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A dikdik, one of the smallest and most graceful antelopes.

Welcome to Eco Wild!

In this issue:

1. Is Kenya a strong ecodestination?
2. Innovative East African eco ideas
3. Did you know?

1. Is Kenya a strong ecodestination?

In the last week's Eco Wild, I discussed the characteristics of a good ecodestination, based on criteria set by The Ecotourism Society. I also asked for your feedback on whether East Africa truly possesses these characteristics and how we can work together to develop East Africa into a strong ecodestination for the benefit of the wildlife, communities and tourism. Thanks for your many interesting comments, many of which were quite thought provoking!

I've taken the liberty to print some of Soniya's comments, from Tulip Travel in Nairobi, Kenya. She has raised some valid points! If anyone would like to comment, please let me know!

-What can we do to continue to promote East Africa as an ecodestination strong enough to compete with the world's top ecodestinations such as Costa Rica?

"We need to really improve our park management systems. Just last weekend we were visiting the Nairobi National Park and despite of the number of boards around the park requesting visitors to place their litter in the appropriate places provided, various hidden areas of the park were littered with beer bottles and cigarrettes stubs. This is all to blame on our locals. Why do have it as an acceptable trend to throw litter around our streets? Obviously, the tourists are likely to follow and adopt the traits that we possess. Unless we change our ways we cannot expect outsiders to do the same."

2. Innovative East African eco ideas

In last week's issue of Eco Wild, I asked what you were doing to help conservation and/or your local communities. Thanks for the positive and interesting feedback that I have received in the past week! Great job!

In order to share ideas and learn from each other, I am publishing some of the comments that I have received. This week I will focus on Dream Camp, based in the Maasai Mara, Kenya, Hoopoe Adventure Tours, based in Tanzania and Tulip Travel, a travel agency based in Nairobi, Kenya. I'm sure we can all learn from these innovative ideas!

DREAM CAMP
Dream Camp just finished planting 6000 trees in their camp area. This puts less strain on the environment for both Dream Camp and their Maasai neighbours. In approximately four years, the trees should provide firewood/wood fuel for the Maasai villages in the area, consequently easing the pressure on the small forests still in the area. Dream Camp plans to plant another 6000 trees in May 2001. All this has been made possible thanks to a Maasai clan putting a piece of land at Dream Camp's disposal just for this purpose!

SOIT-MARA SERENGETI
Hoopoe Adventure Tours and the Maasai village of Oloipiri jointly manage a conservation area approximately 200 square kilometres of some of the most scenic game country in Tanzania. This is a partnership that benefits both parties while helping to manage and preserve a conservation area that is an intrinsic part of the Serengeti Eco-system.

A significant part of the revenue earned by Hoopoe Adventure Tours from visitors to the area will go directly to the Village Community Development Fund, which is used on education and clean water, among other things. Hoopoe Adventure Tours pay concession fees as well as direct material contributions to the village government for development needs identified by the community. Local Maasai guides, trained by Hoopoe, are guiding visitors and using their donkeys as pack animals for walking safaris. In return, the community continues traditional land use while preventing animal poaching, charcoal burning, tree felling and any agricultural activity in the community conservation area.

TULIP TRAVEL
Being a fairly new organization, Tulip Travel doesn't have large funds to contribute to charities. However, travel agencies produce large amounts of paper waste from expired brochures, in-flight magazines, promotional calendars and posters. Instead of throwing these away, they usually drop them off at the local nursery school, for some creative minds to use! Meanwhile, extra posters, Walt Disney brochures and excess airlines stickers are given to their young clientele.

3. Did you know that...?

...increased tourism could help save Europe's wolves, lynx, and other endangered large carnivores? WWF found that a tourism project in Romania, in an area where a pulp mill recently closed, was successful in providing an alternative source of income for locals and in giving people a reason to protect animal habitat. WWF also examined cases in France, Italy, Poland, and Spain and found untapped opportunities for responsible ecotourism.

....the energy saved from recycling one aluminum tin will power your TV for three hours or light a 100-watt light bulb for 20 hours?

...global climate change can influence the incidences of human disease? For example, water-borne diseases already account for nine out of ten deaths due to infectious diseases. These problems will become more prevalent and in a warmer, more polluted and crowded planet.

...sick building syndrome, which causes headaches, fatigue and shortness of breath may be caused from furniture, carpet and paint toxins? For example, vinyl wallpaper leaves a thin gap between the wall paper and the wall, creating a space for mold to grow and circulate into the air. Common materials, such as paint, caulking and glue also emit small amounts of toxic gas.

I hope you enjoyed this week's issue as much as I enjoyed writing it; now I encourage you to take some action and go wild about East Africa, wildlife and ecotourism!

Thank you for your support!
Anne

Article ideas, quiz ideas, general feedback and other suggestions are always welcome! Please send them to: anne@eco-resorts.com.

If you would like to join the Eco Wild email eco forum discussion group, please send an email to: ecowild-subscribe@egroups.com. If you would prefer not to receive any more copies of the Eco Wild newsletters, please email anne@eco-resorts.com with "unsubscribe" in the subject line (sniff! !).

For permission to reprint this or any article from Eco Wild (formerly HMS corporate newsletter), please contact Anne Loehr at: anne@eco-resorts.com.

Copyright 2000 - All Rights Reserved Anne Loehr

Eco-Wild
Anne Loehr
Eco-resorts
P.O. Box 120
Watamu, Kenya

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