Welcome to the next match in our World Cup for Wildlife! 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!
Next up: Spain v Holland
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!
Spain Wildlife – Highlights
Spain has 13 National Parks, offering tourists a remarkable array of terrains to explore. For those interested in wildlife watching, there is no better park than Cordillera Cantabri which provides an important habitat for some of Spain’s most endangered animals, including the brown bear. At the start of the 20th Century, brown bears would have been reasonably common, with around 1,000 bears living in the wild, however, as a result of hunting and habitat destruction, their population has plummeted to just 100.
Country Specific Issues
Running of the Bull and other bull fiestas
The Running of the Bull festival, known locally as San Fermin Festival, takes place each July. It has been going since 1911 and is a popular tourist event, despite the cruelty involved to the bulls. All of the bulls that run through the streets of Pamplona end up in the Bull Ring, where they are killed in front of thousands of spectators. Across Spain, hundreds of festivals take place each year involving bulls, often with the animals being chased, tortured or having flaming torches attached to their horns.
Bull fighting is promoted as a large part of Spanish culture and many tourists attend bull fights. What may seem like a classic man versus beast battle, is far from fair. Thousands of bulls each year are killed in front of spectators, many have been drugged, are exhausted and confused, then they are repeatedly stabbed until they die. Whilst bullfighting is still legal in most parts of Spain, it is banned by law in Catalonia and in the Canary Islands. Despite the claims of cultural importance, a recent survey showed that 67% of Spanish are not interested in visiting a bull fight.
Diving and Snorkelling
Spain is one of Europe’s best spots for diving, with more than 4000km of varied shoreline meeting the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Diving experiences offer tourists the chance to encounter Spain’s marine life in the wild, a far better experience than going along to one of the countries many aquariums, however, during the peak season, some areas may become very busy and the marine life could be at risk through over-crowding and heavy boat traffic. Please take the time to read our simple tips on how to avoid causing harm while diving.
Photo Prop Animals
As in many places in the world, in some Spanish resorts such as Benidorm tourists may be offered the chance to pay to have their photo taken with a wild animal, such as a capuchin monkey. While this may give you a good photograph, the animals will be suffering: in many cases, they are taken from their family at a young age (often the parents must be killed), have their teeth removed or cut and their claw removed, as well as living in less than ideal circumstances. Please don’t encourage this trade by paying for a photo..
Netherlands Wildlife – Highlights
Known for its windmills, tulips and canals, the Netherlands does not generally come to mind as a country rich in wildlife. However, there are many species of animals that thrive in this country thanks to its maritime climate. The Netherlands has 20 national parks scattered across the country. Biesbosch National Park is the place to see beavers, while the sand dunes of De Loonse en Drunense Duinen National Park are home to badgers. The red deer, Holland’s largest animal, is often spotted in the Hoge Veluwe National Park. Interestingly, the country contains a remarkable 600 wildlife crossings that are used to protect habitats and avoid collisions between humans and wildlife.
Country Specific Issues
Despite being a densely populated nation, the Netherlands provide a good example of how to practice wildlife protection. The country boasts an impressive number of over 600 wildlife crossings to assist with the protection of wild board, deer and the endangered European badger. De Hoge Veluwe, the largest nature reserve in the Netherlands has three 50-metre eco-ducts that are used to help wildlife cross the busy roadways that transect the park. Two eco-ducts crossing a highway cutting through the middle of the reserve have reconnected two forests and in one year provided safe crossing for nearly five thousand deer and wild boar. The Netherlands also boosts the world’s longest wildlife overpass called the Natuurbrug Zanderij Crailo. It is over 800 metres long and spans a railway line, business park, river, roadway, and sports complex. Read more about protected areas here.
The many wetlands of the Netherlands are home to one of Europe’s largest concentrations of birds making it a popular bird watching destination with up to 125 species to be spotted. The winter season in the grass and marshland of Waddenzee, sees nearly all species of European duck and geese, white tailed eagles and many waders. The summer time brings the black-tailed godwit, lapwings, snipe, ruff, garganey, and the common redshank. Also seen are the blue throat, common rosefinch, penduline tit, great reedwarbler, black woodpecker, lesser spotted woodpecker, firecrest and black grouse. Whilst this abundance of birds is a bird watchers dream, the number of tours offered to this area could cause disturbance to the birds. If you are looking at taking a bird watching trip to the Netherlands, please read our information on bird watching here before choosing your tour operator.
Unfulfilled potential in this match. Spain could thrive in this beautiful game with several national parks and beautiful countryside. But a lack of concentration allows them to slip up badly, as they are losing their prize assets like brown bears, and continuing to push bull fighting, bull running and bull fiestas, where the animals are often tortured, is a disastrous own goal. Holland, or the Netherlands, are not showy when it comes to wildlife but they certainly made the most of what they’ve got. The underdogs could snatch it here.
Spain 1 – 2 Holland
Don’t miss the next game…