How COVID-19 Is Derailing Wildlife Conservation Around The World

In the absence of these experiences, animal lovers can keep connected to the natural world through important documentaries like Netflix’s Our Planet, narrated by the Emmy-winning lifelong wildlife advocate Sir David Attenborough, or Elephant on Disney+, narrated by Meghan Markle. These films immerse viewers in stunning landscapes, introduce them to nature’s most precious creatures, and, hopefully, inspire hearts to action. Even from a distance.

And there’s a lot more that people can do beyond streaming wilderness adventures from home. Donations to nonprofit organizations like the World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and Oceana can keep conservation efforts afloat in at-risk regions around the world. This holiday season, consider giving a symbolic species adoption on behalf of friends and families or purchasing other gifts that help protect wildlife.

Once global travel restrictions begin to ease, travelers can choose hotels and resorts that prioritize environmental stewardship.

Many hospitality businesses are finding creative ways to support local conservation in the face of their new reality. To protect its delicate, local ecosystem, for instance, The Brando in French Polynesia leveraged its closure to launch a major eradication project for invasive rats, in partnership with its sister organization, the Tetiaroa Atoll Restoration Project (TARP). And in Mexico, The Viceroy Los Cabos is offering a “Virtual School” package that includes field trips to educate remote students about local wildlife, including a “Marine Biologist for a Day” experience, sea turtle conservation, and visits to San Jose’s estuary and bird sanctuary.

Collectively, we’ve spent the past several months in a period of waiting and, hopefully, contemplative reflection. Since we know travel is unlikely to return to a prepandemic status quo, we can now ask ourselves: What world do we want to step into once this is behind us?

By using this time to become more aware and educated about how things like travel affect conservation around the world, we will be well equipped to make kinder, more ethical choices moving forward.

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