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Ecuador: A WildlifeFestival Join us at Sacha Lodgein October 2013We have celebrated two significantNaturetrek anniversaries in recent years,both of them popular, successful andgreat fun! The first - our 20th anniversary -took us on an exclusive Naturetrek charteraround Spitsbergen in July 2006 for a feast ofPolar Bears, other Arctic wildlife and stunningwilderness scenery. More recently, in February2011, we celebrated our 25th anniversary bytaking over the luxury Tiger Tops jungle lodge inChitwan National Park, Nepal. On both trips,Naturetrek staff and leaders were joined byaround 50 clients and, as all participants willtestify, the combination of an iconic wildlifedestination, exclusive Naturetrek use ofaccommodation and a wealth of top Naturetreknatural history guides and leaders, proved awinning combination!Not wishing to wait until our 30th anniversary forthe next opportunity to repeat this successfulformula, we have decided to use it on which tobase an annual Wildlife Festival from hereon.Many destinations have been considered for ourfirst Wildlife Festival, amongst them the Pantanal,India and Madagascar (some of which may wellfeature in future years); however, it is to thefamous and wonderful Sacha Lodge, deep in theEcuadorian Amazon, that we will be heading forour first Naturetrek Wildlife Festival in October2013 for, not only has Ecuador been one of ourmost popular destinations for many years, but itis a country in which we have a particular wealthof expertise. It was here that our GeneralManager, Andy Tucker, lived whilst guiding inEcuador prior to joining Naturetrek in 1998, andour popular leader and staff member, ByronPalacios, is Ecuadorian ... and passionate aboutboth wildlife and conservation in his homeland. Itis largely for this reason that Naturetrek hasrecently been investing company carbon offsetdonations in the purchase of threatenedcloudforest habitats in Ecuador (see page 13),creating two Naturetrek reserves there.Thus, we have block-booked Sacha Lodge, in itsentirety, for all five nights of our stay, and foreach morning and afternoon excursion we willdivide into small groups to enjoy one of themany wildlife activities on offer at the lodge.Amongst the highlights are Sacha's outstandingcanopy facilities which are arguably the best inwestern Amazonia and comprise one canopytower built around an ancient kapok tree and a900-foot-long, 120-foot-high canopy walkway.Either, on a good morning, can produce astaggering 100 or more bird species, amongstthem many birds that can be hard to see fromthe ground, such as White-browed Purpletuft,Spangled Cotinga and numerous tanager,aracari and euphonia species. Excursions bydugout canoe to explore the area's oxbow lakesand rainforest streams will also be amongst thehighlights, allowing access to such species asthe secretive Agami Heron and perhaps even agiant Anaconda. Forest trails for walking andunderstorey birding are plentiful and varied, andmay yield such species as Wire-tailed Manakin,Musician Wren and White-plumed Antbird. We'llalso look for some of the mammals in the area(amongst them Pygmy Marmoset, White-frontedCapuchin, Black-mantled Tamarin, Red HowlerMonkey, Squirrel Monkey, Dusky Titi Monkey,Night Monkey, Kinkajou, Southern Tamanduaand Black Agouti) while botanist Lou Jost will beessential in assisting our understanding ofAmazonian botany. The cool waters ofPilchicocha, the oxbow lake in which Sacha isset, offers a wonderful afternoon swim (thepiranhas here are mostly vegetarian!), while theYasuni National Park parrot-lick on the NapoRiver is well worth a morning. Night-timespotlighting walks and excursions, someamateur astronomy (the Milky Way over theEquator is stunning on a clear night), camera-trapping and endless photographic possibilitiescomplete the picture.All of Sacha's 26 cabins (equipped with ceilingfans, electrical sockets, and en suite facilitieswith hot water) have been carefully designed toprovide comfort for guests whilst preserving theambience of the rainforest setting, and eachcabin has its own terrace and hammock -perfect for relaxation and wildlife-viewingbetween activities. From this fabulous base youwill be joined on excursions, not only by SachaLodge's excellent permanent naturalists, but alsoby Naturetrek's top South American experts -Byron Palacios, Nick Acheson, Andy Tucker andLou Jost (botanist and founder of EcoMinga) -who between them have spent almost 70 yearsin South America! Naturetrek directors, Davidand Maryanne Mills, also look forward to joiningyou on the Festival.We sincerely hope that as many of you aspossible will be able to join us as we enjoy thebirds, butterflies, mammals and plants of theAmazon jungle from Sacha Lodge as well as ofthe high-altitude birds and plants of AntisanaVolcano.Sacha LodgeFestival details:Dates:Thu 3rd Oct - Sat 12th Oct 2013Cost:£2,595 per personSingle room supplement(by special requestonly due to limited availability): £995Itinerary:5 nights Sacha Lodge, Napo River(full board); 3 nights hotel in Quito (B&B).Pre-tour extension to MindoJoin us for a 5-night pre-tour extension to thetranquil subtropical town of Mindo, surroundedby lush cloudforest on the western Andeanslope, just two hours from Quito. A visit to aCock-of-the-rock lek, and to Angel Paz'sfamous tame antpittas, will be amongst thehighlights.Date:Sat 28th Sep - Wed 2nd Oct 2013Cost:£895Post-tour east Andean slope extensionAn exciting opportunity to travel overland fromthe Amazonian lowlands to Quito, traversingthe eastern Andean cordillera and birding enroute. We'll be following in reverse the pathtrodden by Francisco de Orellana and hislieutenants in 1541 on their discovery of theAmazon, staying at Cabañas San Isidro for 4nights en route.Date:Sat 12th Oct - Wed 16th Oct 2013Cost:£1,195For further details pleasecontact Andy Tucker on 01962 733051 or Sacha's canopy walkwayOriole Blackbirds11

Naturetrek & SustainableTourismAt Naturetrek we have achieved AITO's 5-star SustainableTourism accreditation and have always tried to operate ourholidays in an environmentally responsible manner,striving to contribute to wildlife conservation and habitatpreservation at all times. Our detailed, 12-pageSustainable Tourism Policy may be found on our website.Alternatively, we will gladly post you a copy on receipt of acheque for £2 - or more! - made payable to the charity'BirdLife International'. The document catalogues ourcontribution (both financial and operational) to sustainabletourism and conservation; it states our own 'ST' policy,and it suggests guidelines for you - the tourist - tofollow whilst on holiday. Please take the time to read itcarefully! Just visit is a tour company run by naturalists for naturalists.Unsurprisingly, all of us have an acute interest in conservation;wildlife and wildlife tourism, and the need to ensure the long-term protection of species and habitats, being such animportant part of our lives. In the national parks and wildliferegions that we visit, we support small, locally owned hotelsand lodges and the local guides and other staff in theseareas. Other aspects of our holidays that allow us, hopefully, tominimise environmental impact include: our operation of small groups (4-16, average 10, clients); our preference forexploration on foot, rather than by vehicle, wherever possible;our use of local naturalists (where possible, rather thanimported guides); our preference for small, locally owned,specialist agents/ground operators with a wildlife/conservation bias and sympathy; and our ensuring benefit,and employment opportunities, to local communities - soimportant when developing wildlife tourism in remote areas.To fly, or not to fly? Make travel count ... There is no doubt that Wildlife Travel is responsible for its shareof damaging carbon emissions. It does, however, providesubstantial benefits which, we would argue as conservationists,make a strong case for wildlife enthusiasts to continuetravelling. After all, if we are not bringing our custom to thenational parks, wildlife reserves and the wilderness regions ofthe world, many of these areas, especially in developingcountries, will simply disappear . and with them their wildlife.Not only does wildlife tourism support rural communities inimpoverished nations, but it supports them in the ability topreserve their natural and wildlife heritage for their futuregenerations who, hopefully, may have the wealth and leisureopportunities that we have today to enjoy their natural heritage.Staying at home may slow the rise in the world's temperaturesand sea levels, but it will have little value if we lose the best ofthe world's national parks and their wildlife in the process! Further, it is the climatologists, conservationists and otherscientists on whom we are reliant in putting pressure ongovernments to act. Yet from where do these experts draw theirfacts and inspiration? From travelling! It is through travellingthat we learn about, and learn to love our environment. Stoptravelling, and just who is going to care? Whilst global warmingdoes threaten us and the world's wildlife, there may also bebonuses. Global warming gives the world an incentive and anurgency to plant trees and, above all, to save our rainforestsfrom the logging and the fires that ravage and, especially in thecase of the latter, add hugely to carbon emissions - movesthat can only benefit our wildlife and their habitats. So, wewould argue, if you are choosing to travel, 'make travel count',and make sure that you, and your travel company, are off-setting all emissions that relate to your journey. Better still, ifyou off-set over and above your current journey's emissions,you'll be contributing to the off-setting of emissions resultingfrom previous journeys you have made! Financial assistance for conservation causes?Naturetrek's financial contribution to conservation causes hasincreased over the years with the growth of our business, andstands at a total of around £398,681 to date. This has includedlong-term partnerships with Butterfly Conservation since 2002(raising £78,600), with the Environmental Investigation Agency(raising £53,503 between 2000 and 2011) and with theZoological Society of London (raising around £14,000 between2005 and 2008). On behalf of some of these conservationorganisations Naturetrek operates a range of fund-raising tours(brochured herein). Other partners in such fund-raising ventureshave included BirdLife International, Friends of Kew and theBiscay Dolphin Research Programme (now MARINElife).Naturetrek's 9-year sponsorship of the annual BritishBirdwatching Fair has also raised over £55,095 for the worldwideconservation causes supported by the Fair. Further, Naturetrek isa pioneering Corporate Sponsor/Partner of a wide range ofconservation organisations, including BirdLife International,Butterfly Conservation, the Oriental Bird Club and African BirdClub, and has made numerous donations and gifts to assist theconservation work of these, and such other charities as BirdConservation Nepal, Sociedad Española de Ornitología(SEO)and the former Ethiopian Wildlife ConservationOrganisation.Another beneficial by-product of Naturetrek's operation of wildlifetours arises on account of the company's need to advertise inwildlife and conservation magazines worldwide to generatebusiness. Of a spend of approximately £175,000 per annum, alarge part is spent with such notable conservation organisationsand charities as the RSPB, RSPCA, the RHS, Plantlife, theWildlife Trusts, and numerous other smaller publicationsdistributed by wildlife charities.We strive to Carbon Balance each Naturetrek holiday Please make it Carbon Negative!Since 2007 Naturetrek has been making contributions towards neutralising the carbon emissions of our holidays atour expense, and this policy continues for all of our 2013 holidays. To do this we currently donate to the World LandTrust, £15 for every person booking a long-haul holiday with us, and £5 on behalf of each of our short-haul travellers.The World Land Trust (, a highly respected charity with a growing profile, then invests thismoney in the purchase and protection of threatened tropical rainforest, in so doing not only helping to lock up carbonthat would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, but also protecting valuable habitat and its endangered wildlifein perpetuity.While our donation goes towards off-setting the carbon emissions from your flights, we invite you to match ourpayment to the World Land Trust and therefore contribute towards off-setting some of the emissions resulting fromother aspects of your holiday (airport transfers, coach travel, lighting, heating, etc.), perhaps even ensuring that yourholiday is carbon negative by means of a more generous donation.Since 2008 Naturetrek has raised £125,333 in this way. Of this, £70,000 has already enabled the World Land Trust (incollaboration with its Ecuadorian partner, Fundación Ecominga) to purchase and protect an additional 235 acres ofcritically endangered forest for the Candelaria Reserve in central Ecuador, and the remaining funds have beenearmarked by the World Land Trust for further forest purchase in this area as soon as current negotiations have beencompleted. This new land will help to link together the Llanganates and Sangay National Parks on the eastern slopesof the Ecuadorian Andes.Naturetrek was one of the very first British tour operators to encourage its clients to contribute towards off-setting theircarbon emissions, having been doing so since 2000. However, we also believe that we are one of the few touroperators contributing ourselves towards the cost of off-setting every customer's flight emissions, in addition to off-setting all emissions from both our office operation (electricity, heating, staff journeys, etc.) and the flights of our staff.Spectacled BearAmanda's BlueNaturetrek&SustainableTourism