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ecotouRING news No. 2 - June 1999 ___________________________________the bulletin of the Ecotourism Ring  Check the List of Ecotourism Ring Members

  In this Issue:   1. Ecotourism Ring Progress 2. Our New Members 3. New applications & Queue status. 4. Member News 5. Selection of News from around the world. 6. Practical info   --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  1. Ecotourism Ring Progress:   Thanks to your enthusiasm, six months after inception (11 December 1998) we number 26 sites from 14 countries from every continent! . We currently rank 66th in the top 100 Travel Rings based on ring traffic generation. Please fly your Ecotourism Ring banners with pride!.  Ring membership is expanding at more than 10% every month.

2. Our new Members:   Three new Members joined over the past month: "Hotel Valle Escondido" (Costa Rica), "Haritha Farms" (India) and "Ecotourism consultancy, ecological guided walk design" (International).     A warm welcome to you, and please send us your news.

3. New applications & Queue status:
  Currently there are 7 applicants in the Queue: 1. Nechako Lodge (Canada), 2. Koksetna Wilderness Lodge (Alaska), 3. Seca Expeditions (International), 4. Sistahspace (USA), 5. EcoTour Samoa (Samoa), 6. Maulwurf Reporters GIE, and 7. Aquatique (Bahrein).

4. Member News:   The first Ecotourism Ring Member to send in their news is Wild Macaws.  

" Our site is devoted to the provision of information as to how and where to see macaws (parrots) in South America. Information is garnered first hand and published on our website.   This year we shall be travelling to the rainforests and pampas of Eastern Bolivia. We shall be reporting on what is to be seen and the tourist infra-structure (or the lack of it.) A rough guide to the cost of travel to the area will be included,also names,telephone numbers, faxes, websites and useful Email addresses. There will be an account of our travells and misdemeanours.
Before we go we collect as much information as possible so that we can visit the most attractive sites.

Harold Armitage-Wild Macaws."
http://freespace.virgin.net/susan.armitage/macaws.htm

5. Selection of news from around the world
 
5.1. A RAIN-FOREST TRIBE BRINGS ITS ECO-BATTLE TO CORPORATE AMERICA:
U'WA CHIEFS AND US ACTIVISTS STAGE A WEEK OF PROTEST OVER
OCCIDENTAL OIL PLAN.  The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 1999, pA1,6.
During the last part of April, a tribe of 5,000 Columbian Indians was vowing to walk off a 1,400 foot cliff in the Andes
mountains if Occidental Petroleum Corporation drills for oil on land they consider sacred.  Their chiefs were visiting California to take part in "International Week of Action for the U'wa."  Abruno Nuniwa, president of the Traditional U'wa Council, and Chief Berito
Kubaruwa traveled three days by foot, canoe, car and airplane to join in the protest.
Aided by the use of the Internet, a growing number of environmental activists are working with indigenous people from
around the globe to personalize the environmental fight and pull at the heartstrings of sympathetic citizens.  Rainforest Action
Network, Project Underground, Amazon Watch and a half-dozen other groups are supporting the U'wa.
One group of stockholders, the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters, has become an ally of the U'wa.  With their 100 shares of
Occidental, the sisters were able to win approval of a stockholder proposal at the Annual shareholders meeting to force Occidental to hire an outside company to analyze the potential impact of the U'wa
suicide threat on the company's stock price.


5.2. Improved U.N. Climate Change Website

The secretariat of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has had a website since 1995. A new improved version is now online with updated and consolidated  information
from the previous site and several new features.
     The site provides those interested in the UNFCCC process with a one-stop source for news, data, information, and documents.
Information is organized under seven main headings: What's New, The Secretariat, Programmes, Resources, Sessions, News Room, and Site Information.
     Visitors to the site are able to access information about forthcoming events; press releases; key information resources
developed and maintained by the secretariat; the "country information file," which provides essential information on the
status of each Party's participation in the Convention; a database with search capabilities that permits specialized searches of data
by country, gas, and time period; and much more.
     To visit the site, point your browser to
http://www.unfccc.de

5.3. CLONING USED TO SAVE AUSTRALIA' RARES MAMMAL

CLAYTON, Victoria, Australia,
In the laboratory of Dr. Monique Wolvekamp, the use of cloning to save endangered species is not just a theory - it is being used to rescue the Northern Hairy-nosed wombat of Australia from extinction.
  5.4. Global Warming affects Birds   Two new studies suggest that birds are being affected by the apparent warming of the Earth's climate.  Chris D. Thomas and Jack
J. Lennon of the University of Leeds in England found that many species of British birds have moved north by an average of about
12 miles:  "`This general northward shift took place during a period of climatic warming, which we propose might be causally
involved."  Their study appears in the May 20 issue of  Nature
     Jerram L. Brown  and colleagues at the State University of New York at Albany report that Mexican jays in southeastern Arizona are nesting and laying eggs about 10 days earlier that they did in 1971:  "`These changes were associated with significant trends toward increased monthly minimum temperatures on the study area, traits that are associated with the onset of breeding in this population."  Their study is published in the May 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  5.5. Genetically modified corn may kill Butterflies.   ITHACA, N.Y. -- An increasingly popular commercial corn, genetically engineered to produce a bacterial toxin to protect
against corn pests, has an unwanted side effect: Its pollen kills monarch butterfly larvae in laboratory tests, according to a
report by Cornell University researchers.

Writing in the latest issue (May 20) of the journal Nature, the Cornell researchers note that this hybrid crop, known as Bt
-corn, has genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) spliced into the plant genes. These hybrids are very effective
against the ravenous European corn borer, a major corn pest that is destroyed by the plant's toxic tissue. The engineered corn is
safe for human consumption.
  "Monarchs are considered to be a flagship species for conservation. This is a warning bell," says Rayor. "Monarchs
themselves are not an endangered species right now, but as their habitat is disrupted or destroyed, their migratory phenomena is
becoming endangered."

In the laboratory tests, monarchs fed milkweed leaves dusted with so-called transformed pollen from a Bt -corn hybrid ate less,
grew more slowly and suffered a higher mortality rate, the researchers report. Nearly half of these larvae died, while all
of the monarch caterpillars fed leaves dusted with nontransformed corn pollen or fed leaves without corn pollen survived the study.

5.5. ELEPHANT TOLERANCE OF HUMANS QUANTIFIED
Scientists from the University of Zimbabwe in Harare are disputing the conventional belief that declines in African
elephant populations mirror increases in human populations. Instead, they say, the relationship is more complex.

According to researchers Richard Hoare and Johan Du Toit, the elephants can coexist with people up to a certain point
but once the human population reaches a certain density, the elephants disappear.

"Wild elephant populations may initially show considerable tolerance to expanding human settlement but then precipitously
decline and fail to recover," says Hoare in the June issue of Conservation Biology. Figuring out how African elephants
can coexist with people in savannas is essential because 80 percent of their range is outside protected areas.

According to the article, Hoare and Du Toit studied how human settlement affects elephants in the nearly 6,000-square
mile Sebungwe region of northwestern Zimbabwe. About 40 percent of the land is protected and the rest is divided
into three contiguous districts where people have been clearing  the elephant's deciduous hardwood habitat for subsistence
agriculture since the mid-1950s. A single elephant population of nearly 12,000 occupies the three districts, and conversion
to agriculture in the districts varies from limited to widespread.

The researchers found that the number of elephants living in the study area is not affected by the number of people
living there until the human population reaches about 28 people per square mile. After this threshold, elephants
effectively disappear. The sharpness of this decline suggests that elephants can coexist with people up to a certain point
but once that threshold is reached they go elsewhere, presumably to less disturbed areas.

"The 'threshold hypothesis' will let land planners distinguish areas where elephants can be conserved from those where
they cannot," says Hoare.

For more information, contact Richard Hoare, email:
rhoare@mango.zw.

6. Practical info:

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