If you’ve followed wildlife conservation with even a cursory interest over the past decade, you know that Asia is the major hotbed for illegal activity in the wildlife trade.
Rhinos are being slaughtered at a horrific rate to meet the “need” for their horn. Elephants are murdered for their ivory. Tigers are hunted for the alleged aphrodisiacal powers of their penis. Millions of sharks are mutilated– their fins hacked off while they’re still alive– to make shark fin soup. And thousands of Asiatic black bears (a.k.a. moon bears) are kept in cramped cages, with machines sucking out their bile for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
It was the latter practice that inspired British-born Jill Robinson to create the Animals Asia Foundation, a Hong Kong-based charity whose mission is to end cruelty to animals in Asia. Awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth in 1998, and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries award for world’s best sanctuary in 2011, Robinson has worked tirelessly to end the barbaric practice of bear bile farming, improve animal welfare in Asia, and educate China’s government and general public on the importance of wildlife consrvation.
It was an honor to speak with Robinson about the Animals Asia Foundation mission, the challenges facing wildlife conservation in Asia, and what she sees as signs of hope for the future.
The Latin America ecotourism industry has expanded considerably over the last few decades. Practically every country from Mexico to Argentina is emerging as a premiere destination for outdoor adventure due to the region’s geographical proximity to the U.S., inexpensive prices, peaceful political situation and abundant natural resources. Best of all, because of their gradual transformation into world-class havens for eco-minded tourists, most of these countries haven’t fallen victim to overdevelopment, offering a relatively pristine cultural experience. Here are 10 ecotourism activities in Latin America that adventurous souls should add to their bucket list:
The beach sands are white and pristine, having been raked smooth in the early hours when guests are still sleeping. The water is a crystalline blue endemic to Tahiti, and as still as mirrored glass. Ten yards from shore, coral nubbins of varying shapes and sizes are grafted to stone, like seedlings in some sort of underwater greenhouse.
As we strap on our masks and head out into the warm waters for our first experience in snorkeling Bora Bora, we’re instantly surrounded by all manner of marine life, from Parrotfish and Picasso Trumpetfish to playful Pufferfish. Making our way through what can only be described as a lushly landscaped coral garden, we see hundreds of different species, as well as numerous underwater sculptures colored by algae. There’s not another soul in sight.
Anyone who loves gardening and lives in an apartment or house without a big yard knows the disappointment of not having the space available to grow plants. But now, thanks to the increasingly popular “Do It Yourself Vertical Garden,” you can make planters that allow you to capitalize on the vertical space that almost everyone has. These planters are perfect for outside on a balcony or sun deck, or inside in an area with good sunlight. They’re very popular for growing herbs, but you can also add small flowering plants to make it more decorative. There are a number of different methods for making vertical planters yourself: The best approach depends on your personal preference, space, and the tools you have available to you…
Picture yourself in the middle of a vast green field, on the perimeter of a sacred circle. The throbbing pulse of tribal music fills the air with an insistent beat, until you feel its rhythm coursing through your veins. Voices rise and fall in polyphonic harmony, with a power and passion that seems almost otherworldly. Dancers prance and twirl in time, their costumes a whirling technicolor dream. Red-shouldered hawks circle above in an equally mesmerizing aerial waltz. We are here to celebrate Mother’s Day, and Mother Earth, and the beauty of all Creation. This is the Cherokee County Indian Festival, our favorite Georgia Pow Wow.