The word “conservation” is defined as……. In the strictest sense of the word, a tourist on safari should have nothing to do with conservation, as the two are simply worlds apart. A tourist requires a lovely bed, fine dining, and a comfortable vehicle to view animals from. This will mean that the environment will have to be altered to build a permanent structure or structures in order to accommodate all of this. Roads will have to be built. Trees, grass and shrubs will have to be cleared to make way for the lodges. Water will have to be pumped into reservoirs, sewage will have to be disposed of, and of course all the refuse needs to be disposed of. The vehicles will burn fuel and cause fumes. All of this will have a major impact on the immediate environment and in effect heads in the opposite direction to conservation. However the reality is that without your love of animals and your desire to see them in their natural habitat, there would be no demand to protect these areas, and they would simply be swept away and wiped out in the name of progress. Without safari tourism money, there would be no employment for the local population and local communities would therefore struggle to sustain themselves. The animals would be hunted for the pot, and the land turned into agriculture. The money and demand created from safari tourism creates a need for conservation, to study and understand all the living creatures in an ecosystem, and the impact that any changes would have on them. Conservation helps us understand how to ensure all of this is managed and sustained for the enjoyment of generations to come whilst gaining knowledge and understanding of an environment rich in biodiversity. As a result, safari tourism and conservation actually go hand in hand, and it is seldom that the one can be mentioned without the other being considered.
Conservation is such a vast and widely diverse topic that one cannot even begin to try and embrace every aspect of the subject; from the studies of the tiniest microscopic insect that is restricted to a single tiny habitat, to the global effect of greenhouse gasses on our planet, and everything in between can fall under the category of conservation. We have concentrated on conservation within a safari environment in this introduction. The scope for expansion within this topic alone is vast, and can embrace the study of velvet mites, to the impact elephants have on a particular region during as a result of a severe drought, and once again, any one of millions of topics in between.
Written by Ian Smith – Nyumbani Estate