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: Ecuador v Ghana

Check out the highlights and issues around wildlife tourism in each country below (all information taken from, 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.

Ghana Wildlife – Highlights

Ghana is a country rich in natural beauty and fauna, and tourism is growing very quickly. The country has a number of protected areas including national parks and wildlife reserves. Kakum National Park is a must for nature lovers. The area is the best-preserved virgin rainforest in the country and is home to many rare animals. It is also the only park in Africa with a canopy walkway, which provides an amazing vantage point of the stunning surroundings. Another great wildlife refuge is Mole National Park with over 90 mammal species including elephants, antelopes, and monkeys, while Bui National Park is known for its hippopotamus population that is best viewed by canoe. Unfortunately, logging and clearance for farmland has impacted the country’s tropical forest and only about a tenth of it remains intact.

Country Specific Issues

National Parks

Ghana has 21 protected areas which include 7 national parks, 6 nature reserves, 2 wildlife sanctuaries and 5 coastal wetlands. The most popular of these include Digbya, with its large swathes of inland estuary; Kakum, a coastal rainforest in the central region with abundant plant and animal life and access to the upper rainforest canopy, located 30km north of the Cape coast; and Mole, a former game reserve in the isolated northern region of Ghana that contains an abundance of wildlife. Read more on wildlife watching here.


More than half of Ghana’s 20 million population live within 100 km of the coast and rely on fish as source of dietary protein. As fish stocks have declined and prices rise, increasing numbers have turned to bush meat as an alternative source of protein. Bushmeat trade in Ghana is estimated to exceed 400,000 tonnes per year, species affected include antelope, carnivores and small primates.

Ghanaian forests are part of the Upper Guinean Hotspot, one of the 25 most biologically rich and endangered ecosystems in the world. In Ghana alone, there are 59 endangered mammal species, many of which continue to be offered in the market for bushmeat consumption. When eating in restaurants, be sure to understand what is on the menu so as not to encourage the ‘exotic’ food industry, which is leading to increased poaching. Read more about bushmeat here.

Match Report

Wildlife fans will be applauding loud and proud for the capybaras, giant tortoises, monkeys and seals of Ecuador, and star striker Galapagos plays another blinder. But swimming with dolphins is a concern and Galapagos picks up a yellow card… Ghana, on the other hand, is attracting more and more followers with its beautiful animals and stunning nature reserves, but it must act quickly to stop logging and the bushmeat trade before its too late…

Final Score

Ecuador 2 v 2 Ghana

It goes to Extra time…

Ecuador 3 v 3 Ghana

And it’s gone to penalties! It’s hard to separate these two…

Ecuador win 8 – 7 on penalties!

Don’t miss the next game…