Eco-tourism is big business and many companies are finding new ways of taking advantage of green travelers and their local environment. In Cambodia there is an exciting new project that is using the revenue from nature-loving visitors to showcase an endangered group of northern yellow-cheeked gibbons and ensure their protection for years to come.
Anybody that is interested in seeing these creatures in the flesh must be prepared for adventure because this is no luxury tour, Gibbon Spotting Cambodia offers a trek into the heart of the wildness where the animals are the priority.
This trek is a truly unique opportunity for wildlife lovers in the heart of Cambodia. There is no vacation around that offers the experiences and sights of Gibbon Spotting Cambodia. Anybody that loves ecology and wildlife, whether they are biologists or just enthusiastic about the natural world, are invited to take part in a two day adventure through the Veun Sai-Siem Pang Conservation Area.
This trip offers people plenty of activities – they have the chance to sail down the river and see the wildlife and local culture first hand, but what makes the holiday unique is the fact it is the only official company that can provide direct access to these wonderful gibbons.
The trip ensures that tourists can fully appreciate the beauty and diversity of the area with fully guided tours. There are more than just gibbons in this forest and visitors are encouraged to enjoy the scenery on mountain bike trails or take in a spot of bird watching prior to the gibbon trek and there is also a night-time hike for a glimpse of some of the area's nocturnal creatures like the loris.
Of course the gibbons are the real star of the show and guests can enjoy a 70% chance of a sighting thanks to the local guides. Their knowledge and appreciation of the animals ensure the best possible experience – for both the humans and the gibbons.
The conservation of the gibbons is the main priority with Gibbon Spotting Cambodia. The nature of the trek and the opportunities it provides are enticing for many prospective visitors but be aware that the needs of the tourists come second to that of the local wildlife and communities.
This project is part of the wider "See Cambodia Differently" campaign and was set up as a way of conserving the local environment. While the rarity of this recently discovered gibbon is a big draw for eco-tourists, this interest and subsequent revenue is being used to help ensure their protection and look after the local area; all profits stay in this Cambodian community and all the trackers and guides are local people.
Additionally, this project runs in partnership with many local wildlife charities as well as a Californian research Centre and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species so the gibbons can be protected and researched effectively.
Numerous measures have been implemented so that the safety and protection of these gibbons is ensured throughout the trip and this means that any willing participant has to adhere to a strict set of guidelines if they are to enter the animals' territory. The full list can be seen on Gibbonspottingcambodia.com but it includes rules about noise, clothing, photography and the number of visitors that are permitted per trek.
Every consideration is taken to look after these creatures and these rules are designed to show the gibbons complete respect and limit disturbance as part of a "responsible nature tourism" initiative. There are also rules regarding behavior and clothing in native communities in an attempt to strength the link between the locals and the project.
Gibbon Spotting Cambodia provides incredible opportunities for eco-tourists, local communities and the endangered gibbons.
This project is an undeniable good cause with a lot of potential when it comes to conservation and tourism. Treks can be enjoyed between November 1st and June 16th, they cost $400 per person for a pair of trekkers or $300 per person for groups up to 6 and the minimum age of participants is 15. There are restrictions and considerations that interested parties should bear in mind but this is a unique experience for the right visitor and a great chance to help these remarkable creatures.