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> Please respect the Amazon!
post May 13 2006, 11:27 AM
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I just returned from an amazing three day day trip in the Amazon pampas. This area is teeming with wildlife and beautiful flora.

While I was in awe at my surroundings, I was disgusted with the behaviours of some of the people I was with. They were feeding wild monkeys and aligators, not realizing or caring that this can make them sick and it also makes them dependent on being fed.

I saw one girl throw her cigarette butt into the river! Maybe she didnīt realize that besides polluting the water, chances are a turtle or similar animal will mistake the cigarette for food and will also become sick.

When we travel to these ecologically sensitive areas, it is so important for us to be responsible. The locals offering these trips may not be as educated about the impact these tours have, and they may be more interested in making money to support their families, thus just giving the tourists what they want.

Please make responsible choices and do not underestimate the impact you have on these environments!!

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post Dec 4 2008, 10:53 AM
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I couldn't agree more. I just returned from a Pampas trip out of Rurrenabaque and was concerned with the respect for the environment.

I reied to find what I though would be an ethical tour company but before you sign up they all tell you they respect the environment and don't feed or touch the animals. I spoke with our guide and he was quite concerned about the effects of tourism, but the toruists demand dictate what happens on the tour.

We saw an anaconda, he crawled into his burrow for safety and because all the tourists wanted a photo he tried to pull him back out. Before pirannha fishing he told the whole group that he would prefer it if we did catch and release and not take the fish. I didn't go but the 6 other people on my tour returned with 21 fish!

On the 3rd day we were supposed to swim with dolphins. I chose not too, I think threatened animals should be protected from humans, not subjected to them. I wondered how they know where the dolphins would be, but they feed them to keep them around! Horrible way to treat animals whose numbers are already depleating. There's also an ailgator in the same spot who is extremely fat from all the fish the guides give him so that tourists can touch him with their DEET laced hands. Again our guide said he doesn't like this and would prefer it people didn't, but again people on our tour wanted to touch him and wanted photos with the aligator's mouth open so he fulfilled their wishes.

It's hard to blame the guide, he's trying to show all the guests a good time so he can make some tips. It is up to the tourists to demand respect and change in these unsustainable, disrespectful and selfish practices of tourism. Some things are more important than a photo.
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