Wow, it’s the Quarter Finals of the World Cup for Wildlife! Tense? You should be – there’s a lot up for grabs! We want to find out who, among the World Cup teams, can call themselves the World Champions of Wildlife Tourism…that means they must be a wonderful place for tourists to go and visit wildlife, without too many ‘problems’ that might put people off. Enough waffle…on with the game!
Next up: Bosnia and Herzegovina v USA
Check out the highlights and issues around wildlife tourism in each country below (all information taken from www.RIGHT-tourism.org), then read our Match Report at the bottom to find out the score!
Bosnia and Herzegovina Wildlife – Highlights
Bosnia and Herzegovina might not come first when considering a trip to Europe as many of us still imagine the country war-torn from the ‘90s. However, the country is very mountainous and forests cover over 50% of the country making it an ideal habitat for a variety of animals. The country’s wildlife includes wild boars, wolves, bears, roe deer, wildcats, badgers, foxes, and falcons. Sutjeska National Park is the oldest in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is home to the Perućica Forest Reserve (one of two last primeval forests in Europe). It is a must-see for any wildlife lover as you are likely to spot a bear, wolf or chamois. If you are an avid birdwatcher, then Hutovo Blato National Park is the place to be. It is mostly made up of marshlands, and has over 240 migratory species of birds. The park offers boat tours through the wetlands for great sightseeing. Read our tips on birdwatching here.
Country Specific Issues
The national parks and wildlife reserves in the country consist of wide species of flora and fauna, with the mountainous areas being home to the wild bear and the lynx. Positive initiatives have been taken by the Serbian government to conserve these animal species. The popularity of wildlife in Bosnia and Herzegovina has led to the rise of eco-tourism in the country. Wildlife tours are a major part of the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tourism trade with plenty of guided wildlife tours offered by the local tourist boards as well as private travel agencies. Eco-tourism is a growing industry worldwide to support wildlife conservation efforts like those in Serbia. Make sure you check that your operator is genuinely acting in wildlife’s best interests by reading our guide to eco-tourism here.
USA Wildlife – Highlights
The US has too much wildlife to cover here, with close to 52 million acres protected by national parks. Suffice to say, whether it’s going for a trek in a forest, watching for eagles on a mountain or enjoying whales off the coast, there’s something for everyone.
Country Specific Issues
Animals on the Menu – Shark Fin
Despite the mounting criticism, the Asian delicacy, shark fin, is still available in parts of the USA. Tourists should be careful to avoid any meal including shark fins. The most commonly available dish is likely to be ‘shark fin soup’, typically offered in Asian restaurants. New York has recently introduced a proposed shark fin ban and California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington are enacting similar bans that were passed last year, while Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Virginia have legislation pending. Read more about shark fin soup here.
Animal Attractions – SeaWorld
SeaWorld in Orlando is notorious for its marine animal performances. Before capturing cetaceans in US waters became illegal, SeaWorld was known to capture wild animals, removing them from their families to perform for tourists. Although this practice has now been prohibited, SeaWorld continues to attract international condemnation for its training practices and animal welfare standards. Read more about aquariums here or see the news section below for details of SeaWorld documentary Blackfish.
Comment from Barry W on TripAdvisor about SeaWorld San Diego:
“Just saw the documentary, “Blackfish”…very interesting how one of sea world’s orcas has killed or hurt at least 3 trainers…it is no wonder…if you were held in a closet or prison cell for your life, you, also would go crazy…please use your summer entertainment money to go elsewhere…really sad for all the orcas, and the blatant lies and cover ups SeaWorld gives as excuses…”
Cruel Sports – Rodeo
Rodeos are a major tourist attraction in the USA, with an estimated 10,000 events held across the country each year. Marketing tactics usually imply that visitors will get to experience historical ranching practices and a little bit of the ‘old West’ heritage, however, these attractions can cause severe animal welfare problems and high risks to human participants and even spectators. To read more about rodeo click here.
Fans with their faces painted white, blue and yellow are cheering on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s forests, mountains and beautiful fauna, but they might show their discontent with misleading eco-tour operators. As for their opponent, the USA has something for every type of wildlife enthusiast thanks to its millions of acres of national parks, and one of the ten longest coastlines in the world. However, SeaWorld practices and cruel rodeos might have the referee calling offside…
Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 v 3 USA
Don’t miss the next game…