Earth Touch ran a story that left me thinking about animal conservation. The article is an eye-opening demonstration of how tourism is impacting Israel’s animal life. For us to fully understand the scope of the issue, we must look at the record number of visitors to the country in 2017.
Tourism is helping provide a boost to the country’s economy in a big way.
Reports show that there were 739,000 tourists in the country in the first quarter of the year. And 20% more people arrived in the country by air. It’s a booming business, and Israel relies on tourism to continue on a path of economic growth.
The problem is that tourism is hurting wildlife.
The report from Earth Touch just touches on the mounting problem. Arabian wolves, an animal that is known for staying in the shadows, has started to come out of hiding. The problem is that attacks are on the rise, causing concern among tourists and park rangers alike.
What’s the problem?
Tourism. The 100 – 150 wolves of this species that live in Israel are now starting to approach tourists and even raid their camps. Warnings have been posted after one tourist, a one-year-old girl, was attacked by wolves. The girl was lucky enough to escape the attack with minor scratches.
Garbage and improperly contained food has led to the rise in wolf sightings and attacks.
Israel needs to do something about the growing problem before more attacks occur. Turning tourists into responsible conservationists is the key to success.
Jewelry may be a key to the success of animal conservation. Jerusalem is known for their necklaces, bracelets and jewelry from local and famous designers. There are a lot of options. A walk down King David Street is the perfect place to start buying jewelry.
Tourists are a major purchaser of jewelry.
So, how does this tie together?
It’s time to start helping support businesses and organizations that focus on helping animals. Helping Animals at Risk, for example, provides part of their proceeds to help animals. This is a passive way to help animals that are being negatively impacted by Israel’s rising tourism industry.
Local businesses benefitting most from tourism need to do their part to help animals. A small donation of their proceeds can help support animals. A focus on education can help, too. Oftentimes, tourists are oblivious to the results of their actions. Tourists don’t understand that feeding animals, leaving food around or even improperly preparing their camp sites makes animals reliant on human activity.
Israel itself has done its part to help animals on a government level.
The country has dedicated 22% of the land to nature reserves and national parks, which is a step in the right direction.
But what else can be done, with tourism in mind, to help offset the industry’s impact on animals?
- Education. The first and most important thing is to educate tourists on animal conservation. Educate tourists on the impact of the garbage they leave behind, and teach them how to properly protect their camp sites from being raided. A little education will go a long way in helping tourists respect the wildlife they travel the world to see.
- Responsibility. Products made from endangered or threatened species need to be taken off of the market. Souvenirs are the first place to look. Oftentimes, these products are made from parts of endangered species, which is anything but responsible.
Of course, donations and animal conservation groups go a long way in helping protect animals.
If tourists are taught about the region’s animals and Israel’s efforts to curb hunting and preserve wildlife, we might see a much-needed change.