4 Destinations Where Conservation Tourism Is Making an Impact

Natural Habitat Adventures joined Tomorrow’s Air in 2022, and with their contribution we were able to order the clean up of 3.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Along with their Tomorrow’s Air investment, they utilize waste reduction, carbon removal commitments and sustainability initiatives in their conservation model. Working closely with the World Wildlife Foundation, they amplify local grassroots movements and are dedicated to raising the bar on sustainability in the travel sector. 

This series provides climate insight to 4 of their most exhilarating adventures: The Alaskan Bear Camp, Canada’s Polar Bear Exhibition, Botswana’s Safari, and a Nature Odyssey through China. Discover the amazing predators that live in these ecosystems and how taking a trip with NatHab will help preserve them. 

Alaska Bear Camp 

Few of us have had the pleasure of witnessing bears in their natural habitat. A dangerous apex predator, bear viewing might not be exactly what you envision for a relaxing vacation, but Natural Habitat Adventures will challenge your assumptions at their immersive Bear Camp along the Bear Coast of Alaska.

A luxury campground nestled in the vast and untouched Alaskan wilderness offers the opportunity to witness bears in their natural routines while maintaining your safety and comfort. Over the course of your stay you’ll act as both observer and participant in an ecosystem brimming with biodiversity, where humans are not the dominant species or predator. Humbled by this experience, you may find yourself developing an intimate respect for bears that diminishes fear and awakens a desire to conserve this incredible ecosystem. 

Photo credit Ralph Lee Hopkins

Vibrant, vast and rugged, the Bear Coast feels like a sanctuary separate from the threats of climate change. But melting permafrost and invasive mining jeopardize the livelihoods of native Alaskans, bear populations, and the world’s last wild sockeye salmon run. Natural Habitat Adventures is committed to conserving these wild ecosystems through travel. Along with waste reduction, carbon neutral commitments, sustainability initiatives, and their Tomorrow’s Air investment, NatHab’s experiences are designed to inspire travelers to “love what needs to be protected.” Much like Tomorrow’s Air, they remind us of the potential travel holds to invigorate awareness and collective action. 

Learn more about the experience here 

Canada’s Premier Polar Bear Adventure  

With sea ice declining at a rate of 5 percent per decade, and only around 20-30 thousand polar bears left, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience this species on NatHab’s new Polar Rovers. Polar bears are an umbrella species, meaning if they are protected all of the subsequent species in the food chain are protected. NatHab works with the World Wildlife Foundation to fund scientific research, limit impact on the Canadian Arctic, and support the surrounding community of Churchill. 

Photo credit Henry H. Holdsworth Photography

One recent guest, Cindy, called the experience transformational and remarked, “I’ll never look at polar bears in stories and films the same way – I will think of the majestic animal I saw firsthand. Also, climate change is no longer just a phrase for us – we understand more personally what it signifies and what it endangers.”

Learn more about the experience here

Botswana: Kalahari ,the Delta, and Beyond

It’s more than spectacular to be able to hear the rhythmic pounding of 50,000 wildebeest and Zebra hooves passing through on their summer migration, or watch a cheetah stalking its prey. Natural Habitat Adventures works closely with the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) to provide a safari experience that is a model for sustainability and conservation travel. During Botswana’s lush summer, southern Africa is brimming with wildlife and new births, and although threatened by desertification, habitat loss, and poachers, this safari contributes to the protection of this ecosystem so it can continue to bloom.  

Limiting guests to 7 or 8 people, this safari provides an intimate experience with the land, the wildlife, the indigenous San people, and local tour operators. Depleted water resources and food production caused by recent droughts have put a strain on local livelihoods and are causing an increase in wildlife deaths due to human-wildlife conflict. The Botswana Government has developed the Climate Change Response Policy and National Adaptation Plan to address these climate concerns and accelerate the implementation of their commitments under the Paris Agreement. 

Photo credit Rick Guthke

Done right, safari tourism funds the preservation of Africa’s wild habitats and protects them from endangerment and extinction. Along with waste reduction, carbon neutral commitments, sustainability initiatives, and their Tomorrow’s Air investment, NatHab’s experiences are designed to inspire travelers to “love what needs to be protected.” 

Learn more about the experience here

The Wild Side of China: A Nature Odyssey

The iconic black and white panda bear is a symbol of Chinese heritage and one of the most unique predators in the world. Unlike the Alaskan brown bear or African cheetah, wild pandas are considered peaceful and sensitive animals. Chinese folklore explains the origin of their distinct coloring in an ancient story where a young girl befriends the pandas. When she dies the pandas, overcome with sorrow, wipe their eyes of tears and hug themselves leaving black marks on their eyes, hind legs, rumps, shoulders, and ears. Their black and white coloring is said to represent the yin and the yang. The balance between two energies of joy and sorrow or the dichotomy of their sweet, sensitive nature and the size and strength of their body.  

The Minshan Mountains of China’s Sichuan province is the last wild habitat of the giant panda and is also the home of many rare species such as: moon bears, golden snub nosed monkeys, the shaggy takin, chinese goral, blue sheep, and the golden pheasant to name just a few. Very different from the previous African Safari, the Minshan Mountains are densely populated with deciduous broadleaf trees and a robust bamboo understory, making wildlife spotting difficult but all the more rewarding. 

Photo Credit NatHab Video Team

Giant pandas are elusive and shy creatures. They have an incredible sense of smell that allows them to hide from predators long before we would hear a rustle in the bamboo. Although hard to spot, you might have a better chance these days. After 28 years on the endangered species list, with huge efforts from WWF and the Chinese government, Panda populations are no longer in decline. In 2017 they graduated to ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. While China has made excellent progress to establish a network of panda reserves and minimize local impact on this unique ecosystem, it will take continued effort and support to preserve this progress. The giant panda is an emblem of Chinese culture, the trademark of the WWF, and living proof that conservation works.

Learn more about the experience here

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