Archive for the ‘Avoiding negative effects on wildlife’ Category


Moto-Safari Australia: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe & Eco-Friendly

Moto-Safari Australia: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe & Eco-Friendly

K.C. Dermody 

K.C. Dermody is an experienced freelance writer dedicated to creating high quality articles, web content, copywriting, e-books and more. She has published work on numerous sites and printed publications including Yahoo! Travel, Sports & News, RunLiveLearn and The Sherpa Report.

Australia is not only a spectacularly beautiful nation, its home to an incredible amount of wildlife, including 450 species of mammals like echidna, koala, kangaroo and kookaburra. What better way to experience it than on the back of a motorcycle?

The Outback

Traveling through Australia’s outback offers the opportunity to travel across open spaces that seem to stretch forever as well as to glimpse wildlife like the red kangaroo, which inhabits Australia’s driest regions, like the deserts of the outback. At the same time, a road trip through this area is not for the inexperienced rider. Be prepared for long distances as well as quickly changing road conditions, fatigue and hazards like animals and road trains.

Avoid riding at night, dawn or dusk as animals are often feeding near roadways at this time. Headlights can blind and panic them, causing the animal to leap towards it. If you hit a kangaroo, wild pig or cattle, the most frequently encountered animals in the outback, it could not only total your bike, you might end up seriously injured or worse.

Carrying plenty of water and filling water containers at every opportunity is a must, and when traveling through any remote area, riders should also inform authorities of their destination, route and arrival time.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is home to some fascinating wildlife, as well as some of the most dangerous, like fresh and saltwater crocodiles [editor's note: freshwater crocs are not man-eaters, but could give a damaging bite if handled or cornered]. This means you’ll want to be extra-cautious at water crossings, looking carefully before proceeding without rushing in. During the wet season, from November through April, water levels can rise quickly and the force of that water is often stronger than you might think. If you get stuck between two rivers, it’s best to wait it out as water levels often go down just as fast as they came up.

This area is also home to snakes, spiders, mosquitoes and other biting insects, so be sure and wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes, particularly when venturing on off-road trails.

Australian Alps

Located in the country’s southeast region, the Australian Alps are home to a number of endangered creatures like the alpine skink and mountain pygmy possums. Kangaroos, wallabies and corroboree frogs can be found living in the granite landscape of Namadgi National Park. The summit of Australia’s highest peak, there are 20 plant species found nowhere else on earth.

As the weather here can change quickly, particularly when climbing in altitude, you may want to pack a pair of leather pants to help keep you warm, as well as some thermal underwear.

Safety

With that in mind, it’s important to be well-prepared for your exotic motorcycle journey in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Bringing a helmet is essential and required by law in Australia. At the same time, you don’t want your helmet to interfere with your experience of seeing animals and the beauty all around you, which means purchasing a helmet with protection along with high visibility is really a must.

When you encounter wildlife, use common sense by keeping a safe distance and never feed them. If animals, like kangaroos or wallabies get used to being fed, they may start approaching people with the expectation of receiving food, and when there isn’t any, they can become aggressive. Be sure to follow all guidelines and best practices for wildlife conservation when you travel.

 

Heroic Tourism

Heroic Tourism

Heroic tourism“Saving the world one holiday at a time”

Two environmental graduates, Gemma Lunn and Jessie Panazzolo have recently uncovered a new and exciting method of achieving global conservation through nothing more than mass tourism and some changed perspectives. Heroic Tourism is defined as the art of saving the world whilst travelling and it stresses that becoming a tourism hero is no more difficult than deciding which pair of socks to put on. The fundamental difference to sock choices is that heroic tourism aids in not footwear decisions but rather decisions on what tourism ventures tourists should be and shouldn’t be partaking in, with the intentions of education and good decision making influencing a few saved animals and ecosystems here and there.

Heroic Tourism currently stands as a website (www.heroictourism.com) and a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heroic-Tourism/283099415225246), both of which have been developed to provide all the knowledge needed to make conservation conscious decisions while on holiday.

The theory behind Heroic Tourism is that western societies contribute to supporting a vast array of tourism ventures worldwide, and thus with the right decisions, ethical tourist destinations can be supported and thus some unique wildlife and habitats may have a chance of survival.

Many critically endangered animals all around the world are currently being negatively impacted by tourism such as endemic Madagascan lemurs, Asian elephants and many many more species which fall threat to tourism ventures such as feeding parks and elephant rides.

Hopefully with Heroic Tourism, people will have all the tools needed to choose the right venture to suit their holiday, and also the lives of animals and habitats on a global scale.

So check out Heroic Tourism and be a hero, save the world on your next holiday!


Wildlife Tourism Workshop in Sydney, November 2014

Wildlife tourism and conservation of biodiversity in parks

Download a flyer here: workshopflyer_printversion

Viewing a king parrot in Lamington National Park near O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, photo by Araucaria Ecotours

Viewing a king parrot in Lamington National Park near O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, photo by Araucaria Ecotours

This workshop is a parallel event of the World Parks Congress, and will be held the day before the  Congress begins

2.00 – 5.00pm, 11 November 2014, meet in the foyer on the ground floor of Office of Environment and Heritage at 59 Goulburn Street (a short walk from Central Station, Sydney)

How to get there

See http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/whoweare/travel.htm

If coming from Olympic Park (venue for World Parks Congress) visit http://www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au/maps/getting-to-the-park).

This event is a half-day workshop organised jointly by Wildlife Tourism Australia Inc. and the Office of Environment and Heritage, New South Wales.

All welcome, no cost, but please RSVP by 31 October. Light refreshments will be available for afternoon tea. There will be an optional networking lunch and/or dinner (at own cost) in nearby restaurant/s – details TBA.

Topics will be briefly presented, and delegates will discuss the following questions in groups of up to 8 participants, then all will come together in a final plenary discussion to share ideas and information.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • how can we ensure the conservation of biodiversity as more people flock to our national parks, expecting new kinds of activities and facilities (e.g. accommodation within the parks)
  • how can we best use both old and new technologies for low-impact wildlife viewing that will delight the visitor and enhance understanding of wildlife behaviour and ecology?
  • under what circumstances should interaction with wildlife be allowed within or near parks?
  • what research is most urgently needed in the next five to ten years to ensure adequate conservation of biodiversity, and how can Wildlife Tourism Australia’s research network best contribute to this?
Shingleback skink, Currawinya National Park. Photo Araucaria Ecotours

Shingleback skink, Currawinya National Park. Photo Araucaria Ecotours

These topics will be especially relevant to the WPC theme of “Reaching Conservation Goals,” with some overlap with most other streams. It is anticipated that at least some of the delegates at this event will also be attending WPC, and these discussions will help crystallise some ideas on problems and potential solutions concerning wildlife and tourism in parks, to be further discussed during the Congress.

 

Relevant websites:

 

Contact:

  • Dr Ronda J Green, Chair, Wildlife Tourism Australia Inc. (also proprietor of Araucaria Ecotours and Adjunct Research Fellow at Environmental Futures, Griffith University. Email: chair@wildlifetourismaustralia.org.au Ph 07 55441283 or 0447 077725
  • Dr Isabelle Wolf, Research and Analysis Officer, Customer Experience Division, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Office of Environment and Heritage; Adjunct Associate Lecturer, Centre of Ecosystem Science, University of New South Wales Emailisabelle.wolf@environment.nsw.gov.au Ph 02 9585 6672

Logo Parallel Partner IUCN WPC Logo SMALL

wta-logo-b                            NSWParks_logo


An Eco-Friendly Travel Guide to Australia

An Eco-friendly Travel Guide to Austraia

by Dustin Casey

(Dustin is a corporate travel agent who spends his free time seeing foreign lands and writing about his experiences)

To protect Australian wildlife, we must protect our environment as well. The sustainable development and survival of wildlife depends on a vibrant and thriving ecosystem (and vice versa). Whether you’re about to tour the Australian rainforest or get up close and personal with the big red kangaroo, an eco-conscious trip will help ensure that this country’s beautiful natural habitats and creatures continue to thrive. Help support wildlife conservation by participating in eco-tourism in the following ways:

Green Lodging

Green hotels are eco-friendly properties that support environment sustainability, including water conservation and energy reduction. Green practices like water-saving techniques and waste recycling programs can help preserve the natural habitats that are home to Australia’s beloved wildlife.

For example, every month in the U.S., the New Orleans InterContinental recycling program kept $1,000 worth of establishment-related materials, such as napkins and towels, out of waste streams, according to the Green Hotels Association. Similarly, a Chicago Hyatt experienced waste hauling reduction by 80 percent.

Search for hotels that are committed to using energy-saving measures such as LED light bulbs, low-energy lighting, low-flow shower heads and toilets, solar-heated amenities, composting and local food sourcing. For luxurious eco-lodging in Australia, Greenbang.com spotlights the Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa, Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island and Allawah Retreat. Explore more green hotels and eco-friendly lodgings by visiting itsagreengreenworld.com.

Illegal Trading

Town locals may attempt to illegally sell you historic artifacts, items from endangered species or even living organisms, such as flora or fauna. Not only is trading flora and fauna a risk to biodiversity, it’s an environmental crime.

The importation and exportation of exotic and native species threatens Australia’s wildlife, agriculture and ecological communities. As you explore villages, be aware of dealers who may try to sell you prohibited and restricted goods. Visit Australian Customs and Border Protection Services for more information on restricted imports, such as heritage goods from Papua New Guinea, cosmetics and even credit cards. In addition to counterfeit credit cards, thieves may target a vulnerable traveler and try to steal personal information by “shoulder surfing.” Visit Lifelock for information on shoulder surfing and other scams that could quickly end your green vacation.

Eco-Tourism Steps

Make a difference with even the smallest eco-tourism efforts:

  • Embark on your trip with the bare essentials and challenge yourself to simple day-to-day living
  • Feast on local cuisine and home-grown produce from farmers markets; in the words of Beautiful Accommodation’s Travel Blog, become a “locavore”
  • Use green transportation, such as the Indian Pacific, Ghan and XPT trains, Greyhound Australia bus or Coral Princess boat
  • Participate in cultural traditions and become immersed in local music and art; embracing and understanding a local region’s culture helps support their way of life
  • Volunteer at an orphanage, help clean up a community affected by a natural disaster or give back to local communities by donating school supplies or other basic necessities

Opening up Queensland’s National Parks for Ecotourism

Daves Creek Country

Daves Creek Country, Lamington National Park (photo: Araucaria Ecotours)

Opening up Queensland’s National Parks for Ecotourism

None of our national parks are currently closed to ecotourism, so the thrust of the new policies and legislation are to open up the national parks to new activities and facilities, and to streamline the bureaucratic processes for permits

http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/tourism/quest/index.html

Our challenge now will be to develop innovative ways of showcasing our wildlife and ecosystems to attract visitors but not impinge on the biodiversity our parks are currently protecting

Feel free to offer comments below, including the questions we should be asking and  the kind of research and monitoring that should accompany such ‘opening up.’


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.

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


Habituation of wildlife to tourists

Tourism and wildlife habituation: Reduced population fitness or cessation of impact?

An interesting new article in Tourism Management 2011 - in what circumstances is habituation to humans  a negative or a positive effect on wildlife?

New book on Animal Ethics and Welfare

Animal Ethics in Context

A new book by Clare Palmer, “Animal ethics in context” poses many questions and discusses what our ethical obligations might be towards domestic and wild animals. The book is available as a mail order from Andrew Isles. She suggests for instance that where we as humans have disturbed animals or their habitat we owe some moral obligation, but not when animals are living independently in the wild, and that different contexts need different considerations in working out what our obligations should be.


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