Conservation Conversations to Inspire in 2021
For traveler’s looking to support sustainability programs in 2021, here’s more about innovative initiatives from properties around that world that offer hands-on, and off, approaches to conservation and sustainability.
Turtles, Turtles, Turtles at Fregate Island Private Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Fregate Island Private is a luxury hideaway as well as a conservation sanctuary. Guests of Fregate Island Private are encouraged to participate in the hands-on conservation experiences such as assisting in turtle hatchlings, cultivating sea coral, and visiting the island’s bird sanctuary. Currently, it is Hawksbill Turtle season at Fregate with 133 Hawksbill Turtles visiting in December alone, laying 172 nests on the Grande Anse beach. The conservation team at Fregate has tagged 91 individual turtles so far this mating season. In the 2019/20 mating season, over 940 Hawksbill turtles visited the shores of Fregate, releasing 3,300 babies back into the Indian Ocean.
From its family owned origins, Singita’s exquisite portfolio of lodges and camps across Africa have grown into a collection of environmentally sensitive properties, driven by a desire to preserve and protect the most vulnerable ecosystems for generations to come. As Africa provides an important regional perspective of the global environmental imperative. Its vast wilderness areas and abundant wildlife bring the reality of the situation into sharp focus, highlighting the alarming biodiversity loss which is placing us on the brink of a sixth mass extinction.
Singita strives to honor its 100-year purpose – the guiding light for every key decision and every area of operation, their role is to contextualize the numerous conservation and community projects for guests, while bringing together the funds and trusts to support this far-sighted conservation vision. This complementary relationship between Singita, individual philanthropists, and the funds and trusts highlights the importance of sustainable tourism in conservation and give meaning to their commitment to safeguard the continent’s most vulnerable species and their natural habitats well into the next century. These funds support a variety of community and conservation initiatives, ranging from K9 support rangers in the Sabi Sands to Early Childhood Development initiatives in South Africa.
Tswalu Tswalu is unique in that it has a foundation dedicated to research. Most conservation companies and initiatives base their conservation work on third party research while Tswalu does it themselves. So research informs every conservation decision taken, and is a vital part of what Tswalu is all about. Hence, guests are encouraged to interact and learn with scientists and doctoral students in the field. For example, guests can join pangolin researcher and KEEP’s project manager Wendy Panaino (who you met in New York) during her field studies, which often happen in the middle of the night most pangolins are nocturnal. Here is more information about the research. Another opportunity for a hands-on (of better hands-off) experience is the thermal ecology of Cape cobras research project. This study also falls under the Kalahari Endangered Ecosystem Project (KEEP), which looks at the responses of Kalahari organisms to climate change. Here is some more information about the research and the scientist Thilo Beck. Tschuggen Hotel Group Switzerland-based Tschuggen Hotel Group just celebrated the first anniversary of their partnership with myclimate, a non-profit Swiss organization advising companies on climate protection and sustainable development. The two first paired up to make the hotel group’s five properties CO2 neutral and get their guests involved in conservation. The group has since updated the heating and energy systems throughout all of their properties and helped restore a local peat bog in Neuchâtel. Each hotel also gives their guests the option to play an active part in climate protection with myclimate’s “Cause We Care” initiative. Hotel guests can opt to compensate for their travels to and from the hotels upon checking in. There are four categories with corresponding amounts to choose from, ranging between $5 and $150 per person, depending on their method of travel and distance from the hotel.
Gaya Island Resort Gaya Island Resort is a five-star property located on the Malaysian island of Borneo, set within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The property plays a proactive role in animal conservation through their Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre and Gaya Island Resort Wildlife Centre programs. Led by the resort’s Resident Marine Biologist, the marine centre advocates turtle rescue, coral reef restoration and conservation through education. Since its launch in 2013, the marine centre has rescued, treated and cared for multiple endangered green turtles, provided a controlled environment for freshly planted corals to recover, and hosted weekly conservation talks to guests to learn and become involved in their programs. At the wildlife centre, the resort’s Resident Naturalist leads their programs to preserve the island’s endangered proboscis monkeys, research and rescue wildlife species and create nature trails around the island. During every stay, guests are invited to visit the centres and take part in one of their signature experiences, including their Mangrove Kayak Tour and Coral Garden Marine Expedition.
Quasar Expeditions Quasar Expeditions offers luxury trips around the Galapagos Islands on their fabulous yachts, the M/V Evolution and M/Y Grace (Princess Grace Kelly’s former yacht). By operating in an ecosystem as sensitive as the Galapagos Islands, Quasar Expeditions is committed to conserving and giving back to the community. In addition to being involved with The Galapagos Scouts, The Charles Darwin Foundation and Galapagos Conservancy, the Ecuadorian-based company is working on a brand-new boat, the M/Y Conservation. The M/Y Conservation will be the first Galapagos ship with a comprehensive sustainability plan – encompassing everything from design to daily operations. The experience will be entirely eco-friendly, without compromising on the spacious comfort, luxurious amenities, and immersive adventures Quasar is known for. The new boat will also be able to host up to three scientists, conservationists, and volunteers on each cruise. Their initiatives will include conducting archipelago research, monitoring the impacts of introduced species and increased tourism.