Species that are alien to certain destinations and don’t belong there can be threat to the destination’s flora and fauna. Cats and dogs can especially have a damaging effect on natural wildlife. Ecotourism operators can be to blame to a degree because they live and grow their pets in these destinations. But ecotourism doesn’t just mean being sustainable but also not harming the wildlife in the destination by bringing strange and possibly damaging creatures as well.
“Ecotourism doesn’t just mean being
sustainable but also not harming the wildlife
in the destination by bringing strange and
possibly damaging creatures as well.”
Invasive species and ecotourism destinations
Invasive species are one of the most important and damaging causes of species extinction. The number one spot, of course, goes to extinction of habitats done by humans. Humans commonly introduced species like cats and dogs to the destinations.
These species are a regular appearance in many homes across the globe but they have a strong impact on ecotourism which has long been neglected.
Cats in ecotourism destinations
Cats are a threat to native species and they kill birds, reptiles and small mammals. They are estimated to kill about 3 million birds and 20 billion small mammals on a yearly basis.
“Cats are also responsible for the death of some larger species and can be effective predators on islands, being responsible for the extinction of more than 33 species that were endemic to the area. Cats threatened insular bats which is an endangered species and the sea cormorant as well as 63 other species that are endangered” says Roberta Everett, an Eco Blogger at Academized and Paper fellows.
Dogs in ecotourism destinations
Dogs are predators as well, and they have modified a cervid’s distribution and they pose a threat to endangered species in South America. They are responsible for 11 extinctions at the very least and have reduced the size of 188 species.
You can also notice that in the areas where dogs are often walked there are no birds or low numbers of birds, especially compared to the area where there are birds.
“Many ecotourists know the consequences
of bringing a pet to areas that are full of
indigenous lifestyle but some tourists
just won’t accept it at all.”
Common pets as ecotourism danger
So, the most common pets are responsible for species extinction and population reduction. But even with this data, there haven’t been too many attempts to prevent pets from coming to eco destinations or has anyone put it into proper context.
Cats and dogs are drivers of extinction. They disturb wildlife, bring diseases and hybridize with native species. They have introduced trypanosome-transmitting fleas on many islands which drove rodents and other creatures to extinction.
“Cats have hybridized with Scottish wild cats and this has drove it to become endangered. Dogs can hybridize with wolves, coyotes, African wild dogs, golden and black jackals and other similar creatures” comments Dorothy Maloney, a travel writer at Australian help and Big assignments.
Pets in ecotourism areas add to extinction of animals and wildlife – uncontrolled pets more so than controlled pets. Stray house cats can also be a danger – even though they are well taken care of. But when they leave the house, they can bring danger for many species and become feral if they get lost.
Many ecotourists know the consequences of bringing a pet to areas that are full of indigenous lifestyle but some tourists just won’t accept it at all. They want to bring their pets or they haven’t heard about the impact their pets can have.
In places that receive a lot of tourism traffic, there needs to be plenty of communication when it comes to pets and risks involved with pets. There are also places where pets are banned completely in order to protect the environment.
In small areas, where there is not plenty of information distribution, operators bring cats and dog with them and their tourists. This is very bad for the endemic species.
So, in order to protect this area, you should not bring pets if you are a tour operator, the pets that do live there should be neutered, if bans are not possible, there should be bells installed on the collars, the pets should be fed, vaccinated and kept in sight as much as possible.
About the Author
Nora Mork is a travel and lifestyle journalist at UK Writings and Boom Essays. She shares her knowledge by speaking at public conferences, and writing posts for magazines and blogs, such as Essay Roo.
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