It’s the last set of group games in our fantastic World Cup for Wildlife, and this time the emphasis is on defence! We’ll be comparing wildlife tourism in each of the countries taking part in the World Cup to see who will ultimately take the title Wildlife Tourism World Champions 2014! In these games, we’ll be focussing on the problems that each country faces, as they are crucial in deciding whether they are a good place for wildlife tourism – or not!
Next up: Ecuador v France
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!
Ecuador Wildlife – Highlights
Ecuador is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on its west coast, the Andes mountain range runs through the middle of the country, and the Amazon rainforest covers its eastern part. It is no wonder the country is home to spectacular wildlife. Capybaras, tapirs, jaguars, anteaters, pumas, ocelots and howler monkeys are just some of its animal residents. Moreover, the unique Galapagos Islands are also part of Ecuador. From giant tortoises and iguanas, to fur seals and dolphins, not to mention birds such as the cormorant and the blue-footed booby, the Galapagos are one of the world’s most astounding places. As this ecosystem is very fragile, please see our tips on wildlife watching here.
Country Specific Issues
Animals on the Menu
In the Northern mountain ranges the Tungurahua and Cotapaxi provinces of central Ecuador, guinea pigs are employed in the celebrations surrounding the feast of Corpus Christi as part of the Ensayo, which is a community meal, and the Octava, where castillos (greased poles) are erected with prizes tied to the crossbars, from which several guinea pigs may be hung. They are farmed throughout the country and are generally eaten on special occasions as they are expensive to buy. To read more click here.
Swimming with Wild Dolphins
The Galapagos Islands are a part of Ecuador and are well known for their wildlife and natural beauty. Two species of dolphins are frequently seen while touring the island – the bottled-nosed dolphin and the common dolphin. While many people see swimming with wild dolphins as a must-do activity, dolphins can actually be harmed by the practice. To read more about swimming with wild dolphins click here.
France Wildlife – Highlights
France covers a wide range of habitats and enjoys an amazing diversity of wildlife. Surprisingly, it is one of the richest countries in Europe in terms of flora and fauna. A large percentage of the country remains rural or forested, which supports animals such as the wolf, lynx, Pyrenean desman, Alpine ibex, chamois, wild boar, and even the elusive raccoon dog. It is also home to one of the most important birding areas in Western Europe, the Camargue. It provides a resting spot for many species on the migration route to North Africa, and is also a nesting site for thousands of flamingos. France has many nature reserves and bird sanctuaries, including Roc de Chère National Nature Reserve, The Passy National Nature Reserve, and Le Marais de Lavours.
Country Specific Issues
During the last century, many species indigenous to France have become endangered or extinct. One of the reasons for this decline in wildlife is the fact that hunting is deeply ingrained in the national culture of France. The official hunting season runs from September to May, although it is not common for shooting activities to be offered outside of these months. Tourists in France may be offered the opportunity to take place in hunting activities, often promoted as rural and cultural activities, however, please remember that hunting causes animals to suffer and may also damage conservation.
Animals on the Menu – Foie Gras
France is famous for its production of foie gras, the controversial product of ‘gavage’. This process involves force-feeding birds corn boiled with fat, which deposits large amounts of fat in their livers. Although most EU countries have now banned the production of foie gras on welfare grounds, according to French law “Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France.” Please consider avoiding foie gras dishes, although considered by some to be a luxury item, its production causes severe pain and suffering to the animal. Read more about animals on the menu here.
Shopping – Musk in Perfumes
Civet musk is used in perfumes by several perfumeries in France, with over 1,000 kilograms of musk are being exported from Ethiopia to France each year. Civet musk is produced on farms where animals, taken from the wild, are held in tiny confined cages. The extraction of musk is extremely painful for the civets. Musk products can easily be avoided as synthetic alternatives are widely available. Please take the time to read the label to make sure that the product does not contain musk. Read more about shopping for animal products here.
Spectators will rush to cheer on Ecuador and its Galapagos Islands, but seeing guinea pigs on the menu or witnessing wild dolphins being harmed by swimmers might make them think twice! Then again, the French team is facing many setbacks due to its controversial production of foie gras and its perfumes containing musk.
Ecuador 2 v 1 France