One of the real successes in ecotourism over the past decade or so has been the use of tourist dollars to aid in wildlife conservation. Many countries have discovered that travelers are willing to pay a good deal of money for the opportunity to observe wildlife in its natural habitat, and those funds can go a long way to not only protecting that wildlife, but building an economy as well.
With that in mind, the Times Online has put together a list of ten top wildlife conservation holidays. Each of the trips on this list will not only give us amazing, once in a lifetime, wildlife encounters, but also piece of mind that we are having a positive impact on the animals as well.
On the high end of the scale, travelers can go to Noah’s Ark on the North Island in the Seychelles. For a mere £1200 per night (roughly $1800), you’ll be pampered with your own private villa, complete with plunge pool and butler, a spa, and pristine beaches. And while you lounge in luxury, the resort is using all that money to return the island to its original state, which includes removing invasive species such as rats, brought there by the coconut plantations. Their efforts have already yielded results, with the Seychelles white-eye, an indigenous bird, seeing its population increase by 36% in the last two years.Birds not your thing? Then how about heading to Uganda, where roughly 700 mountain gorillas still exist. Uganda has practically become the model for the use of tourist dollar to protect wildlife with their highly successful gorilla treks. The permits are on the expensive side, but that money goes to protect these noble creatures from poachers, deforestation, and guerillas of a completely different kind. Despite all that, the gorilla population continues to grow, and visitors continue to pay top dollar for a chance to spend just a few hours with them.
There are plenty of other good suggestions for wildlife vacations that help save endangered animals, ranging from black rhinos in Namibia to spectacled bears in Ecuador. Take any one of the trips and go with a clean conscience, knowing that you are having a positive impact on the places you are visiting.