How can we protect wildlife through ecotourism?

Conserving wildlife is not an easy task. Many countries like Namibia, use ecotourism as a tool for wildlife conservation, which aims at increasing income and jobs, encourage local people to see the value of wildlife. For example Namibia has initiated national parks as way to protect wild animals and their natural habitats, where hunting is illegal.

Responsible tourism

besides generates extra jobs and income for local people, help to conserve wildlife by making locals value the biodiversity they have. They provide performance payments to communities based on the abundance of wildlife in their area, the program creates a direct correlation between economic empowerment and conservation success. 

Responsible travel in Namibia

must be designedin a way that creates the right incentives to change people’s behavior. Tourism is not a magic tool for conservation, as it can only be effective when done in conjunction with patrolling (game guards) and law enforcement. If local people’s income from tourism increases with greater wildlife sightings by tourists, or decreases with increased illegal hunting or trade, ecotourism can help reduce hunting and protect wildlife. 

If you want to help protect wildlife through tourism, here are some simple things you can do: 

  • Never buy products made from endangered or protected species. 
  • Don’t keep illegally traded animals as pets. 
  • Support conservation programs and support local people outside national parks.
  • Avoid establishments with wild animals kept in captivity if there is no recognized conservation program.

Do you like to hike or bike in the bush? Do you love seeing wildlife when you’re wandering around? Like watching a majestic lizard, or a beautiful bird? 

Well, the love might not be very mutual. In fact, many animals avoid us, even if we don’t mean any harm. Even low-impact outdoor recreation can impact wildlife.

Many animals associate humans with danger and run away or avoid areas with people (unless the animals are used to seeing us around, or even attracted to us because they expect food). Each species; small or big plays a valuable and distinct role in the ecosystem in which it lives.

Some typical impacts of our outdoor activities include;

soil erosion and compaction, damage to vegetation, disturbance to wildlife, water pollution, increased fire frequency and noise.

Our outdoor activities have much more of an effect than we realize. Even seemingly low-impact activities like hiking, biking or bird-watching often affect wildlife.

So how can you made a different when you are doing your outdoor activities? 

To offset these potential harmful impacts of our outdoor activities, we need to make sure animals have enough resources (food, hiding places) available in areas that are further away from hiking trails areas. 

One of the easiest and most effective ways to help wildlife is to preserve the environment in which the animals live.

When we use out door spaces like the bush or nature reserves for recreation, we need to be mindful that we are guests in the homes and territories of animals that live there. Even when we don’t actively try to scare animals, our simple presence can make them avoid certain areas. Wildlife places therefore need to be carefully managed to keep both people and animals happy. And in order to minimize potential harm for wild animals, we need to respect specific rules of the wild places we visit, like staying on trails, not picking plants or feeding wildlife. 

Written by Daniel ZAMBRANO

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