|ecotouRING news No. 4 - August 1999 ______________________________the bulletin of the Ecotourism Ring||Check the List of Ecotourism Ring Members|
In this Issue:
1. Ecotourism Ring Overview 2. Our New Members 3. Member News 4. Selection of World News 5. Practical info --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Ecotourism Ring Progress:
1.(a)The Ecotourism Ring is growing! Six new members joined during the past month. We now number 34 sites from 16 countries. Furthermore, the ecotouRING news, is also part of the ring, for easier access for members of the public. May I remind you that you are most welcome to send to ecotouRING news your stories, updates and views. Thanks to our new strength and advertising we climbed to the 71st position in the top 100 Travel Rings worldwide, based on clicks generated (about 950 clicks over the past 8 week period). Please keep flying your Ecotourism Ring banners with pride! Remember, Unity is Strength.
1.(b) An Ecotourism Ring advertising campaign started in the beginning of August as promised, throught the MSN Link Exchange Network. Further promotion of the Ring as well as invitations to selected ecotourism websites are under way. Fellow Ecotourism Ring Members are always encouraged to invite other suitable sites to become members as well.
1.(c) To liven things up, here at the Ring , starting with the next issue a Debate will commence. The first debate topic will be:
"Ecotourism: Nationalistic or Internationalist?".
Please send in your arguments for inclusion in the ecotouRING news by the 14th of September.
A vote will also be taken at www.ecotourism.cc ("Our Poll") open to members of the Public as well.
2. Our new Members:
Warmest welcome to:
Old Members: Remember to pay a visit to all our new Members. (New Members: Do the opposite!)
3. Member News:
News from our Members: Australian Cairns Queensland Rainforest Ecotours:
Subject:1999 Queensland Tourism Awards
Just a short note to let you all know about our tourism achievement in this year prestigious Gala Presentation of the 1999 Queensland Tourism Awards recently held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane on Friday 16th July 99.
With a record number of 290 entries in this year State Queensland Tourism Awards and with 1224 people attending the Gala Dinner, Wildscapes Safaris is proud to announce that they WON in the category:
Tour and Transport Operators - Significant'
Our winning entry at State level means now that our tourism award submission has been automatically forwarded for assessment into the National Tourism Awards to be held in Melbourne in November this year
Please check out the award at www.ozemail.com.au/~wildscap/99awards.html
FINALIST 1999 Tropical North Queensland Regional Tourism Awards ( Cairns 27th March )
WINNER 1999 Queensland State Tourism Awards ( Brisbane 16th July )
Visit the Tropical Platypus Research Web Site
4. Selection of news headlines from around the
world - our comments
16/7/99 - INTERNATIONAL TEAMS OF SCIENTISTS
CONDUCTING A RAPID BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT
OF THE RIO PASTAZA
Beginning in Ecuador on July 12, 1999 - Ending in Peru on August 20, 1999
See regional and project information, weekly field reports, and feature stories on-line at: http://www.conservation.org/aquarap
19/7/99 - TOURISM RETURNS TO RWANDA PARK
"Flanked by a dozen soldiers armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, a lone Englishman in red shorts braved the threat of rebel attacks to climb through the thick bamboo forest in Rwanda and catch his first glimpse of rare mountain gorillas. Nick Waterman, a 45-year-old teacher from London, on Friday became the first official tourist in two years to enter Volcanos National Park, until recently a battlefield between the Rwandan army and Hutu rebels. Encouraged by the successful military operations that flushed out most of the rebels attacking from eastern Congo, Rwandan authorities reopened the park to tourists, hoping to collect much-needed foreign currency and promote stability in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide of more than 500,000 people. "I found it moving being part of something I have never seen before," Waterman said, kneeling in front of a bored male silverback chewing on a bamboo tree. "But it's bit strange seeing all those soldiers around. I hope it's not dangerous here, is it?" No tour operators have offered to take their clients to Rwanda yet, and the only visitors to the gorilla sanctuary that starts in Ruhengeri, 60 miles northwest of the capital, Kigali, have to make their own way there. Conservationists and researchers from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, however, worry not so much about security as the impact people and the boxed, ever-shrinking environment have on the animals.
Only 600 mountain gorillas remain in Africa, and half of them are in Rwanda. The rest are in Congo and Uganda."
Source: Associated Press
19/7/99 - LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES ENDURE
"Like their cousin the tortoise, sea turtles may take their time, but they are remarkably persistent, according to new evidence from an Earthwatch sponsored researcher. A satellite tag was recovered in Baja, Mexico, from the flipper of a Loggerhead sea turtle that was tagged in Japan. The tag confirms that endangered loggerheads shuttle nearly 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) each way across the Pacific Ocean between nesting beaches in Japan and feeding grounds off
the coast of Mexico.
"A paucity of tag returns is common in sea turtle research, making this a great find," researcher Dr. Wallace J. Nichols said.
"The small turtle, which began its journey as a 6 inch (16 cm), hand-sized juvenile, made the 12,000-plus kilometer
trip in the time it has taken me to get my Ph.D. six years!" he said."
Source: Environmental News Network
20/7/99 - CLONING OF EXTINCT HUIA BIRD APPROVED
"Scientists and ethicists meeting in New Zealand earlier this month have determined that efforts to revive the extinct Huia bird through cloning should begin immediately. Professor of molecular biology Diana Hill, who has also investigated the cloning of another extinct bird, the Moa, called the project "flagship research" and "exciting leading-edge science of international significance." Hill cautioned that technical hurdles mean a cloned Huia is probably some years away.
The project began when students at the Hastings Boys High School in New Zealand wondered if their school emblem, the
extinct Huia, could be revived. The students researched the idea, invited speakers and organized a conference. Students,
representatives from the Maori, scientists and moral experts met July 9-10 to discuss the technical feasibility and moral
permissibility of reviving the Huia. Now the schoolboy fantasy, inspired by Dr. Michael Crichton's best-selling novel, Jurassic Park, is leading to cutting edge scientific research. The Huia is a bird of great cultural importance to the Maori, New Zealand's indigenous population. They prized the bird for its large, white-tipped, black tail feathers. Due to a European fashion craze, the bird was declared extinct in the 1920s. The cloning project will be financed in part by cyberuni.org, inc., a California corporation and Internet start-up, based
in San Francisco."
Source: Environmental News Network (the worrying thing is that the Hastings Boys will one day grow up)
20/7/99 - CONFESSED ELEPHANT KILLER
" PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - A farmer was arrested for killing an endangered elephant and selling its calf, but was released after he paid about half his profit in fines, police said Tuesday. Sok Hoeun, 38, was arrested last week after he sold an elephant calf at a local market for $460 in the central province of Kompong Speu, just southwest of Phnom Penh, said Chea Vuth, a local police official. Sok Hoeun told police he shot the calf's mother by accident when he opened fire on a herd of elephants that had been grazing on his crops every night".
23/7/99 - INTACT MAMMOTH TO BE CARVED FROM
An adult woolly mammoth mummified 23,000 years ago under Siberia's frozen tundra will be dug out of the permafrost
and may one day be cloned, an international team of scientists said Thursday.
Source: Reuters (er, wait till it finds that confessed elephant killer)
23/7/99 - SCOTLAND MAY LEAD BRITISH BAN ON FOX
Fox hunting could be banned in Scotland by early next year, well before attempts in the rest of the United Kingdom to
outlaw the centuries-old practice, politicians said Thursday. (but Hunter Hunting is just beginning)
23/7/99 - MEDITERRANEAN MARINE SANCTUARY COMING
The governments of Italy, France and Monaco are in the process of creating an international marine protected area for the
conservation of whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea. Presently only 0.22 percent of the Mediterranean marine
area is protected. The establishment of the sanctuary would increase the area protected to 4 percent (which leaves a mere 96% unprotected)
University of Colorado at Boulder
CATASTROPHIC DRAINING OF HUGE LAKES TIED TO ANCIENT GLOBAL COOLING EVENT
The catastrophic draining of two gigantic glacial lakes in Canada's Hudson Bay region some 8,200 years ago appears to have caused the most abrupt, widespread cold spell on Earth during the last 10,000 years, according to a group of scientists.
If the scenarios of extreme global warming in the future come true, it could lead to significant melting of the Greenland Ice
Sheet and create more precipitation at high latitudes," said CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor John Andrews.
Adding very large amounts of freshwater to large rivers could conceivably close down the vertical circulation system in the
North Atlantic, leading to another extreme cooling event." (Global warming or cooling, take your pick!)
29/7/99 - MANATEES NOT DUMB, JUST DEAF
Manatees, a type of sea cow, are often dubbed slow and stupid because they regularly get maimed by motorboats but a new
study shows they simply cannot hear the boats' motors, the New Scientist magazine said Wednesday.
Source: Reuters ( In sharp contrast to motorboat drivers who are just dumb!)
29/7/99 - NEPAL PLANS TO LOOSEN MOUNTAIN
Nepal plans to loosen controls over mountain climbing on some Himalayan peaks in an effort to boost its tourism,
an official said on Thursday. ( Was that Boost or Oust?)
3/08/99 - XVI International Botanical Congress
WORLD'S BIODIVERSITY BECOMING EXTINCT AT LEVELS RIVALING EARTH'S
PAST 'MASS EXTINCTIONS'
ST. LOUIS, MO -- A compilation of the latest data on extinction rates of plant and animal life around the world
reports that humanity's impact on the earth has increased extinction rates to levels rivaling the five mass extinctions of
past geologic history. The paper was released today by the President of the International Botanical Congress, Peter Raven,
PhD, who is a world leader in plant conservation. It predicts that between one-third and two-thirds of all plant and animal species, most in the tropics, will be lost during the second half of the next century. The paper calls for an eight-point plan to arrest species loss within plant ecosystems.
More than 4,000 scientists from 100 countries are meeting at the International Botanical Congress this week to discuss the
latest results of research on plants for human survival and improved quality of life. Raven's remarks were made at a press
briefing held prior to the "Millennium Symposium," where the paper, "Plants in Peril: What Should We Do?" will be formally presented to the Congress.
5/08/99 - BUGS MAY DEVELOP RESISTANCE TO NEW CROPS FASTER THAN EXPECTED.
Insects might be able to develop resistance to
genetically engineered cotton plants much more quickly than
according to a study conducted at the University of Arizona.
"There are some real concerns that resistance can evolve," said an author of the study, Bruce Tabashnik, head of the
entomology department at the university. "Some strategies might need to be changed." About one-fourth of the cotton crop in the United States is genetically engineered to produce a toxin that kills pests such as the pink bollworm. The introduction of these crops has allowed farmers to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides. Environmentalists, however, fear that the widespread use of these crops will lead to strains of "super bugs" that are resistant to the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin they produce.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
7/08/99 -STUDY URGED OF PESTICIDE, YOUTH
Since children eat, drink and breathe more pesticides pound per pound than adults, they are at high risk to health impairments.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Aug. 2 ban on one pesticide and restricted use of another for fruits and vegetables does little to address the link between pesticides and youth violence,
according to a university researcher.
"A rapidly expanding body of research shows that heavy metals such as lead and pesticides decrease mental ability and increase aggressiveness," Robert Hatherill, a researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, wrote in an editorial for the Chicago Tribune.
On Aug. 2, EPA banned the use of methyl parathion and restricted the use of azinphos methyl for fruits and vegetables because the pesticides can damage the brain and nervous system. Young children are especially susceptible.
09/08/99 -MEDITERRANEAN SEEING NEW SPECIES
The Mediterranean is on its way to becoming a tropical aquarium, with 110 newcomer species from the tropics threatening to
crowd out native species less suited to the ever-warmer and more polluted water, experts warned today.
Source: Associated Press
10/08/1999 A.D.- KANSAS SCHOOL PANEL DEBATES
The State Board of Education is expected to vote this week on whether evolution should be left off a list of topics
on statewide assessment tests in science for high school students.
Source: Associated Press
10/08/99 - INDONESIAN FIRES BLAMED ON
Indonesian plantation firms using fire to clear land illegally are largely to blame for the smog plaguing Southeast Asia,
an Indonesian forestry expert said today.
10/08/99 - TOURIST DOLLARS BOLSTER STRUGGLING
Agricultural tourism is making it possible for a number of small farmers and ranchers in California to stay in business. While
this form of tourism helps farmers and ranchers maintain a rural lifestyle, the services they provide improve the
quality of life for those who visit and offer an opportunity for people to learn what it takes succeed on a farm.
Source: Environmental News Network
10/08/99 - ONE BILLION
Sometime on Sunday, August 15, India's
population passed the one billion mark, making it the second
member of the exclusive one billion club, along with China. But
reaching one billion is not a cause for celebration in a country
where one half of the adults are illiterate, more than half of
all children are undernourished, and one third of the people live
below the poverty line.
5. Practical info: