Sustainable travel enables conservation of the things that make a destination desirable in the first place.
Rather than denuding forests for a strip of souvenir shops and a tiny fenced reserve, places like Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park protect the native habitat for several rare species, including the golden monkey, mountain gorilla and forest elephant. Park tourism dollars employ guides, trackers and porters and also support community development projects that reduce the incentive to cut forest for illegal farms or set antelope snares, which can kill endangered monkeys and gorillas.
Many primate families in the park are comfortable with close human presence. I was thrilled to get within twelve feet of this beautiful golden when it descended from the trees to search for tender bamboo shoots. It paid little attention to me, but surveyed the area briefly, perhaps as a caution against eagles.