4f82" type="text/javascript"> ecotouring news, issue 9, January 2000

ecotouRING news, issue 9January 2000 the monthly Bulletin of the Ecotourism Ring

  In this Issue 

1. Ecotourism Ring Overview:  

1. (a) Ring Statistics.

Three new members joined during the past month. We now number 47 sites from 21 countries. Traffic has picked up after the holidays and the Ecotourism Ring ranking has stabilised at the 54th position in the top 100 travel related Webrings.

1. (b) Ecotourism Ring Top-10 by Traffic generated

Rank 8 wks 2 wks Site
1 112 27 Amazon Rain Forest Expedition
2 101 36 Estonian Ecotourism Association
3 53 16 Eco-Tours in Bhutan
  53 28 ecotourism.cc - Free Ecotourism Resources
5 46 14 AmazonAid.Org
6 44 10 Kosrae Village Resort, Micronesia - Naturally!
7 42 6 Angra dos Reis - Travel Guide - Brazil
8 41 14 Daintree Wilderness Lodge - Australia
9 39 17 African Safaris & EcoTourism
10 32 4 Whale and Dolphin Encounters - Hawaii
  32 8 Ecotourism on Florida's Space Coast

2. Poll: Zoos: Are they For or Against Nature? 

Votes so far 16: For:  62.5% Against: 31.25% Neither 6.25%

3. Our new Members:    

Warmest welcome to our new members from Guatemala, Ecuador and Southern Africa:

Ecotourism & Adventure Specialists -Guatemala   Ecotourism & Adventure Specialists is devoted to the love and understanding of Nature. Our work focuses on conservation and support to local cultures in the Maya World and the Caribbean through ecotourism. We take eco-oriented travelers on experiential adventures to unique destinations.
Tropic Ecological Adventures - Ecuador  Winner of the TODO!97 award for responsible tourism, Tropic Ecological Adventures is the leading ecotourism operator in Ecuador. A team of highly qualified professionals can prepare for you exclusive programs in the Amazon jungle, the Galapagos islands or the magical Cloudforest.
Gateway Africa Adventure Safaris & Tours - Southern Africa   Experience Africa with one of our eco-Safaris and let Africa became part of your heart.  

4. Special Feature:  by our Member, Gurundongma Tours & Treks of Kalimpong, India:  

Land and its people: Sikkim, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Assam, Arunachal, Nagaland, and Meghalaya

You will find our region in the North East, part of India. Sikkim- Darjeeling- Kalimpong, and the states of Arunachal, Assam, Meghalaya, and Nagaland, are connected through a small corridor running between the Kingdom of Bhutan and Bangladesh. This region; visited by few, is the locale of our Adventures.

Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Kalimpong. Wedged between Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and the North Bengal Plains of India, this region is a tangled mass of mountains drained by the Teesta, and Rangit Rivers.

The grain of the country rises from near sea level to the mighty Khangchendzonga, at 8500 Meters, in a short distance, forming a giant amphitheater, hewn as it were from the great mountains. This provides an arc of the most magnificent snow clad mountains as a backdrop to your holidays.

Amongst the grandeur of the mountain peaks, there are lush valleys, fast flowing rivers, terraced fields, incredible bio-diversity of flora, Buddhist Monasteries, orchids, virgin forests, Rhododendrons, premium tea gardens, colonial buildings, of the "Raj" period, ancient handicrafts, and exotic bazaars.

All this and more in a land peopled by an amazing ethnic mix of beautiful, cheerful, Lepcha , Tibetan, and Nepali people forming a unique sub culture of their own.

Assam is situated astride the mighty Bramaputra River Valley, where the Ahom civilization, flourished for more than six centuries. It is the heart of North Eastern India, It has vast forests, miles of tea gardens, great rivers, wildlife, temples, flora, and a gentle and cultured people full of dance and music, which are adept at silk weaving, and other crafts.

Arunachal Pradesh, "the hidden land", remained isolated from India, for centuries due to impregnable forests, and unbridgeable rivers. Home to 26 main tribal strains, each with its distinct identity, of language, culture, and beliefs. Most worship supernatural spirits, and their deities are connected to nature. This region is endowed with natures bounty, ranging from subtropical river valleys to high Himalayan pastures, over 4500 meters in elevation, fringed by snow caps bordering Tibet. Arunachal offers, a feast of flora, wild life, and a variety of tribal cultures, including the Buddhist Monpa, and Sherdukpen tribals, of Tawang.

Nagaland has hundreds of years of tradition, as warriors and headhunters. Considered remote, and full of hazards, It is in fact a land of mountains and valley's, at an average elevation of 1400 Meters. It has picture post card landscapes, lush and verdant flora, and a people whose ancestors learned to live in harmony with nature. The Nagas are a fun loving and deeply religious people, having a tradition of handicrafts, folklore, dances and music. Missionaries were able to convert almost the entire population to Christianity. Each of the 16 odd tribes and sub tribes, are different from each other in dress, customs, language, and tradition. For a people known to be headhunters in the past, they are remarkably warm hearted and hospitable. The salubrious climate, is an added attraction, for a year round holiday.

Meghalaya, is a land of rolling, lush green hills, at an altitude of 1500 Meters. Pine forested hills, terraced fields, serene river vales, lovely waterfalls, incredible range of flora, exotic plants, and a warm and friendly people, makes Maghalaya a wonderful holiday destination. This " land of the rain clouds" has the wettest places on earth. The climate is pleasant all year around with cold winters in Dec – Jan.

The Khasi, Garos and Jaintia tribes people Meghalaya. Until the arrival of the British missionaries, they were animists, who practiced human sacrifice. Christianity is now the dominant religion of the three tribes. An interesting feature is that the society is matrilineal, and is believed to have originated from the mythological mother of the root. Women therefore dominate the society. Children take the mother's name.

5. Selection of news headlines from around the world  - (with our Comments in Brackets)  

17/12/99 - (RTR):  UN: MEXICAN SALT PLANT THREATENS WHALES Every January,schools of gray whales arrive at San Ignacio lagoon in northern Mexico's Baja California state to breed and cavort for three months. The whales make an annual 6,200 mile-journey from the Bering Straits to the warm-water lagoon, a designated World Heritage Site. This unspoiled haven could be dramatically transformed if plans to build a multimillion-dollar salt plant in the lagoon go ahead, according to a new U.N. report. The lagoon is in North America's largest wildlife sanctuary, the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve.

The United Nations and the World Bank got down to work Thursday on an ambitious project under the patronage of Nelson Mandela
to tackle urban poverty and improve living conditions for up to 100 million slum dwellers. (Will they ever succeed?)
18/12/99 by

"Port Elizabeth Oceanarium has decided to go ahead with the capture of wild dolphins. Despite the fact that 33 dolphins have
died at the Port Elizabeth Oceanarium, 16 of those during or shortly after capture, this facility's board of directors voted on the 18th November 1999 to proceed with the capture of wild dolphins to restock their dolphin pool. The proposed capture will most certainly disrupt and otherwise negatively  affect the wild population and the captured dolphins stand a very good chance of dying due to the stress of the operation. Should they survive, the captive dolphins will be imprisoned in a bleak cement pool bearing
no resemblance to their natural environment.  They will then be "trained" to "entertain" visitors at the Oceanarium.Ghandi said that one can tell the state of a society by the way it treats animals. Hopefully this petition will prove that respect for life
and compassion in the face of suffering, are not dead in South Africa." (So that parents can say: This my son, is a captive wild dolphin)

Environmental group Greenpeace said today it had disrupted what it described as an illegal Japanese whaling operation
in a sanctuary in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica. (Would it make any difference if it was legal?)

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said today its drivers ran an electric car more than 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) in a day's span,
setting a record cruising range for a given time. (Good, now please put it on the market at a cheap price)

Conservationists welcomed a 20-year jail term today handed down to a South African elephant poacher, saying stiff sentences
were needed to protect the continent's endangered wildlife. (the stiffest sentence will not bring back the elephant, it simply raises the stakes, and the bribes, a change in mentality is needed. A positive campaign, and benefits to the local communities from genune ecotourism would have a better chance.)

Nepal has banned the import of motor vehicles that do not meet Euro I emission standards in an effort to curb pollution in the Himalayan kingdom, a junior minister said today.

27/12/99 (AP): EU ORGANIC FARMING IS BOOMING The sector once dismissed as the pastime of crackpots and idealists has grown into a business worth some $7.3 billion a year in the European Union and around $15.6 billion worldwide, says Dr. Nicolas Lampkin, an agriculture specialist at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth. A report Lampkin prepared for the EU this year said the number of organic farms in the bloc had soared from just 6,300 in 1985 to more than 100,000 in 1998. Even with that spectacular growth, organic farmers are struggling to cope with demand. (Crackpots and idealists eh?)

28/12/99 (AP): Ukraine moves to save holiday trees In an attempt to discourage tree poachers during their busiest season, regional authorities in Ukraine have ordered that city-owned firs be covered with colored chalk or a liquid that smells like manure. (Smelly Christmas, poachers)

5/01/99 (INF):
The web based international Bibliographic database on NTFPs is a free, non profit venture. It is now online with over 1,300 entries and has a new permanent home:

The database editorial committee is actively seeking authors to write critical reviews and abstracts for records. Details are on the website. Additionally, if you have published or know of published materials on NTFPs not in the database, please fill out a submission form online so they can add them.

Scientists have discovered that iguanas on Ecuador's Galapagos Islands shrink to survive the shortage of available food
during El Niño, according to a report in Thursday's issue of Nature. In two studies of Galapagos marine iguanas, one
spanning 18 years and the other spread over eight years,scientists found that the herbivorous reptiles shrank as
much as 2.7 inches, or 20 percent of their body length.

Ford Motor Co. said it would begin producing a line of electric vehicles and bikes under a new brand name  --  Th!nk -
that will become the company's home for vehicles powered by alternatives to internal combustion engines. (Excellent, the T-model for the 21st century?)

12/1/00 (ENN): EXTINCTION FRONT No primate extinctions occurred in the past century, but 25 species of apes, monkeys, lemurs and other primates are
on the brink, according to a report from Conservation International and World Conservation Union.

14/1/00 (RTR): STUPIDITY FRONT Scientists said today they had cloned a monkey — the first non-human primate to be cloned --in an experiment they hope will result in squads of genetically identical lab animals perfect for use in testing."Tetra", a bright-eyed rhesus macaque, was not made by the same method of Dolly the sheep. While Dolly was cloned using nuclear transfer — taking the nucleus out of an adult cell and using it to reprogram an unfertilized egg — Tetra was made by splitting a very early embryo into four pieces. The method has been used to create clones of human embryos at least once. In 1993 Dr. Jerry Hall said he had cloned human embryos by splitting them, although he said he had destroyed them. (For Dr. Jerry, read Dr. Jekkyl )

6. Conferences:

World Ecotour, April 5-8, 2000 Location: Salvador, Brazil

Venue: Bahia Convention Center 

Biennial Ecotourism Conference.
Topics: The economic aspects of ecotourism management, government policy on ecotourism, ecotourism planning, the planning and design of ecolodges and ecoresorts. Estimated number of exhibitors: 400, of which International 30%.

Interested ecotourism ring members please contact a@ecotourism.cc

7. Practical info:

8. Guess!   A column where we ask the question in relation to an environmental disaster and the readers guess. The winners' name (if any) and the answer appears in the next issue.
The Question was: Guess the number of sea-birds drowned each year by Norway's fishing fleet in the North Atlantic.
The Answer is: Twenty thousand (20,000)  No winners.
This Month's Question is: Guess the proportion of South Africans who can expect to live to 60.   

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