tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/xml/tourism1 tourism news from mongabay.com 2014-07-09T17:20:02Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13512 2014-07-09T12:59:00Z 2014-07-09T17:20:02Z Stuff of fairy tales: stepping into Europe's last old-growth forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0709.bison-bialowieza-forest-photo-by-lukasz-mazurek-wildpoland-com-07.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There is almost nothing left of Europe's famed forests, those that provided for human communities for millennia and gave life to the world's most famous fairytales. But straddling the border between Poland and Belarus, the Bialowieza Forest is Europe's last lowland old-growth forest, parts of which have never been cut by man. Jeremy Hance 52.776516 23.876829 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13361 2014-06-09T14:02:00Z 2014-06-09T21:19:36Z Bears, cats, and mystery mammals: camera traps in 'paper park' prove its worth protecting <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0609.habitatid.Sun-bear.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Can a single photograph change the fate of a park? A new conservation group, HabitatID, believes so, and is putting this belief into action. Setting up camera traps in Cambodia's Virachey National Park, the group hopes that photos of charismatic and endangered species will help reinvigorate protection for a park that has been abandoned by conservation groups and underfunded by the government. Jeremy Hance 14.297357 107.049167 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12821 2014-02-25T00:53:00Z 2014-02-27T01:16:16Z Ecotourism pays: study finds lower poverty where nature-based tourism is prevalent <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/cr/150/costa_rica_aerial_0375.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new study has quantified a point long advocated by advocates of setting aside protected areas: ecotourism pays. The research, published in <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i> (PNAS), finds that communities neighboring conservation areas in Costa Rica had lower rates of poverty relative to other areas. Rhett Butler 10.310697 -84.796779 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12479 2013-12-03T22:10:00Z 2013-12-03T23:27:40Z Sri Lankan elephant amnesty will lead to poaching, warn conservationists <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/elephant150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Environmentalists have responded with alarm to a proposed amnesty permitting the registration of illegally captured elephants in Sri Lanka. Recent reports in Sri Lankan media have outlined the proposal, stating that during the amnesty period it would be possible to register elephant calves for a fee of about $7,600. Elephants are closely linked with Sri Lankan history and culture, and are considered sacred in both Buddhism and Hinduism. But the situation for elephants in the country is complicated. Tiffany Roufs 7.656553 80.703735 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12356 2013-11-11T23:25:00Z 2013-11-12T00:27:52Z Lao ecotourism project wins responsible travel award for innovation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1111-laos150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>An ecotourism project in a remote part of Laos has won the prestigious World Responsible Tourism Award for Best for Responsible Wildlife Experience. The Nam Nern Night Safari, an ecotour in Lao PDR's Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area in Houaphan Province, was recognized by the World Travel Mart for its innovative approach to generating benefits for local communities. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12209 2013-10-16T18:47:00Z 2013-10-17T15:34:24Z Nature tours in Costa Rica: an economic alternative to palm oil? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1016Image-2-Owners150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Oil palm plantations have been rapidly expanding across the tropics for the better part of the past twenty years due to high returns from palm oil production. But palm oil isn't necessarily the most profitable form of land use in wildlife-rich areas, as one conservation entrepreneur is demonstrating in Costa Rica.David Lando Ramirez, a landowner in Sarapiqui, northeastern Costa Rica, has converted a small patch of oil palm into a thriving ecotourism business centered around people's love of the Central American nation's stunning diversity of birds. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12208 2013-10-16T18:24:00Z 2013-10-16T19:47:05Z Mammal-watching: one man's obsession to see the world's mammals <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1016mammals150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There are more than 5,000 different mammal species across the globe, but with this number being dwarfed by the 10,000 bird species, it is little wonder that bird-watching has become the most common wildlife watching hobby in the world. While there are thousands of websites dedicated to ornithology enthusiasts, with information detailing the best places to see particular species and how to find them, similar resources about mammals remain scarce. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11863 2013-08-01T14:24:00Z 2013-08-04T13:50:30Z The iguana man: saving the reptilian kings of the Bahamas <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0801.figginsi_Bitter-Guana.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Before the arrival of humans&#8212;with their dogs, cats, and wild pigs&#8212;the northern Bahamian rock iguana ruled its home range, being pound-for-pound among the biggest land animals on the islands. In these ecosystems, the iguana's were the mega-grazers, the bison and elk of the Caribbean one might say. But hunting by humans, invasive species, and habitat loss knocked the king from its throne: pushing it into smaller habitats and decimating its population. Today the three subspecies of the northern Bahamian rock iguana (Cyclura cychlura) hang by a thread. And now a new threat is rising: poorly-regulated tourism, including iguana feeding. Jeremy Hance 23.739332 -77.853459 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11787 2013-07-18T15:49:00Z 2013-08-04T17:59:18Z The hidden Caribbean: sustainable tourism arrives in the Dominican Republic <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/jlh/dominican-republic/150/DR-jlh-648.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Finding true ecotourism companies isn't easy. While the tourism industry worldwide has latched onto the term 'ecotourism,' in many cases it's more propaganda than reality. Especially in heavily-touristed areas&#8212;like the Caribbean Islands&#8212;it's difficult to find efforts that are actually low impact, sustainable as possible, and educational. However, some companies are beginning to make headway in a region known for all-inclusive resorts and big cruises. One such company is the relatively young Explora! Ecotour in the Dominican Republic, run by passionate naturalists, Manny Jimenes and Olyenka Sang. Jeremy Hance 18.018324 -71.725287 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11528 2013-05-30T16:29:00Z 2013-05-30T16:38:50Z Saving Gorongosa: E.O. Wilson on protecting a biodiversity hotspot in Mozambique <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0530.gorgongosa.wilson.2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>If you fly over the Great African Rift Valley from its northernmost point in Ethiopia, over the great national parks of Kenya and Tanzania, and follow it south to the very end, you will arrive at Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique. Plateaus on the eastern and western sides of the park flank the lush valley in the center. Dramatic limestone cliffs, unexplored caves, wetlands, vast grasslands, rivers, lakes, and a patchwork of savanna and forest contribute to the incredible diversity of this park. What makes this place truly unique, however, is Mount Gorongosa&#8212;a towering massif that overlooks the valley below. Jeremy Hance -18.890695 34.573059 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11470 2013-05-23T00:52:00Z 2013-05-23T17:02:49Z Luxury nature travel with a philanthropic twist <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/100/0523lions150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A hundred years ago, nature-oriented travel to places like tropical Africa and Asia was often associated with big game hunting. Today cameras have mostly replaced guns as nature-lovers travel to the far-reaches of the globe to see wildlife, experience rugged mountains, and explore remote beaches. But nature-based travel isn't necessarily ecotourism &#8212; there can be detrimental social and environmental impacts from tourism. While most people associate these problems with mass-market tourism, they can also result from low-volume, high-end travel that fails to respect local customs, supports abusive practices, or encourages wantonly wasteful resource consumption. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11409 2013-05-13T14:09:00Z 2014-03-03T14:51:46Z Why responsible tourism is the key to saving the mountain gorilla <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0512.gorilla.Picture-credit-Nick-Hoggett.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The sunlight poured through the canopy, casting dappled shade over Makara, a large silverback mountain gorilla, as he cast his eyes around the forest clearing, checking on the members of his harem. A female gorilla reclined on a bank of dense vegetation of the most brilliant green, clutching her three day old infant close to her chest, and elsewhere, two juvenile gorillas played around a small tree, running rings around it until one crashed into the other and they rolled themselves into a roly-poly ball of jet black fluff that came to a halt a few meters in front of our delighted group. Jeremy Hance -1.022704 29.709377 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11150 2013-04-02T16:37:00Z 2014-02-28T10:06:52Z Proposed coal plant threatens Critically Endangered Philippine cockatoo <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0402.Philippine-Cockatoo-photo-Peter-Widmann,-kfi.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>One kilometer off the Philippine island of Palawan lies the Rasa Island Wildlife Sanctuary; here forest grows unimpeded from a coral island surrounded by mangroves and coral reefs. Although tiny, over a hundred bird species have been recorded on the island along with a major population of large flying foxes, while in the waters below swim at least 130 species of coral fish, three types of marine turtles, and that curious-looking marine mammal, dugongs. Most importantly, perhaps, the island is home to the world's largest population of Philippine cockatoos (Cacatua haematuropygia), currently listed as Critically Endangered. But, although uninhabited by people, Rasa Island may soon be altered irrevocably by human impacts. Jeremy Hance 9.22276 118.443933 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10375 2012-11-08T21:22:00Z 2012-11-12T22:52:16Z Tanzania weighs new soda ash plant in prime flamingo territory <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/12/800px-Phoenicopterus_minor_-Lake_Bogoria,_Kenya-8a.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In a choice between flamingoes and a soda ash plant, a new report shows that local residents near Lake Natron, Tanzania prefer flamingoes. This is good news for conservationists as the area is the most important breeding site in the world for lesser flamingos (Phoenicopterus minor). While the report shows agreement between residents and conservation groups that the project isn't worth its cost or risk, the Tanzanian government is not giving up yet. Jeremy Hance -2.372369 36.034927 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10272 2012-10-15T16:51:00Z 2012-10-15T17:13:32Z Chinese forest activist arrested for self-publishing books An award-winning forest activist, Liu Futang, is facing trial in China for printing books without the proper licenses, even though he says he gave most of the self-published books away for free. In April, Futang won Best Citizen Journalist in China's Environmental Press Awards for covering deforestation Hainan province on his blog. Seven months later and the 63-year-old, who suffers from diabetes, could face five years in prison. Jeremy Hance 19.280036 109.86145 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9875 2012-07-23T11:27:00Z 2014-04-24T12:56:46Z Saving 'Avatar Grove': the battle to preserve old-growth forests in British Columbia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/Ancient_Forest_Clearcut_Photo_TJ_Watt.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A picture is worth a thousand words: this common adage comes instantly to mind when viewing T.J. Watt's unforgettable photos of lost trees. For years, Watt has been photographing the beauty of Vancouver Island's ancient temperate rainforests, and documenting their loss to clearcut logging. The photographer and environmental activist recently helped co-found the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA), a group devoted to saving the island's and British Columbia's (BC) last old-growth while working with the logging industry to adopt sustainable practices. This February the organization succeeded in saving Avatar Grove&#8212;which was only discovered in 2009&#8212;from being clearcut. The grove, a rare stand of massive and ancient trees named after the popular eco science-fiction movie, has become a popular tourist destination, providing a new economic incentive for communities to protect rather than cut Canada's last great forests. Jeremy Hance 49.639177 -125.388794 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9608 2012-06-04T14:19:00Z 2012-06-04T14:37:05Z The vanishing Niger River imperils tourism and livelihoods in the desert <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/hamada.Mar-08-2012_0486_edited-1.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Severely affected by recent turmoil across its northern frontiers, Nigerien tourism pins hope on river valley attractions to play a major role in rebuilding its tourism industry in the upcoming years. Even though the river itself is threatened. Located in the heart of the Sahel Region, the vast desert lands of Niger have captivated European tourists seeking a taste of its immensely varied natural landscapes. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9434 2012-04-25T15:37:00Z 2013-02-24T01:49:08Z New reptile discovered in world's strangest archipelago <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/_FP21048.socotra.newskink.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Few people have ever heard of the Socotra Archipelago even though, biologically-speaking, it is among the world's most wondrous set of islands. Over one third of Socotra's plants are found no-where else on Earth, i.e. endemic, while 90 percent of its reptiles are also endemic. Adding to its list of unique life-forms, researchers have recently uncovered a new skink species that is found only on the island of Abd al Kuri, which is slightly smaller than New York City's Staten Island. Dubbed the "the other Galapagos," the four Socotra islands are under the jurisdiction of Yemen, although geographically speaking the islands are actually closer to Somalia. Jeremy Hance 12.183663 52.272949 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9324 2012-03-28T16:46:00Z 2012-04-04T12:05:33Z Turkey's rich biodiversity at risk <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/turkey.cagan.raptor.IMG_1449.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Turkey: the splendor of the Hagia Sophia, the ruins of Ephesus, and the bizarre caves of the Cappadocia. For foreign travelers, Turkey is a nation of cultural, religious, and historic wonders: a place where cultures have met, clashed, and co-created. However, Turkey has another wealth that is far less known: biodiversity. Of the globe's 34 biodiversity hotspots, Turkey is almost entirely covered by three: the Caucasus, the Irano-Anatolian, and the Mediterranean. Despite its wild wealth, conservation is not a priority in Turkey and recent papers in Science and Biological Conservation warn that the current development plans in the country, which rarely take the environment into account, are imperiling its species and ecosystems. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9281 2012-03-19T22:26:00Z 2012-03-19T22:38:06Z Cambodia sells off national park for city-sized pleasure resorts The Cambodian government has handed over nearly 20 percent of Botum Sakor National Park to a Chinese real-estate firm building a massive casino and resorts in the middle of pristine rainforest, reports Reuters. The city-sized resorts, costing $3.8 billion, will include a 64 kilometers highway, an airport, hotels, and golf courses. Botum Sakur is home to a number of endangered species including the pileated gibbon (Hylobates pileatus) and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9182 2012-02-27T13:25:00Z 2012-02-27T14:42:18Z Tourism for biodiversity in Tambopata <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/faunaforever.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Research and exploration in the Neotropics are extraordinary, life-changing experiences. In the past two decades, a new generation of collaborative projects has emerged throughout Central and South America to provide access to tropical biodiversity. Scientists, local naturalists, guides, students and travelers now have the chance to mingle and share knowledge. Fusion programs offering immersion in tropical biology, travel, ecological field work, and adventure often support local wilderness preservation, inspire and educate visitors. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9058 2012-02-05T22:01:00Z 2012-02-05T22:20:47Z Price of gorilla permit increases to $750/day Rwanda has raised the price of a permit to see mountain gorillas to $750 per day starting June 1, 2012, up from $500. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9031 2012-01-30T20:12:00Z 2012-01-30T20:48:41Z Saving the world's biggest river otter <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/giantriverotterinterview.L93_Cierre.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Charismatic, vocal, unpredictable, domestic, and playful are all adjectives that aptly describe the giant river otter (<i>Pteronura brasiliensis</i>), one of the Amazon's most spectacular big mammals. As its name suggest, this otter is the longest member of the weasel family: from tip of the nose to tail's end the otter can measure 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. Living in closely-knit family groups, sporting a complex range of behavior, and displaying almost human-like capricious moods, the giant river otter has captured a number of researchers and conservationists' hearts, including Dutch conservationist Jessica Groenendijk. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9032 2012-01-30T18:20:00Z 2012-01-30T18:22:06Z Picture of the day: the world's largest bromeliad Found in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia, the world's biggest bromeliad Puya raimondii is imperiled by climate change and human disturbances. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8872 2011-12-19T21:44:00Z 2011-12-19T23:14:10Z The other side of the Penan story: threatened tribe embraces tourism, reforestation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/penan.bate.Kapor-Species-3-Weeks.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>News about the Penan people is usually bleak. Once nomadic hunter-gatherers of the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo, the indigenous Penan have suffered decades of widespread destruction of their forests and an erosion of their traditional culture. Logging companies, plantation developments, massive dams, and an ambivalent government have all played a role in decimating the Penan, who have from time-to-time stood up to loggers through blockades, but have not been successful in securing recognition of legal rights to their traditional lands. Yet even as the Penan people struggle against the destruction of their homelands, they are not standing still. Several Penan villages have recently begun a large-scale reforestation program, a community tourism venture, and proclaimed their a portion of their lands a "Peace Park." Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8730 2011-11-23T18:28:00Z 2011-11-23T18:37:27Z Ecotourism isn't bad for wildlife in the Amazon Ecotourism doesn't hurt biodiversity, and in some cases may even safeguard vulnerable areas, concludes a new study from the Amazon in Mammalian Biology. Surveying large mammals in an ecotourism area in Manu National Biosphere, the researchers found that ecotourists had no effect on the animals. However, the researchers warn that not all ecotourism is the same, and some types may, in fact, hurt the very animals tourists come to see. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8694 2011-11-15T18:52:00Z 2011-11-15T19:04:32Z Animal picture of the day: tracking the world's smallest elephant <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/borneoelephanttracking.Picture11.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Researchers have fitted three Bornean elephants with satellite collars to track them across the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Malaysian state of Sabah, Borneo. The effort means currently five elephants are being tracked. The tracking is a part of a collaborative effort by the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), the NGO HUTAN, and the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC). Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8445 2011-09-27T16:08:00Z 2011-09-27T16:34:03Z Kenya should embrace living with nature as the model for a healthier, wealthier nation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/kahumbu.kids-at-Nicksons.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Hundreds of thousands of Kenyans are supporting government efforts to enact progressive new policies through its Vision 2030 initiative as it promises to lift us out of a depressed economy and to take us onto a path to becoming a prosperous developed nation. For this to occur, development must be sustainable &#8212;but for now what the people want and need most is for the basic necessities for life to be assured like adequate water, sanitation, energy, health, education, homes, and jobs. It is unfortunate that some of our leaders are mistaken in believing that this means Kenya should look like USA or Europe with concrete cities and mega highways, speed trains, and artificial gardens&#8212;it will all be at the cost of our spectacular natural environment and wildlife heritage. Kenya hardly has any natural resources, what we have is wilderness and wildlife. For Kenya to stand apart, she must aspire to safeguard the environment and protect forests and wildlife as a central means of to attaining this sustainable development goal. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8261 2011-08-08T19:31:00Z 2012-12-02T22:33:11Z Balancing agriculture and rainforest biodiversity in India’s Western Ghats <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/liontailedmacaque.kalyan.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>When one thinks of the world's great rainforests the Amazon, Congo, and the tropical forests of Southeast Asia and Indonesia usually come to mind. Rarely does India&#8212;home to over a billion people&#8212;make an appearance. But along India’s west coast lies one of the world's great tropical forests and biodiversity hotspots, the Western Ghats. However it's not just the explosion of life one finds in the Western Ghats that make it notable, it's also the forest's long&#8212;and ongoing&#8212;relationship to humans, lots of humans. Unlike many of the world's other great rainforests, the Western Ghats has long been a region of agriculture. This is one place in the world where elephants walk through tea fields and tigers migrate across betel nut plantations. While wildlife has survived alongside humans for centuries in the region, continuing development, population growth and intensification of agriculture are putting increased pressure on this always-precarious relationship. In a recent paper in Biological Conservation, four researchers examine how well agricultural landscapes support biodiversity conservation in one of India's most species-rich landscapes. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8153 2011-07-13T19:40:00Z 2011-07-14T18:02:10Z Viable population of snow leopards still roam Afghanistan (pictures) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/SL-1-August-24-09-(2).150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Decades of war and poverty has not exterminated snow leopards (Panthera uncia) in Afghanistan according to a new paper in the International Journal of Environmental Studies, written by researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Instead the researchers report a healthy population of the world's most elusive big cat in Afghanistan's remote and peaceful Wakhan Corridor region. Monitored by camera trap in the region, WCS researchers were able to identify 30 snow leopards in 16 different locations. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8131 2011-07-10T20:34:00Z 2011-07-10T20:36:53Z Newest country boasts one of the world's greatest wildlife spectacles, but protection needed <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/P2_2U5Q2300_ed_tr_GirBand_PElkan.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>At midnight local time on Friday, South Sudan became the world's newest nation. As celebrations continue in the new capital of Juba and congratulations come from every corner of the globe, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is urging the newborn nation to protect its ecosystems and rich wildlife in order to build a sustainable and forward-looking economy. Home to the world's second largest land migration, South Sudan boasts an abundance of African megafauna that is becoming increasingly rare throughout much of the continent. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8073 2011-06-27T21:29:00Z 2011-06-28T15:40:10Z How do tourists view the Serengeti? Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, an immense expanse of East African savanna, is a world famous tourist destination because of its plentiful megafauna, particularly the great migrating herds of wildebeest. Yet despite huge visitor numbers and the annual revenue of millions of US dollars, local poverty and increasing population continue to imperil the reserve. A new study in mongabay.com's open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science found that while tourists to the Serengeti overall report a high degree of satisfaction with their trip, they are concerned about the future of the ecosystem. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8009 2011-06-12T19:24:00Z 2012-12-02T22:33:29Z Environment versus economy: local communities find economic benefits from living next to conservation areas <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/sims.Thai07-125.150.jpg " align="left"/></td></tr></table>While few would question that conserving a certain percentage of land or water is good for society overall, it has long been believed that protected areas economically impoverish, rather than enrich, communities living adjacent to them. Many communities worldwide have protested against the establishment of conservation areas near them, fearing that less access and increased regulations would imperil their livelihoods. However, a surprising study overturns the common wisdom: showing that, at least in Thailand and Costa Rica, protected areas actually boost local economies and decrease poverty. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7791 2011-04-27T02:52:00Z 2011-04-27T03:02:21Z Rise in wildlife tourism in India comes with challenges A line of tourist jeeps clogs the road in a dry forest, as all eyes—and cameras—are on a big cat ambling along the road ahead; when the striped predator turns for a moment to face the tourists, voices hush and cameras flash: this is a scene that over the past decade has becoming increasingly common in India. A new study in <i>Conservation Letters</i> surveyed ten national parks in India and found that attendance had increased on average 14.9% from 2002-2006, but while rising nature tourism in India comes with education and awareness opportunities, it also brings problems. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7743 2011-04-14T19:13:00Z 2011-04-19T21:37:53Z From the Serengeti to Lake Natron: is the Tanzanian government aiming to destroy its wildlife and lands? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/lesserflamingoes.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>What's happening in Tanzania? This is a question making the rounds in conservation and environmental circles. Why is a nation that has so much invested in its wild lands and wild animals willing to pursue projects that appear destined not only to wreak havoc on the East African nation's world-famous wildlife and ecosystems, but to cripple its economically-important tourism industry? The most well known example is the proposed road bisecting Serengeti National Park, which scientists, conservationists, the UN, and foreign governments alike have condemned. But there are other concerns among conservationists, including the fast-tracking of soda ash mining in East Africa's most important breeding ground for millions of lesser flamingo, and the recent announcement to nullify an application for UNESCO Heritage Status for a portion of Tanzania's Eastern Arc Mountains, a threatened forest rich in species found no-where else. According to President Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania is simply trying to provide for its poorest citizens (such as communities near the Serengeti and the Eastern Arc Mountains) while pursuing western-style industrial development. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7607 2011-03-20T17:59:00Z 2011-03-20T19:46:02Z Pet trade, palm oil, and poaching: the challenges of saving the 'forgotten bear' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/neme.sunbear.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Siew Te Wong is one of the few scientists who study sun bears (<i>Ursus malayanus</i>). He spoke with Laurel Neme on her "The WildLife" radio show and podcast about the interesting biological characteristics of this rare Southeast Asian bear, threats to the species and what is being done to help them. Sun bears are the smallest of the eight bear species. They’re about half the size of a North American black bear and typically sport a tan crescent on their chests. Similar to the "moon bear," or Asian black bear, the sun bear’s name comes from this marking, which looks like a rising or setting sun. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7597 2011-03-16T22:57:00Z 2011-03-16T23:00:22Z Serengeti road project opposed by 'powerful' tour company lobby Government plans to build a road through Serengeti National Park came up against more opposition this week as the Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators (Tato) came out against the project, reports <i>The Citizen</i>. Tato, described as powerful local lobby group by the Tanzanian media, stated that the road would hurt tourism and urged the government to select a proposed alternative route that would by-pass the park. Tato's opposition may signal a shift to more local criticism of the road as opposition against the project has come mostly from international environmentalists, scientists, and governments. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7488 2011-02-24T22:11:00Z 2012-12-02T22:35:01Z Parks key to saving India's great mammals from extinction <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/karanth.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Krithi Karanth grew up amid India's great mammals—literally. Daughter of conservationist and scientist Dr. Ullas Karanth, she tells mongabay.com that she saw her first wild tigers and leopard at the age of two. Yet, the India Krithi Karanth grew up in may be gone in a century, according to a massive new study by Karanth which looked at the likelihood of extinction for 25 of India's mammals, including well-known favorites like Bengal tigers and Asian elephants, along with lesser known mammals (at least outside of India) such as the nilgai and the gaur. The study found that given habitat loss over the past century, extinction stalked seven of India's mammals especially: Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers, wild dogs (also known as dholes), swamp deer, wild buffalo, Nilgiri Tahr, and the gaur. However, increasing support of protected areas and innovative conservation programs outside of parks would be key to saving India's wildlife in the 21st Century. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7388 2011-02-02T23:37:00Z 2011-02-03T00:06:43Z Paradise & Paradox: a semester in Ecuador <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/michael.marine.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A semester abroad is an opportunity to live a sort of compacted life. In a few short months you seem to gain the experience of a much longer time and make enough memories to fill years. I recall a weeklong trip to the Alvord Desert with a field biology class from Portland Community College: the adventure of living out of a van, conducting research, and experiencing a place with classmates turned colleagues and professors turned friends who knew the desert like the backs of their hands. In that regard, it had a lot in common with my semester in Ecuador, but I can't think of anything that could have prepared me for a four month stay in a small South American country that I knew very little about. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/6571 2010-08-03T15:14:00Z 2010-08-03T15:21:19Z Camp merges technology and conservation for local students From July 23-25, Taiwanese undergraduates held a camp in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, that taught local high school students to use technology as a conservation tool. The Taiwanese volunteers aimed to help local people in this popular rainforest tourism destination to use the Internet to research and promote sustainable tourism practices. The high school students, who had no formal training in using the Internet, learned to use email, produce a blog, conduct research, and use GPS devices to create a map of part of the local trail system. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/6284 2010-06-15T21:42:00Z 2010-06-15T21:51:00Z Wildlife-rich river threatened by sand-dredging in Borneo The Kinabatangan River in Malaysian Borneo is home to a fabulous wealth of species, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and a sizeable population of the world's smallest elephant, the Borneo pygmy elephant. While local politicians have stated numerous times that the ecology of the river will be protected, locals are reporting a number of legally sanctioned sang dredging operations on the river. Dredging can affect river flows, negatively impact wildlife, and release toxins from the sediments. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/6201 2010-06-06T14:17:00Z 2010-06-07T01:39:19Z Plight of the Bengal: India awakens to the reality of its tigers—and their fate <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/10/0606-belinda_wright150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Over the past 100 years wild tiger numbers have declined 97% worldwide. In India, where there are 39 tiger reserves and 663 protected areas, there may be only 1,400 wild tigers left, according to a 2008 census, and possibly as few as 800, according to estimates by some experts. Illegal poaching remains the primary cause of the tiger's decline, driven by black market demand for tiger skins, bones and organs. One of India's leading conservationists, Belinda Wright has been on the forefront of the country's wildlife issues for over three decades. While her organization, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), does not carry the global recognition of large international NGOs, her group’s commitment to the preservation of tigers, their habitat, and the Indian people who live with these apex predators, is one reason tigers still exist. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/6043 2010-05-05T04:04:00Z 2010-06-14T14:47:54Z Banning Tiger Tourism in India: a perspective <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/10/0505tiger150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A debate rages in India over a proposal to ban tiger tourism in India. Proponents of the ban say tiger tourism is intrusive and disturbs tigers and wildlife in tiger reserves. Opponents say that among all the threats to the tiger, tourism is the least potent and raises awareness. Shubhobroto Ghosh of TRAFFIC India weighs in on the issue after seeing his first wild tiger in the flesh. Rhett Butler