He's only gone and done it again. In his documentary last night Extinction: The Facts, Sir David Attenborough focussed on the impact of climate change on animal extinction, and made a powerful plea for us all to do our bit to help support wildlife conservation. We've been having the Conservation Conversation about how tourism and conservation are inextricably linked for a while now, and we know that 'doing our bit' can look different to different people. Below are just a few of our favourite ways to contribute in some of the places on the planet where you can make a real conservation impact and help make animal extinction, well, extinct.
We are big believers that travel can and should be a force for good, so we partner with numerous conservation projects across the globe where animal-loving adventurers can give hands-on help with wildlife projects while you travel. There's the opportunity to join field researchers from the AfricCat team in Namibia, which rehabilitates cheetahs, wild dogs and hyenas; or to visit an elephant orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, which we've included in our epic Wildlife, Nature and Conservation Luxury Sabbatical around Africa. Alternatively, those with seriously deep pockets might want to take part in the incredible (but incredibly expensive) Rhinos Without Borders initiative, where you can join the team and actually help relocate a rhino from South Africa (where poaching is a real problem) to Botswana (which has excellent anti-poaching approaches).
Dive Right In
The Maldives may seem like a haven of hedonism, but visit one of the sumptuous yet sustainable resorts such as Six Senses Laamu and you'll be able to balance said hedonism with helping out. Inspiring the next generation to care for the planet, the team at Laamu run a dedicated programme for six- to 16-year-olds to be paired one-on-one with a marine biologist to learn about the underwater world and marine conservation. Meanwhile, 4,000 miles east in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, the Misool Foundation has a particular focus on protecting sharks and oceanic mantas, numbers of which have increased 25-fold in six years thanks to its work. Guests staying at Misool Eco Resort not only contribute to this foundation financially as part of their stay, but can join research dives and stays hosted by marine conservation specialists to learn more about the amazing work they are doing.
If cleaning coral reefs isn't your bag but you still want your holiday to have a positive impact, then our concept Philantourism is the way to go. Philantourism is the act of choosing a holiday destination because your travel dollars are essential to the local economy, including conservation projects. We've curated a number of itineraries in Europe with a specialist company that directly supports wildlife conservation and habitat preservation through 'rewilding'. You can spot bears, wolves and more on our Italy wildlife watching holiday; embark on a birding safari in Portugal; or track bison through the pristine landscapes of Romania. A little further away in Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia, there are a number of properties and projects where tourism directly funds anti-poaching and conservation, again helping to stop animal extinction.
Bask in Biodiversity
If Sir David has got you passionate to get out and truly appreciate the planet we live on, then we know just the places for you. There's the classic nature-lovers' destination Costa Rica - fun fact: it represents around 0.3% of the world's landmass, but is home to 5% of the planet's species! - and the Galapagos Islands, which play host to a vast array of marine and land animals, some of which aren't found anywhere else in the world. However, if you think you have to travel far and wide to see amazing animals, think again. Our wildlife holidays in Europe focus on the rich fauna that's right on our doorstep. Romania's Danube Delta is a concentrated hub of interesting flora and fauna, particularly migratory bird species, and is especially exciting when paired with bear watching in Transylvania, as in our Romanian history, wildlife and nature itinerary.
If all of this sounds wonderful but you're still seriously sceptical about how getting on a plane to anywhere can be anything but damaging to the planet, then you'll be pleased to hear that we off-set 100% of our staff and clients' carbon emissions for both air and ground travel, plus we have a whole host of train-only itineraries throughout Europe. Then, to add another liberal layer of philanthropy to your trip, you can enjoy your holiday with the knowledge that a portion of our profits go towards our worthy Foundation, which supports numerous wildlife, humanitarian and environmental initiative across the globe.