Biosphere Expeditions achievements in voluntourism: wildlife & habitat conservation
There are very tangible outcomes for wildlife & habitat conservation from the work that Biosphere Expeditions does. Here are a few examples:
Protected area creation
Data collected by our expeditions in Namibia have helped our local and international partners make arguments that have led to the declaration of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, or KAZA TFCA. The KAZA TFCA is the world's largest conservation area, spanning five southern African countries; Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, centered around the Caprivi-Chobe-Victoria Falls area. Also in Namibia, fewer lions, leopards and cheetahs have been killed in farmer-predator conflict due to our data collection, awareness-building and educational work.
Data collected by our expeditions as well as our intensive work to influence decision-makers have led to the creation of two MPAs (marine protected areas) in the Musandam Peninsula of Oman, where all fishing except local handline fishing has been banned by a new ministerial decree.
Data collected by our expeditions in the Ukraine have helped our local partners make arguments that have led to the declaration of a national park in the Ukraine. This park now protects a unique steppe area jutting into the Black Sea and a stop-off point for many migratory birds, as well as a haven for fauna (e.g. birds & wolves) and flora (it boasts amongst other things Europe's biggest orchid field).
Data collected by our expeditions in the Altai have helped our local and international partners make arguments that have led to the declaration of a protected area in the Altai Republic, Central Asia. This area now provides a protected habitat for a number of endangered species, including the snow leopard. Also in the Altai, we have converted local poachers into conservationists by paying them for verifiable camera trap pictures of snow leopards surviving year-on-year. This is obviously not a long-term strategy, but with so few snow leopards remaining, some stopgap solutions are needed until the long-term ones can be reached.
When Australia created the world's largest network of marine reserves in 2012, the Roebuck Commonwealth Marine Reserve, site of our flatback turtle study, was part of the network. Along with our local partners, we were working towards getting flatback turtles listed within the ‘major conservation values’ of the reserve and this is what happened, with the citation being ‘Foraging area adjacent to important nesting sites for flatback turtles’.
Wildlife and wilderness management & protection
Biosphere Expeditions played a pivotal role in establishing the country's largest leopard research project, working with local ranchers and resolving human-wildlife conflict, which led to a significant reduction in big cats killed in the country.
Our guidelines for boat behaviour at clay licks in the Tambopata Reserve have been incorporated in local management plans. Guidelines are needed because unsustainable forms of farming, logging and tourism are threatening the natural habitat in the Peruvian Amazon.
Brazilian Atlantic rainforest
Our recommendations for the management and protection of jaguars have been incorporated into national and state-wide jaguar action plans in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest.
Caribbean marine protected area, Honduras
Our recommendations for the management and protection of the coral reefs of the Cayos Cochinos marine protected area in Honduras have been incorporated into the managing authorities’ action plan.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, United Arab Emirates
Our recommendations for the management of Arabian oryx and Gordon’s wildcat have been incorporated into the action plan of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
Together with our partners in Spain, we helped to reverse a EU high altitude carcass removal regulation, which was designed to combat the spread of BSE, but was starving high mountain vultures and bears.
Prevention of wildlife and wilderness destruction
We played an active role in saving 50 wolves from being declared legitimate hunting targets in the Bieszczady mountains in Poland. This was achieved by providing accurate information on the predator numbers and by influencing the local authorities who reversed their decision to cull wolves.
Together with our partners in Peru, we were able to halt a dam construction project, which was threatening a biodiversity hotspot in our Madre de Dios study site region in the Peru Amazon region.
Over 150,000 hours worked in voluntourism wildlife conservation & research.
Over 1.5 million pounds put directly into conservation project worldwide.
Over half a million pounds put into local projects and communities as in-kind donations.