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Eco Tourism

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Eco tourism is defined as travel to areas of natural and ecological significance to learn about the enviroment and observe wildlife, usually under the guidance of a naturalist. Sustainment is the key. By visisting these areas you bring money there, learn more about the places, and help preserve them for future generations.

Logging and deforestation are aimed at quick from it rather than a sustaining the enviroment. Over-fishing in the coastal waters and the use of explosives in Amazon rivers are depleting the fish populations. Corrupt government policies give preference to large corporations rather than to conservations. The introduction of foreing plants and animals often kills native species. Mining, pollution, drugs, cattle grazing... the list goes on and on . A colossal man-made disasteris just waiting to happen. There are protected areas, but government funds are not nearly enough to make the difference they should.

As forbringing giftst the peolpe and children living in the communities that you visit, but this can be a double-edge sword. In some places that are heavily visited by tourists, children and sometimes adults put their hands out and beg for candy when they see a tourist. This is not good when the health of many of these people is already in jeopardy and they often throw the wrappers on the ground any way. Instead, try giving them a gift they can use. On the Titicaca Lake many suffer from sun burn and dry skin. Bring lotion. In other communities in mountains and in the jungle, simple school supplies such as pencil and paper are hard to come by. As far as money goes, it does help, but be reasonable and do not just give it away out of pity. 

Buy some of their crafts and don't try to bargain down the price too much because it really will amount to only a few sols.  Another great gift is a photo. If you have a Polaroid camera or a digital camera with an attached printer, you can give the people a photo of yourself, which they in all like lihood would keep for the rest of their lives.

By visiting the park and supporting the local economy in the correct ways, the benefits can be great. More money into the park itself helps maintain trails, create ecologicall friendly viewing platforms, and allow the park to hire more rangers who can help enforce the rules. Allowing local people to earn a living through the park is important; other wise, they will find their own means of sustaining their income, which may not promote the well-being of the parks. Education and research is a great benefit that ecotourism promotes.

Many will go to extremes to walk around an entrance point into national parks and reserves, sometimes with uncertified guides. Park fees go directly toward maintaining the parkland and protecting the interior of the parks. Some parks may be thousands of acres, but only a few rangers are paid to protect the area and enforce the boundaries. If you stay on the trails you will help prevent further erosion. You have heard the phrase "Leave only footprints. "Try not to leave even those". 

One of the best things you can do is with a respected tour operator that follows strict guide lines in operations to have minimal impact on the land, people, and wildlife. A good tour operator will:

 

  • Make contributions to the visited park
  • Provide employment to local residents
  • Use local products transportation, and locally owned services whenever possible. This includes hiring local guides
  • Keep tour groups small as to not disturb wildlife and habitats
  • Coopertaive with researchers
Many grass roots operations started by young Peruvians and international students are making a difference. Much more action needs to be taken before many of the world's most incredible natural areas are lost forever. One of the best things you can do is give to a non-profit organizations such as the ones listed bellow.

 

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