On Wednesday 12th February the Brown Bear Foundation (FOP) took part in a debate sponsored by The European Nature Trust (TENT), concerning the increasing relevance of tourism in the conservation of threatened species. The event was held in London, in the Samsung offices at King’s Cross, in the presence of a number of other European conservation organisations including Foundation Conservation Carpathia, Salviamo l´Orso, CBD Habitat Foundation and Alladale Wilderness Reserve.
The debate, presented by Ross Westgate, was moderated by the ecologist and conservationist” Chris Morgan. The pros and cons deriving from responsible tourism and impacting on the conservation of threatened European species such as the brown bear and Iberian lynx (amongst others) were raised. In particular, the question of how to determine the point at which the conservation benefits of tourism start to outweigh the problems they cause was debated in depth.
Additionally, the value that emblematic species may represent as “umbrellas” for the conservation of other less charismatic and so less attractive species for the general public was also discussed.
Finally, one of the crucial themes of the debate was the importance of networking between the different European and other international conservation organisations, which all those present considered as fundamental.