There’s a famous quote that reads: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way that its animals are treated.” And no time has that been truer than right now.
A bunch of scientists have figured out which nations treat animals the best and the answers are really enlightening. Researchers found that the countries that fared best in conservation efforts were those that relied on wildlife for tourism purposes. The study notes that for countries with large animals that are third world, their ability to harness this into a tourism draw is extremely positive. “Megafauna can have significant economic value if their use values are harnessed appropriately and sustainably,” it says. “For example, countries such as Kenya, Botswana and South Africa have successfully harnessed the appeal of large mammals to overseas visitors and wildlife-based tourism now comprises significant proportions of their GDPs.” Another interesting point is the addition of a country like Bhutan that doesn’t even have a large animal population. Bhutan is included because its large forested areas actually contribute a negative carbon emission, rather than adding to it. Here are the 10 countries that should give themselves a pat on the back for their conservation efforts:
Rwanda is home to one third of the world’s remaining wild gorillas and their tourism industry is peaking as a result.
If you’re travelling to Zambia, there’s an 80 per cent chance that you’re going for the wildlife and natural scenery. Literally.
The Nice North doesn’t only take care of its visitors, but it takes care of its environment too.
#7 Central African Republic
Central African Republic is famous for its large gorilla population and it does a markedly good job at protecting them.
Norway’s impressive collection of mountains, fjiords, valleys and rivers are home to unique wildlife. The country’s conservation efforts have been in practice since the late 19th century.
With a host of national parks and protected land as part of its Parks and Wildlife Estate Authority, Zimbabwe is doing its bit to ensure animals aren’t put in any harm’s way.
Unlike the majority of countries on this list, Bhutan doesn’t have a population of large animals. It does, however, have a national law that prohibits more than 40 per cent of the land being populated. This means that with 60 per cent of the land mass as forest, Bhutan is committing negative carbon energy to the planet. Thanks Bhutan!
Tanzania is a very large country, so it’s no surprise that you can find one fifth of all African native animals there. The nation is committed to conservation efforts, demonstrated by the sectioning off 14 national parks into protected areas.
Namibia is home to the lion, cheetah, zebra and black rhino, to name a few. It’s also the first African country to put the protection of animals into its constitution – something that’s honoured to this day. Almost brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?
Botswana keeps its tourist numbers low so it can offset any environmental damage done by wilderness tours. Tour operators are also required to be supremely skilled in environmental knowledge so they can be on top of things at all times. (Lead image: Gorilla Trek Rwanda/Hjalmar Gislason via Flickr CC) Ready for your next wildlife adventure? Head here.
Josephine is a staff writer at Junkee Media. You can find her words on AWOL, The Cusp, food she bagsed in the fridge.