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Tourism for good

Tourism for good

How do we ensure that in our wish to get closer to nature and appreciate wildlife, we do good, rather than harm?

Wildlife tourism can bring many benefits when it is planned and run with care. JGI Global is delighted to have recently approved a new policy on wildlife tourism, setting out our approach and related recommendations, with a particular focus on primates and of course our flagship species chimpanzees, as well as other great apes.

We endorse ‘conservation tourism’[1] which goes well beyond mitigating against potential risks, seeking actively to create conservation gains. This form of tourism ensures that the commercial engagement of visitors benefits wildlife and enhances biodiversity. In doing so in effective partnership with local communities, it can also bring sustainable benefits for people.

We stress the importance of following expert guidance. Guidelines have now been published by the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group Section on Human-Primate Interactions for tourism professionals engaged in primate tourism, as well as for tourists themselves. Adopting these guidelines, as well as the IUCN’s specific best practice guidelines for great ape tourism, will ensure that when you participate in primate watching you always support primate protection and conservation.

Andie Ang, Chair of JGI Singapore and a co-author of the primate-watching guidance, explains:

“These guidelines are intended to guide tourists and tourism professionals in how to responsibly engage in primate-watching, with reference to various primate groups, geographical regions and circumstances. By making this information easily accessible, we hope to increase the benefits of primate-watching in the most appropriate manner possible to promote the conservation of habitats, the well-being of local communities, the economies of the countries where primates occur, as well as the survival of the primates themselves.”

Trophy hunting

Sadly some current wildlife tourism is extremely harmful to animals and damages conservation efforts. Organised hunting tours are an example. The Jane Goodall Institute is opposed to trophy hunting based on ethical, ethological, ecological, and economic concerns.

Dr. Jane Goodall has expressed her concerns over trophy hunting and is backing a UK campaign to ban the import of trophies. Interviewed  by CNN, some time after the killing of Cecil the lion, she explained that, despite some claims that local communities benefit from trophy hunting, this is often negligible, and she raised concerns from a conservation perspective:“The hunter wants to go for the best and the biggest, the longest horn, the longest tusks, the most splended mane, and so this is bound to be having an effect on the long term genetics of the species.” She added: “When you look at that list of animals that you can go and shoot and the price that you have to pay it’s utterly shocking. I find it not surprising that there’s so much violence in our species when you think of the violence perpetrated against animals for no reason at all except to brag.”

Click here to see our new Wildlife Tourism policy.

Click here to learn more about responsible primate watching.

[1] Ralf Buckley, Conservation Tourism, 2010.

Image credit (top) JGI/Fernando Turmo

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