BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR ECOTOURISTIC ACTIVITIES:
Birding Code of Ethics
Ecoutourism is defined under the next parameters, which Toledo Natura strictly follows:
- Carried out in natural areas mainly
- Minimises environmental and cultural impact, contributing to preservation
- Promotes ecologic awareness, ethically and responsibly linked
- Due to its low impact, it must be put in practice in a small scale, being able to be locally oriented
- High sustainabilty because of its high self-management ability. Benefits are reinvested for the preservation of these areas, strengthening local communities.
Therefore, is a responsible and committed way of tourism. Among its main references at international level, we can highlight the following::
- Charter of Lanzarote (Canary Islands, 1995), as a result of the UNESCO´s World Conference on Sustainable Tourism. Recognizing tourism as a powerful tool for development, it must participate actively in a global strategy for sustainable development. A right management of tourism involves guaranteeing the sustainability of the resources it depends on.
- Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (arts. 3 & 4 A/RES/406/XIII) adopted in 13th UNWTO General Assembly (Santiago de Chile, 1995)
The area we work in, is plenty of Protected Natural Zones (Red Natura 2000, Wildlife Refuges, Fluvial Reservations, Natural Monuments, etc) and those are where our observation activities are focused. The land forming part of the Natural Area could publicly or privately owned, ruled by specific laws and regulations including tourism plans that must be borne in mind. And of course, the absolute respect on the laws protecting wildlife.
Ceballos, Gallardo y Maynar (2010) settled a whole procedure for birdwatching, for individuals or groups at any natural space, that is useful for natural observation activities in general, consisting of:
a) Before getting to the natural area:
- Know laws and regulation affecting areas and species to be observed.
- Apply for any permission required, following the legal mechanism. First, for public authority. Second, for private owner of the land in case we had scheduled to go across some private property.
- Know the scheduled calendar for the activity or any limitations for its practice in the field
- Ask for a map or brochure including detail on the equipment for public use available in the Protected Natural Space (ENP, Espacio Natural Protegido)
- Talk with forest guards is highly recommended, obtaining important information and following their requests and suggestions.
b) On the ground:
- Keep the required permissions always with you
- Abide every restriction established on the permission obtained and observations from the forest guards. Announce your arrival, if possible.
- In case there´s any locked hence, ask for its opening, or leave it exactly like you found it, in case you found it opened.
- Walk along permitted or scheduled areas, paths, etc…
- Use public facilities properly and respectfully
- Move discreet and quietly, trying to be as unnoticed as possible, avoiding noise and unnecessary sounds, keeping up the integrity of vegetation
- In case we witnessed any infringement from any others or suspicious situation, please let the authority know once you leave the area.