Natural Habitat Adventures

About Nat Hab

5 Endangered Species That Are Bouncing Back Thanks to Ecotourism

In the face of disappearing habitat and depleting animal populations, travelers may have more conservation power than you think.

Between Botswana ending its five-year ban on elephant hunting and giraffes being considered for the endangered species list, there’s good reason to be concerned about wildlife conservation in the face of climate change, poaching and overpopulation.
 
Yet there are conservation success stories to tout, too – and eco-conscious wildlife tourism certainly plays a part. Natural Habitat Adventures, a global leader in responsible nature travel and the conservation travel partner of World Wildlife Fund, takes travelers to destinations where some threatened and endangered wildlife species are actually doing better in recent years.

According to the United Nations, travelers are a driving force for positive change when it comes to sustaining biodiversity. The revenue from tourists’ park fees, permits and donations made in-destination contributes to greater conservation achievements. Likewise, the increased appreciation for nature that comes with seeing a gorilla or a tiger in person also has an impact in circles of social influence. Simply put, the more visitors that wildlife attracts, the more incentive governments and private enterprise have to protect them.
Here are five species that are steadily making a comeback, thanks in part to ecotourism:

1. Bengal Tigers of South Asia


The endangered Bengal tiger is found in pockets of India, Nepal and other Asian countries, and while its habitat continues to decrease, the tiger population—currently around 3,900—has been rising since 2010, thanks to vigorous protection within India’s tiger reserves, intensive anti-poaching programs, and coordinated efforts between governments, NGOs and local communities to build habitat corridors and reduce human-tiger conflict. Recently, Nepal has nearly doubled its big cat population, reporting an estimated 235 wild tigers in 2018—up from 121 in 2009. What’s more, conservation efforts bolstered by a rising demand for tiger tracking on safari have inspired a pledge called the Global Tiger Recovery Program, which would see participating countries double the world’s wild tiger numbers by 2022. Search for the elusive predator for yourself on Nat Hab’s 12-day Grand India Wildlife Adventure, or visit one of the world’s best place to view tigers – Ranthambore National Park—on Nat Hab’s most tiger-intensive safari: the 7-day India Tiger Quest, guided by conservation-focused Expedition Leaders.

2. Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda


Last year marked 40 years since famed researcher Dr. Dian Fossey predicted the extinction of mountain gorillas by the year 2000, due to habitat destruction, disease and civil unrest. While those threats are still very much a reality today, Fossey left a lasting legacy for protection: the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported in 2018 that gorilla numbers have increased to nearly 1,004 from 680 in 2008, and changed their “critically endangered” status to “endangered.” With gorilla trekking becoming more popular among travelers, tourism boards and government organizations are also increasing the price of the permits required to see gorillas, in the interest of bolstering preservation efforts. Nat Hab’s naturalist Expedition Leaders, who are trained by WWF scientists, take travelers to witness these incredible creatures on a 10-day Great Uganda Gorilla Safari and a 13-day Ultimate Gorilla Safari that includes both Uganda and Rwanda.

3. Jaguars in Brazil's Pantanal


Despite being listed as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN due to habitat loss, decrease in wild prey, and conflict with cattle ranchers, jaguars are being seen with increasing frequency in Brazil’s 42-million-acre Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland—which also happens to be a popular tourism destination with even greater wildlife density than the Amazon. In 2017, a university study found that jaguar ecotourism represented a gross annual income of USD $6.8 million across the Pantanal, and can be a conservation tool to incentivize more harmonious cohabitation between farmers and the big cat. Similarly, the Caiman Ecological Refuge, a private reserve included in Nat Hab’s 11-day Jaguars & Wildlife of Brazil’s Pantanal trip, has dedicated 10 percent of its 130,000-acre property to conservation, and the jaguar population within the area has rebounded to such an extent that guests of the refuge are almost guaranteed to see them on safari.

4. China's Giant Pandas


Found only in small pockets of bamboo forest across southwestern China, giant pandas have been experiencing habitat loss due to China’s ever-growing human population for decades, yet the IUCN still reclassified them from “endangered” to “vulnerable” in 2016, following major conservation strides. Captive breeding and community-based conservation programs are working with local people to use ecotourism as a source of revenue, helping the panda’s numbers continue to rise. In 2018, Chinese officials announced that the wild panda population had increased nearly 60 percent (from 1,114 to 1,864) in only a decade, and that wild panda habitat has also nearly doubled in 10 years. View pandas and visit wild panda habitat on Nat Hab’s 12-day The Wild Side of China: A Nature Odyssey, or capture close-up images while visiting panda research bases on the 12-day Wild Side of China Photo Adventure.

5. Patagonia's Pumas


While an ecology study in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park indicated a rise in Patagonia’s puma numbers due to an increase in government protection, its numbers are now believed to be in decline due to high levels of poaching and conflict with sheep ranchers who live just outside the park. However, there is hope that travelers could make it possible for ranchers and pumas to coexist in this region; tourism revenue raised from visitors looking to track pumas throughout the park could potentially compensate ranchers for any loss of livestock. In the meantime, puma sightings are indeed increasing in Chile—so much so that Nat Hab has added a third day in Torres del Paine National Park to its Peaks, Lakes & Glaciers of Patagonia adventure, which takes guests into puma hunting grounds with help from a local guide.
About Nat Hab

Get Weekly Updates

Our weekly eNewsletter highlights new adventures, exclusive offers, webinars, nature news, travel ideas, photography tips and more.
Privacy Policy
We're Proud of the Reputation We’ve Earned
Outside
Voted "World's Best Travel
Company"
by Outside Magazine
Outside
Natural Habitat Adventures Ranked
“Best Outfitter”
NatGeo
Voted Best Winter Trip: Natural Habitat Adventures' Monarch Butterfly Migration, Mexico
VIEW MORE AWARDS

Request Your 2022 Catalog

Discover the World's Best

Nature Travel Experiences

Nathab 2022 Catalog

Together, Natural Habitat Adventures and World Wildlife Fund have teamed up to arrange nearly a hundred nature travel experiences around the planet, while helping to protect the spectacular places we visit and their wild inhabitants.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Request Your 2022 Catalog
Continued - Page 2 of 2
To help us customize your catalog request, please tell us more about your travel needs:
Thank you for requesting a catalog
We’ve received your request. If you have any questions about our trips, please feel free to contact an Adventure Specialist today by calling 800-543-8917.

Get Weekly Updatess

Discover the World's Best

Nature Travel Experiences

Our weekly eNewsletter highlights new adventures, exclusive offers, webinars, nature news, travel ideas, photography tips and more. Sign up today!

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Send Me Travel Emails
Privacy Policy
Thank you for joining our email list!

Look for a special welcome message in your inbox, arriving shortly! Be sure to add naturalhabitat@nathab.com to your email contacts so you don’t miss out on future emails.

Send Us a Message

Send Us a Message

Have a question or comment? Use the form to the right to get in touch with us.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Send Us a Message
Thank you for your message

We’ll be in touch soon with a response.

Refer a Friend

Refer a Friend
Earn rewards for referring your friends! We'd like to thank our loyal travelers for spreading the word. Share your friend's address so we can send a catalog, and if your friend takes a trip as a first-time Nat Hab traveler, you'll receive a $250 Nat Hab gift card you can use toward a future trip or the purchase of Nat Hab gear. To refer a friend, just complete the form below or call us at 800-543-8917. It's that easy! See rules and fine print here.
Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Refer a Friend

Earn rewards for referring your friends! We'd like to thank our loyal travelers for spreading the word. Share your friend's address so we can send a catalog, and if your friend takes a trip as a first-time Nat Hab traveler, you'll receive a $250 Nat Hab gift card you can use toward a future trip or the purchase of Nat Hab gear. To refer a friend, just complete the form below or call us at 800-543-8917. It's that easy! See rules and fine print here.

Thank you for the referral!

We've received your friend's information.

View Our 2022 Digital Catalog

View Our 2022

Digital Catalog

Help us save paper! We offer a digital version of The World's Greatest Nature Journeys. If you'd prefer a mailed copy, please provide your contact details here. To view our digital catalog, please enter your info in the form to the right.
Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
View Digital Catalog
Happy browsing!

Thanks for requesting access to our digital catalog. Click here to view it now. You’ll also receive it by email momentarily.

Our Trips

Polar Bear Tours

Polar Bear Tours

African Safaris

African Safaris

U.S. National Parks Tours

U.S. National Parks Tours

Alaska Adventures

Alaska Adventures

Canada & the North

Canada & the North

Galapagos Tours

Galapagos Tours

Mexico & Central America Tours

Mexico & Central America Tours

South America Adventures

South America Adventures

Europe Adventures

Europe Adventures

Asia & Pacific Adventures

Asia & Pacific Adventures

Antarctica & Arctic Journeys

Antarctica & Arctic Journeys

Adventure Cruises

Adventure Cruises

Photography Adventures

Photography Adventures

Family Adventures

Family Adventures

New Adventures

New Adventures

Questions? Call 800-543-8917

/about/press-room/press-releases/5-endangered-species-that-are-bouncing-back-thanks-to-ecotourism/