for grazing. After the creation of the reserve, the villagers were relocated to another place to shield the wildlife. Many ecodevelopment committees have been formed to protect the forests and the special patrolling is undertaken in the regular area to prevent tigers from poaching.

Panna National Park

Panna National Park is nestled in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh. The park is renowned all over the world as one of the best maintained parks in India. It also got the Award of Excellence in 2007. The park was created in the year 1981 and declared as a tiger reserve in 1994. The reserve boasts of an excellent wireless network that proves to be useful to take quick action in the event of poaching. Fire line maintenance work is carried out every year to prevent any event of fire in the park.

Therefore, the prominent conservation activities undertaken by the national parks in India will really save the tigers and delete their name from the endangered species list.

Author bio-

Jessica frei is a wildlife enthusiast and a blogger too, she likes to travel different national parks and wildlife sanctuaries all over the globe. She is currently in India on her wildlife tour. In this article she is sharing about different national parks which aim to conserve tiger.


Red goshawk and inappropriate birdwatching


Letter from our vice chair re Red goshawk (our rarest raptor) and birdwatchers behaving badly

9 October, 2012
The Hon. Matthew Escott Conlan MLA
PO Box 8599, Alice Springs, NT 0871
[Copies to The Hon. Peter Chandler, the Hon. Bess Nungarrayi Price, and the Hon. Willem Rudolf Westra Van Holthe; Susan Fraser-Adams, Dr. Ronda Green, and Dr. Betty Weiler]

Dear Minister

I am a specialist birding guide working mainly with international markets, mostly American couples. I am also a PhD candidate, my topic being American birdwatchers who travel internationally, and vice-chair of Wildlife Tourism Australia. For some decades I have been taking clients to Mataranka, mostly to see Australia’s rarest bird of prey, a Red Goshawk. A pair nest on private property across the road from the Mataranka Cabins and Caravan Park.

Although the birds seem relatively unaffected by the attention paid to them I monitor my clients’ behaviour strictly. However, that is not always the case with other viewers who may be present in their dozens. While in Mataranka recently the proprietor of the Caravan Park told me that some birders, photographers and tour operators had behaved in ways that made them unwelcome. Some had climbed the fence into the private property and one, according to the proprietor, had even climbed the tree in which the bird nested.

On another occasion several other birders (thirty or forty according to the proprietor) had camped outside their property opposite the nesting tree. That year, according to the proprietor, the birds didn’t raise any young. She said that the police had been called on more than one occasion but had not attended.

Birdwatching tourism is a huge industry, and in the US and Canada it has been a mainstay for small towns in conjunction with cultural, historical and other tourism. But ‘twitchers’ like those mentioned above can wreck a local industry.

I emailed the Caravan Park proprietor suggesting that she and other residents take photos of miscreants that I could post to chatlines, and perhaps shame others into behaving properly. An example of such a posting is at http://g33k5p34k.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/birders-behaving-badly/. When I raised this issue on the Birding Australia chatline one birder told me that he had confronted a couple of photographers who had jumped the fence and positioned themselves between the female goshawk and her nest. I have asked that more birders intervene whenever they see such behaviour.

Another way of tackling such behaviour is for the tourism industry and authorities to target those with broader interests than ‘twitchers’, for example couples, who for reasons I don’t have space to go into here, tend to engage less in this sort of obsessive behaviour.

Yours sincerely

Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow


Marine turtle rehabilitation centre, Australia

Turtle information centre, and a great combination of wildlife conservation, research, education and tourism

Jennie Gilbert and her husband run a large veterinary clinic in Cairns, and Jennie is also a researcher of marine turtles at James Cook University. In 2000, she and fellow marine biologist Paul Barnes started one of Australia’s largest  voluntary  turtle rehabilitation centres with  an attached  interpretation centre presently being built.

Scuba divers coming ashore on Fitzroy Island

I recently visited the turtle rehabilitation centre , on Fitzroy Island, near Cairns, Far North Queensland.

Fitzroy is a beautiful little continental island with fringing reef. Just over an hour’s ferry ride from Cairns, it includes rainforest walks, lovely beaches, mountainous terrain (it is essentially a mountain top with most of the rest of the mountain now covered by sea) and coral you can snorkel amongst just by walking out fro the beach. Not quite as diverse as the outer reef, there are still plenty of species of fish foraging amongst the corals, and I was especially thrilled when a unicorn fish passed close to me.

The turtle hospital is near the best snorkelling area, and when I visited had just two turtles in the tanks (I was told there were a few more at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on the mainland). One – an olive Ridley turtle –  was very badly injured when first brought in  and recovery is taking while.

Green turtle (usually herbivorous) eating a squid at the Turtle Hospital, Fitzroy Island

The other, a green turtle, is doing very well and will probably be released fairly soon. Since green turtles are herbivorous, I was surprised to see her eating squid, but they apparently adapt very readily to that in captivity.

You can easily visit Fitzroy Island as a day-trip from Cairns, but even better you can stay overnight, either at the campground or the very attractive and comfortable Fitzroy Resort

The turtle information centre is due to open a little later this year: keep tuned for a report here from Jennie.

Further reading (on Jennie Gilbert, turtle research and turtle rehabilitation):

http://www.nailsma.org.au/news/20090706.html

http://www.zoominfo.com/#!search/profile/person?personId=1264094801&targetid=profile

Jennie Gilbert with a green turtle on Fitzroy Island. The missing piece of shell on her right hand side will never re-grow, but she has now recovered well from other injuries and is soon to be released )


Tiger tourism banned? Effect on conservation?

 

Tiger tourism banned? Effect on conservation?

India appears to be one of the world’s most active countries in wildlife tourism. Recently however their government has decided to ban one of the most popular activities – tiger tourism –  in core tiger areas.

If this action protects tigers in sensitive areas but still allows tiger-based tourism in other regions, it would seem a good thing. But many think it will backfire and tigers will decline faster as a result.

From Wildlife Extra’swebsite http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/tiger-tourism.html#cr:

Not only common sense but hard facts all support the argument that tourism places a spotlight on tigers and provides constant scrutiny of their health and welfare. Remove this spotlight and the door is left wide open to poachers, illegal loggers and other people who do not have the tiger’s best interest at heart. Tourism in the parks needs better regulation as nobody benefits – neither wildlife nor tourist – from irresponsible driving and over exuberant guides. Banning it altogether though is the final nail in the coffin of the tiger.

Visit  http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/tiger-tourism.html#cr for further details

 

Also see http://www.indianexpress.com/news/ban-on-tourists-free-run-for-poachers/994468/, part of which reads:

Ecotourism is the only sustainable, non-consumptive industry available to communities inhabiting the surroundings of our protected areas. Ecotourism can lower the cost of conservation that is borne primarily by these communities.

I saw a tribal youth, whose livelihood depended on tourism in Kanha, telling a news channel that if his livelihood is taken away, he would have no option but to cut the forest trees and kill tigers or become a Naxalite.

Take the case of African wildlife tourism, which is a significant part of the GDP of many African countries. Empirical evidence is available to prove that the critically endangered gorillas of Rwanda were saved only because of the positive impact of tourism on local economies.

 


Economics of wildlife tourism and conservation

Economics of wildlife tourism and conservation

Emeritus Professor Clem Tisdell of University of Queensland, is one of Australia’s most published authors on economics and a leading expert on the economics of wildlife tourism.  He will be one of the keynote speakers at our national workshop in May and will be staying on for discussion groups – and excellent opprtunity to thrash out some ideas and gain some valuable insights on the economic value of wildlife and how economics and ecological studies might combine for wildlife conservation.

See our interview with Professor Tisdell, and feel free to join in some discussions even now by adding comments below

 

 

 


Is hugging helping or hindering?

Is hugging helping or hindering?

A recent article casts doubt as to whether operations such as walking with lions are really contributing to conservation

There is certainly potential for the tourism dollar to be used for assisting conservation, especially when it brings in animals-lovers and adrenalin-junkies who may not be so inclined to contribute their dollars to less charismatic creatures.  But how much of it is genuine?  The article speaks of human-handled lions becoming problems to humans after release or being rracked by wild lions, and Peter Allison (“Whatever You Do, Don’t Run“) on his Facebook page tells of disturbing examples where animals are released not into the wild but in game parks to be shot by other tourists.

The article perhaps goes a little too far in implying that none of  the animal-encounter experiences assist conservation, but it should make us a little wary. How though does the visitor judge the genuine-ness of conservation claims?


Call for information for bird conservation in Melbourne

Call for information for bird conservation in Melbourne

WTA recently received the following:
“I am representing a lobby group contesting the reversal of a Green Wedge status of piece of land in w. Melbourne. This land is unique for birdlife and we are developing a propoasal for a Nature Park similar to the Pensthorpe in Norfolk. UK. We would like access to advise and research for our submissions.”
Rita Parkinson
I have directed Rita to various published references, but there may be others out there with unpublished data which would be useful.
If so please email Rita with your info and/or submit a comment below
Click here to read about what has been achieved  in Pensthorpe, and here to see a nice example of a suburban Qld birdlife reserve at Eagleby Wetlands, with a media article and   extra photos of it here, and perhaps an indication that it may have increased real estate values in the area (it is certainly being described here as an incentive)

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