Jul 31

Celebrate World Ranger Day 2014

The Institute in Congo for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) is the government agency of the Democratic Republic of Congo charged with the task of protecting the flora and fauna of the country © Ian Redmond

The Institute in Congo for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) is the government agency of the Democratic Republic of Congo charged with the task of protecting the flora and fauna of the country © Ian Redmond

World Ranger Day on 31 July celebrates the remarkable men and women who work to protect our endangered wildlife and threatened ecosystems. With the illegal wildlife trade burgeoning, poachers and smugglers are better funded and have more sophisticated weapons. threatening wildlife and rangers alike. An estimated 1,000 rangers have been killed in the last 10 years according to The Thin Green Line Foundation.

No-one at vEcotourism is more familiar with those who protect our natural resources than our ambassador, Ian Redmond:

“In recent months I have worked alongside rangers and wardens in Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, DRC and Tanzania,” explains Ian, “I’ve seen them arrest a poacher, destroy illegal cattle-herders camps, explore unknown forested valleys, and provide friendly security. They even help tourists visiting mountain gorillas and, as they are this week, assist conservationists looking to climb Mount Kilimanjaro!

“So, on World Ranger Day 2014, on our approach to the summit of the world’s highest free-standing mountain and Africa’s highest point, I salute all rangers and wardens for their dedication and courage in protecting our planet’s natural wonders and the ecosystems that sustain us all. They are an inspiration!”

Many of the vEcotours featured on this site would not have been possible without the remarkable efforts of rangers. From the protective gorilla guides in Rwanda to viewing a tree-climbing lion in Uganda, rangers have contributed their efforts in each and every tour. Why not celebrate by taking one or two vEcotours here?

vEcotourism would like to join Ian in saluting these amazing people and all that they give to protect our natural world. Thank you!

From 29 July to 6 April, Ian Redmond is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of various different organisations. You can support him here and make sure you keep an eye out for the world’s very first virtual ecotour of Mount Kilimanjaro!

Jul 14

A home away from home in Lombok, Indonesia

Home away from homeIn our latest vEcotour experience Dr. Helena Baird’s beautiful “home away from home” in Indonesia as she volunteers with vEcotourism’s partner, marine protection organisation JARI

“Volunteering in a developing country is more than just the work itself” Helena explains, “it’s an entirely immersive, challenging and uplifting experience. I have almost been in Indonesia for six months now, so thought I’d give you a taste of my “home away from home” here on Lombok. As you’ll see it’s quite beautiful, but it certainly has its quirks…and it couldn’t be more dissimilar to my home in Tasmania!”

So click on the image above or map below to start your tour.  Find out how Helena is adjusting to living in Indonesia and discover the various residents, human and otherwise, with whom she shares her home.

To find out more about JARI, please visit their website www.jari.or.id and Facebook page www.facebook.com/supportingsustainableseas

loading map - please wait...

JARI Helena\'s living quarters - Lombok, Indonesia -8.707124, 115.845337 JARI HQ, Lombok, Indonesia Dr. Helena Baird will guide you through her home from home as she volunteers in Indonesia. Click the image to start your vEcotour!

Jun 30

Get ready for the Kwita Izina gorilla naming celebrations in Kinigi, Rwanda with vEcotourism.org

Ian guides you through and access-all-area tour of Kwita Izina 2013

On 1st July 2014 Rwanda will host the tenth annual ‘Kwita Izina’, a gorilla naming ceremony for each born in the Volcanoes National Park during the year! This year, if you are not able to attend, take a guided virtual tour (vEcotour) with primate expert Ian Redmond during last year’s event when he was given an all-access pass to this unique celebration!

“There is so much dismal news in conservation it is wonderful to have something to celebrate! Each year there are a few more mountain gorillas than the year before (the only ape we can say that about) and Rwanda celebrates this success in style at their annual gorilla naming ceremony, the Kwita Izina.” vEcotourism ambassador Ian Redmond explains. Read more and experience the Kwita Izina vEcotour here

Jun 18

Get up close and personal with wild red colobus monkeys on Zanzibar

Jozani Forest, Zanzibar © vEcotourism.org / Ian Redmond

vEcotourism ambassador Ian Redmond recently touched down on the beautiful island of Zanzibar for a 24-hour whirlwind visit. Trekking through the island Ian encountered various interesting landscapes which vEcotourism will shortly be shaping into a full-fledged multi-pano, multi-hotspot vEcotour.

As a taster, we have put together a quick vEcotour of Jozani Forest in Zanzibar’s only national park, where Ian was able to hang out with endangered Red Colobus monkeys which have become surprisingly habituated in the area. Just 2,000 Red Colobus monkeys remain in Zanzibar with less than half of these protected within the national park. Read more and launch the vEcotour here

Jun 16

Help launch the good ship Yosina and protect threatened Indonesian marine ecosystems

The good ship YosinaEncompassing the greatest diversity of coral reefs and fish in the world, the unique Coral Triangle area between Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea faces serious threats from pollution, trawling and drift-nets as well as damaging and illegal cyanide and dynamite fishing.

Seeing the destruction for themselves, in 2001 the Chimp-n-Sea Wildlife Conservation Fund (vEco’s parent organization), and partner JARI, came up with an innovative plan: a one-of-a-kind “Floating Marine Park” that would travel the seas leaving marine protected areas, improved marine habitats, and sustainable fisheries in its wake.

In 2013, the vessel for this ambitious plan, named ‘Yosina’ (see left), was purchased and the conservation education and research platform retrofit completed. The team is now just months from launching Yosina and need YOUR help to put the final touches to the boat and turn this vital plan into action!

“I cannot stress the importance of this boat enough. There are still many local communities practicing explosive and cyanide fishing in the area… it is a dangerously threatened ecosystem. Education is imperative! Every dollar will help immensely” Dr. Helena Baird, volunteer with JARI.

To add your support to this vital and innovative marine education project, visit Yosina’s IndieGogo page and make your pledge today!

To see Yosina before the retrofit began, and to learn a bit more about her base of operations, check out our vEcotour guided by Mark Laxer, president of Chimp-n-Sea and Founder & Director of vEcotourism.org.

To learn more about JARI and Dr. Helena Baird’s work in Indonesia, visit her introductory vEcotour at JARI headquarters in Lombok, Indonesia.

Jun 11

vEcotourism engages with Ugandan students at Makerere University

Makere University students get a taste of vEcotourism with Mark O!

Makere University students get a taste of vEcotourism!

Ugandan vEco blogger and photographer, Mark Olokotum (a.k.a. Mark O!), broke new ground this past Friday, June 6th, as he introduced students of the Department of Biological Sciences at Makerere University, Uganda, to the wonders and possibilities of vEcotourism.

Introduced by vEco Tour Guide and Content Developer, Jackson Efitre, Mark O dazzled the group with stories about vEcotourism, its origins, how the tours are created, their potential and how the projects and partners featured within our vEcotours help local communities and work to protect wildlife and its habitat. Mark O also personally guided the group on a vEcotour through vEco’s Murchison falls and Albertine Escarpment.

“Many of the students, despite living here their whole lives, had never visited the Ugandan vEcotour locations I showed them”, explains Mark O, “They were extremely curious about how we created the tours. Their interest and engagement demonstrated the huge potential for vEcotourism not only for people around the world but also for those who live locally who are not able to visit these extraordinary places.”

Following the talk, many of the students spent time immersing themselves in the various vEcotours on our website, connecting with vEco through social media and several people even wanted to volunteer and expand the potential of vEcotourism.

As Mark O concludes: “It is immensely satisfying to present vEcotours to my counterparts and see them engage with the remarkable Ugandan landscapes. I very much look forward to showing the wonders of vEcotourism, of our incredible natural world, to many more people.”

To view any of our vEcotours, please click on the map below!

loading map - please wait...

vEco global: 23.079732, 26.718750

Jun 05

Explore the world with vEcotourism.org on World Environment Day 2014

WED_2014_EN_LSet up by the United Nations in 1973, World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated annually on 5 June to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the environment. WED has become an impressive platform from which organisations and individuals alike can do something positive for the environment.

“On the 41st World Environment Day, we would like to encourage everyone to explore the world through vEcotourism.org” Andrina Murrell, Communications Director for vEcotourism.org, explains, “Immerse yourself in fascinating landscapes with amazing wildlife and understand the issues facing our world through the storytelling and technology or our global virtual ecotours.”

Pick one of our exciting virtual ecotours (what we call “vEcotours”) from the map below! Take a trip to Sumatra to meet one of our closest relatives and endangered species, the orangutan, discover the secrets in the rocks in Canada, sidle up to the mighty mountain gorilla in Rwanda and much, much more.
Read the rest of this entry »

May 30

Helena’s first vEcotour: JARI HQ, Lombok, Indonesia

JARI HQ pano

vEco is proud to present the first ever vEcotour from JARI volunteer, Dr. Helena Baird! As you will see from the tour Helena is no doubt as talented a panoramic photographer as she is a marine ecologist.

“JARI, or “Juang Laut Lestari”, is a small but fiercely motivated locally-run NGO based in Lombok, Indonesia” explains Helena, “JARI’s overarching aim is to improve the condition of Indonesia’s threatened marine ecosystems through outreach, education, research, and most importantly, by working together with local communities.”

Current JARI projects include a marine conservation education program for primary schools called “Laut Sahabat Kita” (“The Sea is Our Best Friend”) and the conversion of a fishing boat into a conservation and education platform named Yosina, co-funded by vEco’s parent organisation Chimp’n’Sea. The boat will visit remote villages in Sumbawa to help them grow through sustainable fishing and ecotourism.

Immerse yourself in this amazing experience alongside Helena: “I will be working to help increase JARI’s capacity for the next year and would like to bring you with me on this journey through vEcotourism.org. Here is my first vEcotour of the humble headquarters of JARI, from where many great conservation goals are currently being initiated. I hope you enjoy it!”

View the tour by clicking on the image above, the vEco icon on the map below or by clicking here.

loading map - please wait...

JARI HQ pano - Lombok, Indonesia -8.707124, 115.845337 JARI HQ, Lombok, Indonesia Stroll through JARI headquarters in Lombok, Indonesia alongside Dr. Helena Baird. Click the image to start your vEcotour!

May 28

What would you say if given the chance to talk to the world for 15 minutes? – TEDx talk by Ian Redmond

vEcotourism ambassador and great ape expert, Ian Redmond was recently invited to give a TEDx talk at Southampton University.  After the event, Ian explained to vEco how he felt about this unique and exciting experience:

What would you say if given the chance to talk to the world for 15 minutes? I’ve been a fan of TED talks – with their tag-line ‘ideas worth sharing’ – for some time, so was delighted when I was invited to speak at one of the independently organised TEDx events at Southampton University. The rules were simple but strict – stay on the circular red carpet when speaking, don’t look behind you at the screen and do not exceed 15 minutes!

I was last up after an afternoon of outstanding speakers on a variety of topics linked by the theme ‘flourishing in the 21st Century’. Given half a chance, I do like to engage an audience with stories to illustrate my point, but the large digital clock was counting down the seconds in front of me. I had to stay focused, touching on my work with gorillas and elephants but heading for the main take-home message: it is increasingly clear that the health of our planet depends on the ecosystem services provided by tropical forests, and that the health of those forests depends on keystone animal species such as primates and elephants, who prune the trees, create light-gaps, spread tonnes of manure and disperse the seeds that will grow into the trees of tomorrow. Ergo, if you value the forests, then you must protect the gardeners of the forest! I made it to the end with one second to spare!

You can watch the complete TEDx talk by Ian Redmond below.

 As featured in the TEDx talk don’t miss the opportunity to have your own immersive experience with mountain gorillas, expertly guided by Ian Redmond himself, via a vEcotour of the Virunga Mountains here.

May 13

Introducing Mark Laxer

Mark Laxer - BorgoHi. Mark Laxer here, president of Chimp-n-Sea Wildlife Conservation Fund and director of the vEcotourism project.

Welcome to my new blog series! That’s me in the photo in 2010, dressed as a human-ape hybrid. I was promoting my book, The Monkey Bible, that I wrote to encourage religious and scientific communities to work together to protect wildlife. The main character of this allegory invents vEcotourism.

All told, 2010 was a bold year for me and I’ve again been inspired to take bold steps in 2014. This year, I’m building a Mobile Elephant Theater. What exactly is it? Where will it go?  What is its connection to vEcotourism? Follow my new blog on vEcotourism.org and I’ll answer these questions and more. Stay tuned! Please share and like this post so that my future entries will show up in your newsfeed.

- Mark

Older posts «