Guyra Paraguay, a conservation partner of World Land Trust (WLT), has been chosen to help develop an ecotourism project with a focus on birdwatching in the Americas. The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and the National Audubon Society are funding the project.
The international initiative aims to create sustainable jobs in rural communities while simultaneously protecting biodiversity and natural resources.
Project locations in Belize, Guatemala, Paraguay and The Bahamas were selected to take part by ‘layering’ globally significant Important Bird Areas (IBAs) for conservation over economic maps. Priority was given to sites with basic tourism infrastructure and potential for growth.
As well as Guyra Paraguay, the other conservation organisations participating are Belize Audubon Society, Asociación Vivamos Mejor and Wildlife Conservation Society in Guatemala and the Bahamas National Trust.
The total cost of the three year programme is US$2.6 million (£1.55 million). MIF is providing more than US$1.7 million (£1.01million), the National Audubon Society is contributing US$629,000 (£380,000) and Audubon partners are providing the balance.
“It’s win-win,” said David Yarnold, President and Chief Executive of the National Audubon Society. “The MIF’s deep expertise in ecotourism and our extensive network and reach will help us engage local communities to create much-needed jobs in bird-rich areas for birders – who typically have a very light ‘eco-footprint’. At the same time, the partnership will provide a sustainable way to conserve natural habitats for endangered migrating and non-migrating birds and other wildlife.”
Prioritising birds and other wildlife
The project is designed to support the conservation of national protected areas and IBAs. Audubon’s priority migratory bird species including Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) and Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus), and endangered birds including the Bahama Oriole (Icterus northropi), Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) will all benefit, as will other wildlife including Jaguar (Panthera onca), Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and Rock Iguana (Cyclura genus).
The project has four key aspects:
- Improving the structure and capacity of bird-based tourism business, developing accredited bird guide curricula, training national guides, developing site-level business plans and developing bird trails
- Driving more bird-focused tourism to the sites by developing marketing content for Audubon magazine and other birding media channels, designing birding trip packages with international and local tour operators, organising market events for each country, and integrating bird-watching content into national governments and tourism websites in each country
- Raising awareness about the value of the local natural environment and promoting local citizen science bird research programmes
- Developing a bird-based community tourism model that can be replicated in other locations/countries
Guyra Paraguay Bird Tourism Project Coordinator Terms of Reference »
The deadline for applications is now past.
WLT supports Guyra Paraguay’s conservation efforts with funding for rangers from WLT’s Keepers of the Wild Appeal.