Animals

Creating a culture around conservation requires creativity and an adventure mindset. World Expeditions have aligned these principles with the release of a new expedition series in partnership with World Animal Protection.

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Most of us want our lives and lifestyles to reflect positively on the health of nature, but lack the necessary knowledge or experience to make conscious choices which reduce and reverse our negative impact. The smartest way to shift this paradigm is to create opportunities around consumer activities—travel being one of the most influential avenues for achieving this goal.

Imagine this scenario: it’s time to plan the family vacation and the usual objectives like fun, adventure, unique experiences, and animal encounters are on the itinerary. You start researching travel providers and discover several offer variations on your criteria.

How do you choose which to go with?

Cost is often the first consideration but what is your definition of cost?

Do you measure cost in terms of end dollar, quality of experience, convenience, or how your adventure impacts nature?

For me, cost is the reflection of all these values—and by applying this definition to the list of options I enjoy travel that’s good for nature.

It certainly helps to have travel companies who share this ethos, thus making it easier for travellers to ensure their vacation is ethical as well as memorable.

World Expeditions has its own Animal Welfare in Tourism Code of Conduct, developed in partnership with World Animal Protection, which outlines its expectations to operators, staff and travellers, in relation to the treatment of animals on their itineraries.

World Expeditions Responsible Travel Manager, Donna Lawrence, says many travellers dream about encountering a wild animal in its natural habitat, displaying its normal behaviours. “But many travellers are unsure how to achieve this in a safe ethical way that doesn’t bring harm to the animals,” Ms Lawrence.

“This is why we’ve taken the guesswork out of animal friendly wildlife experiences, joining forces with World Animal Protection to develop four carefully crafted itineraries that offer some of the world’s best wildlife viewing opportunities.”

If animal encounters are high on your list for your next adventure and you want to make sure your experiences aren’t harmful, then these adventures are perfect for you. All come with the stamp of approval from World Animal Protection.

World Animal Protection has endorsed four World Expeditions itineraries to some of the world’s hottest spots for wild animal encounters—Kenya, Thailand, India and Romania.

“These are the perfect experience for animal lovers who want to travel responsibly, appreciating but bringing no harm to the animal they encounter,” Ms Lawrence said.

The bonus for travellers is that by booking one of these trips they will be helping animals around the world since World Expeditions will donate a percentage of each trip to World Animal Protection supporting their work to save animals from abuse and neglect.

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The new list of ethical tours by World Expeditions includes:

Wild Animal Encounters in India

14 days | Departs Delhi on 24 February 2017
Set off on wildlife excursions to some of India’s best National Parks spotting tigers, jungle cats, rhesus monkeys and more, all in their wild habitat. Packed with wildlife spotting opportunities this itinerary also includes some icon spotting to see some of India’s famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and the Pink City of Jaipur. Wild Animal Encounters in India costs from $3590 per person.

Wild Animal Encounters in Thailand

12 days | Departs Bangkok on 03 March 2017
Journey by 4WD and foot through Thailand’s top National Parks spotting wild elephants, tigers, gibbons, macaques as well as a plethora of birdlife, culminating at the Surin Islands in the Andaman Sea, to swim with sea turtles. A day is spent at the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand wildlife rescue centre to learn about the plight of elephants in the tourism industry in Thailand and how this wonderful organization is offering elephants and many other animal species a better future. Wild Animal Encounters in Thailand costs from $3950.

Animal Encounters in Romania

11 days | Departs Bucharest on 14 May, 2017
This carefully crafted adventure includes a visit to a bear sanctuary in Brasov and a dog shelter in Constanta, both supported by World Animal Protection. There’s also a four-day walk exploring the stunning mountain landscapes, deep forests and preserved mediaeval towns of Transylvania including the famous Bran Castle, connected through folklore to the fictitious character, Dracula. Wild Animal Encounters in Romania costs from $2680.

Wild Animal Encounters in Kenya

11 days | Departs Nairobi on 07 July, 2017
Wildlife sightings will be plentiful and natural when you visit Kenya’s most sustainable national parks and conservancies. Travellers can expect to see rhinos (black, northern white and southern white), lions, cheetahs, the elusive leopard, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal, caracal, bat-eared fox, African wild dogs, elephant, zebra, flamingo, antelope, giraffe, impala, mongoose, porcupine, yellow baboon and more. This adventure culminates at the David & Daphne Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage. Wild Animal Encounters in Kenya costs from $5850.

Ms Lawrence said she would also urge travellers and all involved in the wildlife travel industry to read World Expeditions’ Animal Welfare in Tourism Code of Conduct (in conjunction with World Animal Protection) and a Responsible Travel Guidebook. World Expeditions has been operating small group trekking and adventure travel holidays for more than four decades and is widely recognised for its ground breaking Responsible Tourism initiatives.

Thank’s to the thoughtful embrace of this new tourism code of conduct, people are empowered to leverage their lives and lifestyles to benefit nature and wildlife.

World Travel with Wild Impact: www.worldexpeditions.com

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every species had it’s day? Sadly, to warrant a global shout-out you need to be endangered and under threat.

World Rhino Day is September 22—and whilst this signifies the potential loss of another species, it also serves to unite people in the celebration of a truly wonderful animal.

Click here for some cool facts about rhinos.

Creativity—the key to Conservation.

The team at the Australian Rhino Project have a number of activities planned for World Rhino Day making preservation approachable to a wide audience: hat lovers, children, art collectors, and selfie-supporters are all covered.

And at the heart of all the merchandise and madcap fun is a truly exciting opportunity to safeguard a species.

Operation Rhino Drop!

Global issues can often feel daunting, and beyond our influence. To shift this preservation paradigm, The Australian Rhino Project proposes we air lift the endangered closer to home?

The mission: fly 80 African rhinos, 11,000 kms from South Africa to Australia, to establish an insurance population and ensure the survival of the species. The primary objective to establish a breeding herd of rhinoceros in Australia—a place of relative safety and comparable ecology to their native home—as an “insurance population” in the event of extinction of the species in South Africa.

The first rhinos have been identified and The Australian Rhino Project now need your help to relocate these rhinos to Australia.

Creative ways you can support Rhino Conservation.

Buy a custom designed rhino hat for $20* including shipping in Australia.
*Enter code WRD on checkout to qualify for the special price.

The fabulous team at Plum Products will be offering a great deal for all purchases on World Rhino Day. Plum Products offer a great range of children’s products from play sets to trampolines, swing sets to sand pits, Plum Play have the toys to provide hours of fun. Shop online at: www.plumplay.com.au

Purchase a rhino print from world renowned illustrator Andrew Howells. Andrew’s illustrations are hand drawn using graphite pencil and can take up to 100 hours per piece. Each piece captures the finest of detail, bringing his subjects to life. Prints are available as hand signed Limited and Open Edition Giclée Prints. 20% of proceeds donated from any rhino print to the Australian Rhino Project until the 25th September. Order via Stampede Style: www.stampedestyle.com

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For all those who love social media, The Australian Rhino Project are encouraging supporters to post a rhino selfie on September 22.

What is a rhino selfie? Basically, any picture of you pretending to be a rhino.

Make sure you tag @ausrhinoproject in your pictures on Facebook and Instagram. Hashtag #rhinoselfie #ausrhinoproject #operationrhinodrop

Keep an eye out on our social media for more offers and exciting World Rhino Day activities or visit the website to learn more: www.theaustralianrhinoproject.org

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In early September 2016, the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), together with Panthera, held a workshop to consider future initiatives to conserve the African lion. The topic is urgent because numbers of lions have plummeted over the last century from an oft quoted figure of around 200,000 to nowadays closer to 20,000 and falling. The workshop, prompted by global attention given to the death of Cecil the Lion, who had been tracked for years by WildCRU, is the Cecil Summit. The Summit culminated with an open session offering the opportunity to hear the views of top lion experts and also a variety of innovative thinkers from fields such as economics, development, international relations and ethics.

About WildCRU: David Macdonald founded the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) in 1986 at the University of Oxford. Now the foremost University-based centre for biodiversity conservation, the mission of the WildCRU is to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems through original research. WildCRU is particularly renowned for its work with wild carnivores, especially wild cats, including its long-running studies on lion and clouded leopard. Its training centre for early-career conservationists, so far from 32 countries, produces experts and future leaders in global conservation.

About Panthera: founded in 2006, Panthera is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 50 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats—securing their future, and ours.

LetLionsLive.org

The Cecil Summit, hosted this week by Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) and Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, has outlined an emboldened commitment and path forward to address the conservation crisis facing Africa’s lions.

Honoring the global outpouring of outrage and recognition that accompanied the death of the now legendary lion known as Cecil, the Summit assembled some of the world’s leading lion biologists alongside influential experts from the fields of international policy, law enforcement, economics, ethics, law and other sectors.

Together, this brain trust of conservation specialists explored the complex and varied issues affecting the international mosaic of lion conservation, and the innovative solutions required to secure a future for both lions and their landscapes, as well as the people of Africa.

WildCRU Director David Macdonald stated, “Lion conservation has the world’s attention as never before. The Cecil Summit is a continuation of an evolving discussion with members of Africa’s nation states who must be part of the solution to save our global heritage.”

Cecil Summit participants produced a five-point declaration, with the goal of forming the foundation of a renewed path forward for lion conservation.

Restoring Lionscapes: Reinstating the economic and social value of lions across their African landscapes in perpetuity.

Inspiring National Communities: Increasing the pride of local people for their lions and establishing fairness in conservation practices.

Inspiring a Global Community: Increasing international interest in lion conservation and mobilizing financial resources on its behalf.

Enacting the Robin Hood Model: Harnessing members of the global community with the greatest interest and financial resources to support conservation in lion range states.

Financing Lion Conservation: Accelerating the governmental and multi-national engines of financial support required to assist African nations to save the lion.

On behalf of WildCRU and Panthera, WildCRU Director David Macdonald addressed members of the Cecil Summit, media and general public at the closing Summit panel Wednesday to share this declaration. View the recorded session here.

Former editor of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, moderated a discussion amongst panel participants on the complexities of the international conservation frontier. Contributors included Director General of the United Nations Environment Programme Achim Steiner, leading lion biologist Craig Packer, UK Minister of State at the Department for International Development Rory Stewart and Panthera founder and historic WildCRU benefactor, Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan. The panel was launched with a message from Edmond Moukala, UNESCO World Heritage Centre’s Africa Unit Chief.

Panthera President and Chief Conservation Officer, Dr. Luke Hunter, shared, “The Cecil Summit underscores the fact that compelling solutions and enormous opportunities to save the lion are within our grasp. Over 1 million square kilometers of lion range are already legally protected but those areas need massive support to truly thrive. Equally, the people that live with lions need to enjoy more benefits from protected areas and have access to new incentives that foster conservation on their own lands.”

Hunter continued, “Conservation and human prosperity are inter-twined in Africa. If we can secure these parks and reserves, we ensure not only the lion’s future but also the future of local people whose livelihoods are directly linked to tourism and other economic opportunities that result.”

Now famous the world over, Cecil the lion was studied through the Hwange Lion Project in Zimbabwe for eight years before his tragic death in 2015 outside of Hwange National Park. Today, the project lives on under the operation of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), with support from Panthera.

Emboldened by the urgency of the African lion conservation crisis, WildCRU and Panthera resolved to utilize the momentum from the death of Cecil to arouse a Cecil Movement. As the world has learned, the lion is in need of conservation attention now more than ever, with an estimated 20,000 individuals remaining across the entire African continent, a number which represents a decline of 90% over the last century.

Panthera Founder and WildCRU benefactor, Dr. Thomas Kaplan, shared, “The Summit holds the potential to mark an extraordinary turning point for lion conservation. As the participants showed, the land and people are there to save lions. What is needed is will…and commitment. By combining the insights of the broadest array of thinkers and stakeholders in the field, from practitioners on the ground in Africa to government figures, there’s hope that the voice that was given to Cecil and his species may yet turn into a roar.”

Preceding the Cecil Summit, Panthera, WildAid and WildCRU released a new lion report outlining the ongoing threats contributing to the conservation crisis facing lions. Read the report, entitled Beyond Cecil: Africa’s Lions in Crisis, and learn about the #LetLionsLive campaign at letlionslive.org.

Panthera’s Project Leonardo leads or supports initiatives in 15 African nations to bring lion populations back to a minimum of 30,000 individuals within 15 years. Learn more.

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In Nat Geo WILD’s first digital series, wildlife filmmaker Bertie Gregory journeys to the Pacific Northwest in search of the elusive coastal wolves that inhabit one of the last places on the planet where a wild forest meets a wild ocean.

In the first episode of wild_life with Bertie Gregory, Bertie heads to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, where he prepares to spend three months in the wild filming the epic animals that call this place home. While he’s hoping to come across the many awesome species that inhabit this coastline, his main goal is to catch a glimpse of the island’s elusive coastal wolves. Along the way, Bertie runs into some surprising locals, from bald eagles to bears, sea lions to salmon and otters to orca. Every encounter will be a new adventure.

Watch new episodes: http://natgeowild.com/wild/wildlife

Follow Bertie’s adventures: https://www.instagram.com/bertiegregory/