Sep 15

Yosina’s Maiden Voyage

Witnessing the destruction of the unique Coral Triangle area between Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea faces by pollution, trawling and drift-nets as well as damaging and illegal cyanide and dynamite fishing, the Chimp-n-Sea Wildlife Conservation Fund (vEco’s parent organization), and partner JARI had to do something. In 2013, the ‘Yosina’ was purchased with the aim of creating a “Floating Marine Park” to travel the seas, provide a research platform and to moor at local communities to educate and raise awareness of the threats the region faces.

Happily, the Yosina has just taken her maiden voyage! JARI staff visited several islands, dived both stunningly pristine sites and others which were ruined by bomb fishing, spoke to many locals and now have a list of priorities on how to best use the crowd-funding support given by many, including vEco supporters, to get Yosina up-to-scratch and operating permanently. The video below from JARI features stunning footage of this ground-breaking voyage from a drone (with thanks to Elfian Djajaputra).

Make sure you keep an eye out on for virtual tours from the Yosina very soon!


Aug 19

Welcome, Guardian readers! is pleased to welcome readers of The Guardian’s “Notes&Theories” segment, arriving at our site following our mention in the recent piece entitled “Support our red-haired cousins, the orangutans, before it’s too late“. You can join your host, Ian Redmond, OBE, in our unique interactive virtual ecotours of Orangutan habitat and conservation efforts in Sumatra by clicking on the links below or by consulting the map of tour locations here. Enjoy!

TripaThumb_240shortHigh up in an abandoned Orangutan nest, Tripa palm oil plantation, Aceh province, Indonesia





SOCPThumb_240shortAt the off-limits-to-the-public Sumatran Orangtuan Conservation Program (SOCP) quarantine facility in North Sumatra, Indonesia




FeedThumb_240shortUp close with a rescued Orangutan male at the Bukit Lawang feeding platform, North Sumatra, Indonesia





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Aug 12

Crossing paths with a forest elephant on World Elephant Day

© Ian Redmond / vEcotourism ambassador Ian Redmond recently had the very good fortune to encounter a magnificent forest elephant while trekking to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.

In our latest “taster” vEcotour, published to coincide with World Elephant Day, you’ll join Ian as he observes this marvellous creature calmly feeding in his native habitat, with a full-fledged version of this tour complete with video footage to follow shortly.  Once you see this gentle giant quietly browsing you can’t help but be moved to help protect these peaceful forest gardeners from the deadly ivory trade.

Click the image above to start your tour. Make sure you also view Ian’s thought-provoking vEcotour of the Paris ivory crush that took place this past February by clicking here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 11

Tusk to Dust: experience the emotion as 3.5 tonnes of ivory are destroyed in Paris, France

© Ian Redmond / vEcotourism

Ahead of World Elephant Day 2014 on August 12th, watch alongside vEcotourism’s ambassador, Ian Redmond, as 3.5 tonnes of illegal ivory tusks are crushed in Paris, France in February 2014. Highlighting the shocking illegal trafficking of ivory which is killing over 30,000 elephants each year, this exceptional event sent a clear message: it is unacceptable to allow this trade to continue.

“In the midst of photographing the scene, doing panos and videoing the action, I was suddenly struck by a pang of emotion while watching the tusks carried along the conveyor belt”, explains Ian, “It was a very moving moment to realise this was effectively a mass funeral, respectfully bidding farewell to the last remains of hundreds of elephant-beings.”

The crush in Paris followed similar shows of support for halting the ivory trade from Gabon, the Philippines, the USA and China.

Immerse yourself in this extraordinary event with our latest virtual tour (vEcotour) and say ‘No!’ to the destructive ivory trade.

Click on the image above or map below to start your tour.

Read more about the ivory crush and the plight elephants are facing at and


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Paris Ivory Crush 48.858200, 2.294500 Tusk to Dust Experience the emotion alongside Ian Redmond as 3.5 tonnes of ivory are destroyed in Paris, France (Feb 2014). Click the image to start your vEcotour.


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 and Facebook page

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JARI Helena\'s living quarters - Lombok, Indonesia -8.614968, 116.126175 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

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 © / 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

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!

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vEco global: 23.079732, 26.718750

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