Category Archives: Ecotourism

Red Desert Caravan on Labor Day Weekend


Who says you have to go to Africa to go on Safari?

Biodiversity Conservation Alliance is taking people out to see the sites of the Red Desert. Better yet, this guided trip is free. Learn more and watch a slideshow of what the trip promises on my Red Desert Blog entry Red Desert Caravan on Labor Day Weekend.


CAT in WATER Kickstarter Launch!

Support the Kickstarter project to document them in the wild  here.

The fishing cat is up and running! We have 90 days to raise the first round of funds for the CAT in WATER expedition. Check out our Kickstarter project and watch the short video. You can also learn about all the paybacks in store for our supporters. Who wouldn’t want a care package from Thailand and the knowledge they are helping a gorgeous, wild animal in need?

The Mangrove Forests of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

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Along the Yucatan Peninsula, in a land of heat and drenching humidity thrives a rare mangrove ecosystem, important for coastal life and home to jaguarundi, hundreds of bird species and, yes, maybe a mosquito or two.  I hope you enjoy this short jaunt into the mangroves, sans the mosquitoes, near Celestun in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. One afternoon doesn’t do a place like this justice, but it is a glimpse into this vulnerable ecosystem that is increasingly under threat from climate change, deforestation, pollution and coral reef degradation.

Slow Speed Ahead with a vintage Nordic tug in Puget Sound

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When my parents first told me they’d bought a tugboat, I thought, “Who buys tugboats, I mean, for fun?”

Let my education begin. Turns out, there are legions of tugboat enthusiasts. (A good place to start learning about them is at the Tugboat Enthusiasts Society of the Americas.) And the one my parents bought — a vintage Nordic tug and the first of its kind — makes them rather popular at tugboat get-togethers.

My firsthand experience came with a trip back to Washington State to visit my family late last September. We went out for a day on Puget Sound for what was to be one of the best and coolest family outings I’ve ever experienced. Not only did we all have a blast, but we saw more than our fair share of wildlife including seals and killer whales. And the tugs mellow pace, a cool 9 knots or less, gave us ample opportunity to soak in the view. There’s something to be said for slowing down.

After seeing how much fun my parents were having, especially my dad, a retired Navy commander, I’m no longer hard-pressed to understand why people fall in love with tugs.

Photo Tour: Autumn at Sawhill Ponds

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For you naturephiles out there, there’s nothing like finding that local wildlife hotspot you can explore whenever the fancy takes you. For me, that place is Sawhill Ponds, a series of 18 reclaimed gravel pits that now support a wealth of interconnected habitats from meadow to woodlands and marshes. This busy microcosm offers more than a peaceful place to take a walk, no matter the season. There is an abundance of wildlife to enjoy, including owls, coyotes, waterfowl and frogs, and it’s all within a stone’s throw of downtown Boulder, Colo.

These images are part of a project documenting this wildlife refuge and its inhabitants through the year. Stay tuned in a couple of weeks for Sawhill Ponds: Winter.

Into the Big Empty: Wyoming’s Red Desert goes live on YouTube

Journey into Wyoming’s Red Desert, a little known wilderness the size of Denali National Park that brings the steppes of Mongolia to America’s backyard. Here, energy companies vie for the desert’s riches in a world of 50,000 pronghorn, herds of wild horses and some of the most unforgiving landscapes of the West. Come learn of this place and the struggles to protect it as you travel Into the Big Empty.

Elephants captured to supply safari tours

There’s sad news coming out of the New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. According to a letter from the organization, it appears ten elephants have been captured in the Matabeleland South Province and sold to the tourism industry. Several of the elephants were reportedly bought by a co-owner of the Elephant Experience in Victoria Falls.

An excerpt from the NZSPCA letter explains in more detail:

“The elephants were captured in October 2008 and whilst ZNSPCA heard “rumours” regarding this capture, after investigating both Chengeta Safaris and Elephant Experience, and asking the permit office at Parks for details,  we met with the Director General of National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority who assured us that no permit for such a capture had been issued.  We were obviously relieved to hear this news and assured ourselves that we had been given the correct information and since we could not find the elephants on both facilities we were confident that this cruel act had not happened.

Yet the elephants were indeed captured.  Mike Le Grange from AWMC  captured 4 elephants on the 21st October 2008 and another 6 on the 22nd October 2008. “

“The elephants range from 4years old to two female elephants of about 18 years old.  They are housed in a metal boma  with no shade or shelter and are chained continuously, only being released for training.    The elephants are sprayed with water during hot days to keep them cool.

ZNSPCA Inspectors noted that some elephants had old wounds on their legs which could have been caused by the chains as well as wounds on their foreheads.  According to the information supplied to us, no vet was present at the capture or has examined the elephants since the capture.”

Glynis Vaughan, chief inspector with the NZSPCA, is investigating this case further and inspectors are continuing to monitor the captured elephants.  The Zimbabwean also reported on the elephant capture last weekend.

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