Sun bear

Helping the natural world remotely

Natural World Safaris

Amazon Rose

31 Mar 2020

When utilised correctly, tourism can be a driver for wildlife conservation, from raising awareness of species under threat, supporting local communities, schemes and centres and driving economic growth to parks and conservation areas. Covid-19 has brought tourism across the world to a standstill, and with it much of the crucial funding needed for these conservation efforts. Many of our clients return from trips having been deeply moved by all they have witnessed and are inspired to continue to support organisations in a long-term capacity. The same may go for anyone who has postponed or cancelled a trip, or simply those who feel a desire to give a voice and aid to wildlife in this uncertain and unstable time.

The threats weighing on wildlife are often large and complex, so much so individuals might feel powerless about them. However, every person’s small actions add up to a much larger solution – making the difference between a species surviving or disappearing forever. It can be difficult to know where to start, so we have compiled a list of ten suggested actions to make it easy! Alongside this we will be posting weekly updates on featured organisations that do credible work in wildlife and communities, this blog series will detail how you can help the natural world from the comfort and safety of your own home.

10 ways to help from home

1. If you do have a conservation-supporting trip planned this year, postpone it, don’t cancel! This will mean the funding doesn’t disappear from where it is needed.

2. Plan responsibly. Try to follow the measure, reduce and offset method to ensure your holiday is as sustainable as possible, along with ensuring any centres you visit are in line with the highest standards of animal welfare, e.g. no elephant rides!

3. Say no to plastic, particularly during this time of isolation where many of us are relying on online orders, check if it’s possible to send your parcel without plastic packaging. A surprising amount of companies will oblige this request, just phone up and ask. Even if they don’t oblige, it’s a good way of showing the industry there is a demand to go plastic-free.

4. Consume responsibly. By not purchasing products made from illegally sourced protected wildlife or their parts and products, you can stop wildlife trafficking from being a profitable enterprise. More information can be found through your national or local wildlife authorities or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or Wild fauna and Flora (CITES).

5. Stay informed. Learn more about our planet’s flora and fauna, including those that are in danger of extinction. Research ways that you or your community can conserve and protect wildlife. Inform yourself on current environmental matters and be aware of your individual impact on ecosystems and wildlife. Think globally, act locally.

6. Whilst confined to your home, turn your gaze to your immediate natural surroundings. Consider what you can do for nature in your own area, whether it’s to put up a birdfeeder in your garden, make a space for hedgehogs or plant wildflowers in a window box to encourage bees and butterflies, there’s a wealth of ways you can help your local nature. Follow our weekly blog for tips on this here.

7. Speak up. Share your knowledge, passion and questions about wildlife conservation with your friends, family and community – think online forums, social media, email chains, the internet is your oyster.

8. Challenge and fundraise. Online campaigns can be increasingly effective in a digital world, try a gofundme or a social media campaign to raise money for a conservation effort or endangered animal of your choice.

9. Leave a legacy, sign up to leave a legacy in your will and help the animals for many more years to come.

10. Donate or adopt. This is the easiest way of them all, donate straight to your favourite conservation effort or for a more personal experience ‘adopt’ an animal in need. See below for some great examples of this!

We will be posting a weekly conservation effort we believe needs our help during this uncertain time. If we support our natural world, we can get through this together.

Sun bear © BSBCC
Sun bear © BSBCC

Conservation effort of the week: The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Our Natural World Hero Wong Siew Te is the CEO and founder of The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, somewhere those who have traveled Borneo may have had the pleasure of visiting. The centre supports sun bear conservation through a holistic approach that incorporates improving the welfare of the rescued captive sun bears, education, research, and rehabilitation. Sun bears face a ruthless plight as they are threatened by habitat loss, the cruel bile industry and the pet trade where they are kept in small cages, often in horrific conditions. The centre does its best to rescue, care for and release these bears back to where they belong– the wild!

Last week, the centre had to close down to the public – a sad but unavoidable response to the ongoing covid-19 crisis. Due to this closure, the centre’s main source of income has disappeared and is threatening their daily operations. The panic buying and global clamouring to buy equipment such as masks and gloves to protect ourselves from covid-19 has also created a shortage of these pieces which are important for bear-care, along with a shortage of food supplies. It is shortages such as these which render supporting vulnerable species so crucial in these times, as they are direct demonstrations of the knock-on effect of our own actions.

Sun bear © BSBCC
Sun bear © BSBCC

To support these bears head to their website here. Here you can donate directly or ‘adopt’ one of the six bears featured. Each bear profile has a few photographs and a biography on their personality– it’s well worth a look, you can browse the bears here. Adopt a vulnerable bear for one year for 300Myr which is roughly £55, that’s under £5 a month. In return you will receive:

A sun bear gift

An adoption certificate

A photograph of your bear

A button badge

An e-newsletter every four months including updates on your bear

By donating or adopting you’ll also be confident in the knowledge that you’ll have directly contributed to the essential upkeep and care of these endangered bears. You can catch other updates from the centre on their social media platforms, if you can’t give, why not share?

Sun bear

Come back next week for another conservation effort in need!

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