4f82" type="text/javascript"> ecotouRING news 3, July 1999


ecotouRING news No. 3 - july 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 World News
Practical info  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Ecotourism Ring Progress:   We now number 27 sites from 15 countries and we rank 81st in the top 100 Travel Rings worldwide, based on clicks generated. Please keep flying your Ecotourism Ring banners with pride! Remember, Unity is Strength.

Although we prefer quality to quantity, an Ecotourism Ring advertising campaign will be undertaken over the months of August, September and October.The target is the number 52 by 11 December 1999 - one year after the ring started, so that we have at least one member for every week of the year. Fellow Ring Members are encouraged to invite other suitable sites to become members as well. 

2. Our new Members:   One new Member, the first Francophone site, joined over the past month: The Transpyrenean Equestrian Guides (B.G.E.T.), a European association, working in France, Spain and Andorra, in the Pyrenees Mountains.  Contact them at bget@equipyrene.com and http://www.equipyrene.com . The Ring contact is Mr. Laurent Levoyer, a warm welcome to them and may our Ring cross many more language barriers.  

3. New applications & Queue status:   Currently there are one new and 5 old applicants in the Queue: 1. Nechako Lodge (Canada), 2. Koksetna Wilderness Lodge (Alaska), 3. Seca Expeditions (International), 4. EcoTour Samoa (Samoa), 5. Earthfoot (U.S.A.). The new applicant is Angra dos Reis - Travel Guide (Brazil). These will be accepted once they decide to insert the Ring Banner. Reminders have been sent to the first four.

4. Member News:  

4.1. News from Wildscape Safaris:

Just to bring to the 'Ecotourism Ring' some news on our scientific research project on the Platypus Ornithorhynchus anatinus that may be of interest to your readers.   Due to the unknown species development and behaviours in how this unique mammal rides certain environmental changes in the tropics ie. floods. "Nationally Ecotourism Accredited" Wildscapes Safaris of Cairns Australia, is currently conducting an independent non-government funded bona fide scientific research project. The project time frame of six years is to investigate the hypotheses:

Further information or how to help with this project can be obtained at www.ozemail.com.au/~wildscap/platypusresearch.html    


Alberto Vale
Wildscapes Safaris
FINALIST 1999 Tropical North Queensland Tourism Awards
  Visit the Tropical Platypus Research Web Site
NEW Platypus Video CD available now for delivery . just AUD$29.95 plus postage. Small preview available for
free download, visit:

4.2. Presentation received from new Ring Members, the Office of the Transpyrenean Guides:

Foundation Date - October 1998.  Activities include:  

Ecological tourism with horses.
Ecotourism.  Ecological training and education.
Ecological clean with horses in protected natural territories.
Fight against human desertification in mountains.
Horse trails in the whole Pyrenees without borders.
Economic local development with horses.

Statutes of the Office of the Transpyrenean Equestrian Guides (B.G.E.T.):
BGET offers :
  - To create and develop a network of equestrian routes on the whole of the Pyrenean Solid mass.
- To gather the guides, guides of equestrian tourism, the companies of tourism equestrian having all the authorizations of exercises necessaries and carrying on their activities on the solid mass Pyrenean.
- To represent the adherent professionals of the B.G.E.T near the various partners institutionals and economics.
- To develop and maintain the qualification level of the members, the users of the network, and the personnel of the B.G.E.T.
- To create, rehabilitate, maintain, make safe, and mark out if need be, equestrian routes trans-slopes and transnational on the Pyrenean chain.
- To maintain, protect, arrange the natural inheritance of the sites used, and to cause at all users and actors the awakening of the ecological stakes of the territory concerned.
- Generally, to promote, develop, coordinate the activity of the network and to promote, develop the image of the Office of the Transpyrenean Equestrian Guides by all means defined by the board of directors.
- To frame the users for security and respect of the environment.
- To develop the related activities: Bearing, unloading, muletage, attachment, intendance, with all species of horses, thus allowing to fight against the agricultural deprise.
-To export experience and cause similar development of other territories.
- To make all studies in its field of competence, in particular, on the ecotourism, installation, and the economic development in preserved mediums, using the equestrian vector.

Laurent Levoyer, President

5. Selection of news headlines from around the world - our comments in (brackets) 

The La Nina weather phenomenon is on its last legs, bringing an end to one of the most costly El Nino/La Nina weather cycles in history. The latest satellite data from the U.S.-French TOPEX/Poseidon mission indicates that the equatorial Pacific Ocean is warming and returning to normal as La Nina dwindles.

Once near extinction, the American bald eagle is being removed from the endangered species list, U.S. President Clinton announced.

The rate of global warming and sea level rise may be slightly higher than predicted during the next century based on new information gathered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said a climate scientist who analyzed the preliminary data.

Customs officials in Rouen, France, said Tuesday that dealers had tried to bring in 315 "fossil eggs" of the extinct Elephant
Bird from Madagascar to France. The eggs  --  reconstituted by artisans from various fossil egg fragments  --  have been seized.(Michael Crichton justified?)

At least half Kosovo's livestock and domestic animals died in the recent conflict there, according to one of the world's largest
animal charities, the World Society of the Protection of Animals. "Huge numbers of animals left by fleeing refugees have died of starvation, while others have been injured or killed by gunfire or landmines." ( When people behave like animals, animals suffer like people)

Beginning today, scientists and ethicists will meet in Hastings, New Zealand, to consider the technical feasibility and moral permissibility of reviving the Huia, a bird driven to extinction early this century. (Michael Crichton surely justified!)

12/7/ 99: "THAILAND ECO-TOURISM SWAMPED" - Associated Press
Source AP: <<... It was meant to be a model of eco-tourism for Asia: reverential kayak journeys by a limited number of people into limestone sea caves, the lost worlds of spectacular Phang-Nga Bay in Thailand. And it worked. The venture picked up five international awards and numerous accolades. But today, as many as 1,000 kayakers enter the caves each day. Boats jam the narrow passages, tourists snap off stalactites for souvenirs, and their bellowing scares away gibbons, hornbills and other wildlife. The man who started it all, John Gray, says he's not only deeply disillusioned, but has become the target of death threats. One of his Thai associates was shot and severely wounded. From the start, Gray kept to a self-imposed limit of no more than 50 daily visitors and has refused to lower his high-end price of 2,950 baht ($80) per trip, despite cut-rate competitors. Believing the "key to eco-tourism is local opportunity", he staffed his business with the offspring of the area's fishermen and farmers. They get top pay and are rigorously trained. The company, now owned by Thai partners, even picks
up the tab for foreign language lessons. Before each journey into the caves, the guides brief customers: no smoking, drinking, talking above a whisper or collecting even pebbles. Such an approach won Sea Canoe a slew of awards, including one from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and plaudits from a Thai government eager to show it was promoting "green" tourism. "Eco-tourism rolls off the tongue easily. But quite honestly, there's very little around," he says. "Looking back on it, I don't know if we did the right thing by commercializing the caves"...>> ( It seems being politically correct is not always politically correct).

Egypt will move a 2,600-year-old Pharaonic temple to a new location some 500 yards away in a $5.8-million, 2-1/2-year project, to protect it from the ravages of rising ground water, the culture minister said. It will be the largest project of the kind in Egypt since the temple of Ramses II in Abu Simbel was dismantled and reerected in 1968 to protect it from flooding by the creation of Lake Nasser behind the Aswan High Dam.

World Wide Fund for Nature has launched the Mediterranean phase of its European Forest Hot Spots Campaign. The campaign, announced in Rome, aims to establish an ecologically representative network of protected areas covering at least 10 percent of the region's forests by 2005. WWF has identified the most important and representative forest areas that need immediate protection in the Mediterranean. Focusing on 10 "hot spots," WWF urged national governments that belong to the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development to take adequate measures to create new types of protection for forests, namely "green belts against desertification" and "forest reserves for water conservation." "Governments must also develop a strategy of economically sound incentives to make the local communities benefit from forest conservation," WWF said in a news release. The "hotspots" that WWF has identified include the Velebit Mountain Range in Croatia, the Taravu Valley in France, the Gernargentu Forest in Italy, Taygetos Mountain in Southern Greece, Jabal Harisa Forest in Lebanon, Serra de Monchique in Portugal, Sierra de Budar in Spain, the Western Kure Mountains in Turkey and the Cedar Forest in Morocco.
(Good intentions, but the real problems are arson by property speculators, farmers, and unregulated rubbish dumps).

Soldiers in speed boats evacuated more people from flooded villages today and ferried food to those still huddled in
their half-submerged homes after a river burst an embankment leaving some 70,000 people homeless. (I wonder how the cost of building proper flood defense costs compared to the cost of a military aircraft, the wrong type of "defense").

6. Practical info: