The Inglorious Bustards have a challenge! As conservationists, we are only too aware of the environmental impact of the activities associated with our business. We want to share with you the joy of watching wildlife all along the East Atlantic Flyway, but in doing so we inevitably encourage consumption of the planet´s resources. Our challenge as a responsible ecotourism operator is to ensure that our activities can be channelled into a positive outcome for the environment. We want to make sure that, when you travel with us, you´ll be benefitting, not exploiting the wildlife we see together. On our trips, “eco-tourism” is a promise, not an oxymoron.
We have conservation in our hearts and we care about the things that you care about! That is why we try to link our eco-tourism to conservation and wider sustainable societal gains wherever possible.
We will be continually adding new connections, networks and partners to this page as we find new and exciting ways of ensuring conservation remains at the very heart of everything we do. We will continually share expertise with other individuals and organisations to achieve real measurable benefits for Nature.
Want to see what we mean?! We were proud and delighted to provide logistical support for the production of this uplifting short film, showing how SEO and GREPOM – Birdlife International‘s Spanish and Moroccan partners – are working in Morocco to pull the Northern Bald Ibis back from the brink of extinction…
Our Conservation partners
The Migres Foundation are a private non-profit, scientific and cultural foundation, oriented to the preservation and enhancement of natural heritage in the Straits of Gibraltar.
They perform research and awareness programs, develop advanced training activities and environmental education, organise conferences and all kinds of national and international meetings, and encourage activities promoting sustainable local development and nature tourism in general.
Migres manages a long-term monitoring program of bird migration through the Strait of Gibraltar based on standardised constant effort protocols. Every year they run daily counts of migration always using the same observatories and schedule.
Based on this information they are able to calculate abundance indices that reflect the actual number of birds on migration, allowing them to monitor changes in their populations and migratory patterns. The origin of the program dates back to 1997 (soaring birds) and 2001 (seabirds), and is currently one of the greatest sustained efforts for monitoring migratory birds in Europe.
“The fork is the most powerful tool to change the planet.”
Our work over decades for the RSPB attempting to reverse the fortunes of both UK and European farmland wildlife has made us recognise the power of food choice and how it can affect the plight of declining species. This is why we teamed up with the Tarifa Ecocenter.
The Ecocenter is a local hub in Tarifa for eco-consciousness. We think global, we act local. Their organic vegetarian restaurant and pizzeria isa great social meeting place where you can share delicious food and enjoy sustainably-sourced produce from their organic, wildlife-friendly farm here in the Straits. We work in partnership to offer visitors an experience around food choice and how positive change can help our wildlife and the wider environment.
Our picnic fruit and vegetables are now sourced from the Ecocenter, being grown locally on their farm.
Marisma 21 is an organisation devoted to the restoration of the salt marshes in the Bay of Cadiz, on the south-western coast of Spain. They use using artisanal salt production methods to aid the recovery and revitalisation of this important ecological area. This not only ensures the maintenance of the macro-flora in the salt pans – an important food source for migratory waders – but also enhances the local environment for aquatic salt-loving species.
This sympathetic management and hand-harvesting of the pans uses methods that have been in use since Roman and Phoenician times. It generates multiple benefits for wildlife, making it truly fair to nature. It also brings employment to the area in the form of salt workers and nature tourism.
The Inglorious Bustards will continue to promote nature-friendly salt products to clients (even including it in our legendary picnics!) and link salt production to eco-tourism wherever possible through the development of new and exciting tours.
This is a continuing relationship from Simon’s work with Fair to Nature
The Gambia Birdwatchers Association
Based at Kotu Creek, near Brufut, The Gambia Birdwatchers Association was established in 2007. It provides a headquarters for the area´s bird guides, trains the next generation of ornithologists, and carries out excellent project-based conservation work, including utilising local volunteers in the restoration of mangrove swamp habitat. In The Gambia, many important forests are community-owned, and GBA are instrumental in setting up community reserves, training bird guides in the villages and enabling them to benefit from the preservation of forest habitat through well-thought-out ecotourism.
Inglorious Bustards work closely with GBA, giving project advice and consultation. From 2019, we will be donating 10% of our profits from all our Gambia trips to supporting their high quality, objective-led work.
What we can´t eliminate, we offset.
Unlike some carbon-offsetting schemes, this is not simply a case of absolving guilt by shoving some trees in an ill-thought-out location! WLT funds the purchase or lease of threatened land to create nature reserves, protecting both habitats and their wildlife. By protecting and restoring threatened forest in key areas of conservation importance, CO₂ emissions are prevented and carbon storage enhanced.To make projects like this work, this fore-sighted organisation includes, rather than excludes local communities. It funds partner NGOs to employ local people as reserve rangers, sustainably managing some of the world’s most threatened habitats and the animals found within them.
We balance all the CO₂ emissions associated with our staff flights and all in-country travel and accommodation associated with our tours. In 2018, we offset over 24 tonnes of CO₂, funds for which went directly to acquiring and preserving threatened forest habitat. We are also encouraging you to offset your own holiday flights through WLT. Currently this can be done directly through their website, but in early 2019 we will be introducing an option to our booking form allowing you to offset as you book your trip!
We challenge the unethical
While we as individuals have no problem with sustainable subsistence hunting within local communities, we personally find hunting for so-called ‘sport’ abhorrent, and unsustainable trophy hunting completely unacceptable. The hunting industry often seems to be out of control, able to damage ecosystems and illegally kill native wildlife with impunity. Of the thirty optics companies that were examined in the 2018 Ethical Consumer report entitled “Shooting Wildlife II”, 83% were found to specifically market to hunters as well as birders. And a disappointing 13 of these actively glamorise trophy hunting in their promotional material, including targets like lions and bears.
That´s why we´re proud to be ambassadors for Viking Optical – a British-based company which is one of only a handful of companies that produce high quality optics solely for the wildlife-watching market. They too have nature at their heart and support a variety of conservation projects including being RSPB Species Champions for two critically endangered birds and long-time sponsors of the Birdfair. We love the personal contact, trust and compassion involved in working with them. They really put their optics where their mouth is, enabling us to loan binoculars to volunteers monitoring the raptor migration across the Straits of Gibraltar, to bird-watching newcomers, and to budding young Gambian ornithologists
Supporting the next generation
Next Generation Birders was set up to provide an online as well as offline social community for young Birders. We are proud to work with them to provide young Birders opportunities for affordable foreign Birding trips and opportunities for volunteering with other conservation partners.
Individuals actions we support
The third Dove Step journey commenced in early 2017, comprising an on-foot crossing of Spain in aid of Turtle Dove conservation. Walking from south to north with back-to-back marathon distances each day for over 700 miles. Starting on Tarifa beach and concluding on the northern coast looking out into the Bay of Biscay.
Inglorious Bustards were uniquely placed at the start of the journey to physically support by way of accommodation and logistics together with our partners at Huerta Grande.
Accreditation of sustainable eco-tourism
Blue Sky Wildlife, offers a unique collection of established and award winning tour operators and companies offering responsible ecotourism experiences and unique wildlife tours from around the world. Blue Sky Wildlife makes it easy to search through a variety of wildlife interests including birds, butterflies, dragonflies, mammals, reptiles, plants and wildflowers prior to contacting the wildlife tour operator and company directly.
This unique website was launched to assist in making nature and wildlife lover’s next wildlife experience as easy as possible. Visitors to the Blue Sky Wildlife website can easily search by species name, desired destination, type of tours, wildlife reviews and a tour operators commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism.
Inglorious Bustards are proud be listed on Blue Sky Wildlife and if you have been on a recent tour with us please complete a Wildlife Review on our behalf by visiting our listing page here.
Here at Inglorious Bustards we are very proud to have been listed on Terra Incognita ethical Bird tours list for 2018.
Our Terra Incognita Ethical Bird Tours listing reflects our continued commitment to measurable conservation delivery of the Flyway through sustainable food choice in partnership with Tarifa Eco centre, land management advice and advocacy, conservation delivery through eco tourism funding and our conservation partner Fundación MIGRES. You can read our interview with Terra Incognita here.
Terra Incognita believe that ecotourism can be a powerful force for good in the world, and seek to promote the best examples of ecotourism worldwide.
They do this by collating lists of amazing tour providers who help conserve the environment, support local people and educate their guests.
The Terra Incognita community wants to ‘travel for good’. They help people get off the beaten path, have adventures, and be part of a movement that creates positive change for people and planet through travel.