Go Wild: Visiting Nature Reserves
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Does visiting zoos really promote conservation?
Visit parks and nature reserves. The survival and expansion of these green spaces benefits from tourist demand and dollars. In Madagascar, for example, 50 percent of park entrance fees are passed on to local communities for sustainable development projects. Here are some other tips:
- Avoid zoos that allow visitors to drive through in their own unregulated vehicles. While it's exciting to see animals roaming free, some of these zoos receive thousands of cars a day. That exposes both the people and the animals to carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and hydrocarbons, toxins typically found in car exhaust.
- Look for places that restrict the number of visitors and vehicles, like the Monteverde cloud forest in Costa Rica (http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/monteverde.htm) or zoos like St.Félicien (www.borealie.org), north of Quebec City, where animals walk freely and visitors are restricted to a small, lightweight train. St. Félicien also takes in orphaned animals, such as moose that still need bottle feeding.
- Some reserves, like the Manu Biosphere in Peru, protect people. This world heritage site is home to several Amazonian tribes as well as to rainforest wildlife. Tribes, a fair trade travel company (www.tribes.co.uk/countries/peru/amazon_rain_forest_manu.html), can arrange three to nine day expeditions into the reserve for $480 to $1815, with camping equipment and the services of a naturalist guide and cook included.
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