Our tour guide, Severo navigating the waters of the Beni River in the Bolivian Amazon. Severo is one of a team of dedicated environmentalists who protect and defend the Serere Reserve against illegal loggers and other predators. Rainforest conservation through eco tourism is their strategy & 100% of their profits go to conservation work and the local community.
Why Does the Amazon Need Protecting?
We talk a lot about rainforest conservation at Vermont Woods Studios and I'm sure many people wonder why we're so fanatic about it. Part of the reason for our forest conservation mission is is my love of animals and wildlife. And part of it is that humanity is destroying a precious resource (that took billions of years to evolve) at a rate that surpasses any previous mass extinction. Consider that:
Forests have completely disappeared in 25 countries and another 29 countries have lost > 90% of their forest cover.
Madidi Travel: Protectors of the Amazon
We've written before about who's responsible for destroying the rainforest. Today I wanted to tell you about people who are dedicating their lives to conserving the rainforest. Last week Kendall and I visited Riley, who was volunteering for them at Madidi Travel in the Serere Reserve in Bolivia. Ecotourism supporting conservation is Madidi's strategy. They are a team led by the legendary environmental activist, Rosamaria Ruiz (featured in this National Geographic article).
Diego manages many aspects of hospitality at the Serere Reserve. I imagine this job is rather different from his previous experiences managing Club Med facilities! Here he and Monsieur Tapir are having a moment. Madidi Travel uses responsible ecotourism to fund rainforest conservation in the Bolivian Amazon. The Serere Reserve functions as a sanctuary for rescued wildlife, many of whose mothers have been shot and eaten by illegal loggers. Kendall, Riley and I had an amazing time getting to know the orphaned tapirs, monkeys, chonchos and capybaras.
After decades of conservation work in the Bolivian Amazon, which resulted in the creation of the Madidi National Park, Ms Ruiz purchased a 4000 hectacre reserve known as Serere. The land was severely damaged by illegal logging and other unauthorized exploitations but Ms Ruiz and her team have brought it back to life. It is now one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse places on the planet (as you can see in this Serere video).
Can Eco Tourism Help Save the Rainforest?
With much of the reforestation already in progress, the job of patrolling the rainforest and protecting it's inhabitants now takes center stage at Serere. That's where the strategy of ecotourism comes in. Guests can join local guides on daily hikes and canoe rides throughout the reserve. Thus the land is patrolled while visitors enjoy the amazing biodiversity of life in the forest (we saw 5 different species of monkeys in one day). Learn more about ecotourism supporting rainforest conservation on this Madidi Travel video.
Having lunch with Rosamaria Ruiz, Madidi Travel team members and volunteers. We were in Rurrenabaque, the launch point for Amazon rainforest ecotourism adventures. Now is the time to go, if you're thinking of visiting the Amazon. The US dollar is currently very strong in Bolivia and the need for your support of ecotourism is urgent.