(page 2, continued) Research and regulation of ecological and cultural impact for ecotourism has typically lagged far behind the expansion of this industry. Even in the countries with the most progressive environmental legislation, one can easily find 50 or 100 or more boats pursuing fewer than a half-dozen orcas who may already be nutritionally suffering from depleted fish populations. Conversely, in Baja, Mexico, the money generated by whale-watching tourism was likely largely responsible for the eventual protection of an important breeding lagoon that was threatened by commercial industry.
So, what’s a tourist to do? We do believe that, when conducted in a responsible and precautionary manner, ecotourism can positively benefit wildlife and human communities. However, precautions need to be taken so that any negative impacts of viewing animals in the wild are minimized and do not negatively exploit the same animals and people we seek to visit. We encourage potential travelers and wildlife watchers to do their research; talk to biologists conducting research in the area and go to websites of organizations that demonstrate a concern for individual animals as well as for preserving populations.
Listed below are some organizations we have come to value over the years (please check back for more links and names we will be adding to this section):