Beyond it being a fashion, ecotourism is an excellent alternative, especially when we go with our children and teach them respect for nature, to appreciate the wonder of a spider web covered in dew drops or to enjoy the cool smell of wild vegetation.
But for this it is essential that common sense be used, so that you should never, ever interfere with the lives of wild animals or damage the environment in any way. The signposts are not to be ignored, but to read and follow the instructions to the letter.
Unfortunately there have been countless cases in which tourists, in an attempt to be an “active part” of wild activities and being carried away by enthusiasm or folly, have caused real havoc. And for many, their “diversions” have cost far more than a simple fine.
The turtles of Costa Rica
During the spawning season, olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivácea), which are classified as an endangered species, come to the beaches on a monthly basis to lay their eggs there.
One of the sites chosen by these chelonians is Ostional Beach, in the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste, where there is a wildlife refuge dedicated to the protection of these turtles and other mammals, birds, reptiles and native flora.
In September of this year, the beach was literally invaded by a horde of tourists, both national and foreign, who, ignoring the indications of the place, the pleas of the two park rangers and the police officers who came to contain them , they went into the banks in order to take photos with the turtles.
More than a thousand people caused panic among the animals, many of which turned around and rushed into the sea without fulfilling their mission. Those that were able to spawn were harassed by people who ended up stressing the animals, in addition to destroying the nests or digging up some eggs, to take them as a "souvenir".
Many people like to watch whales when they approach the coasts, but there are those who are not satisfied with photographing them from the shore and get on the most diverse boats in order to get as close as possible to the group.
The problem is that these animals can be curious, but very crude and a kayak or a boat is easy to end up overturned and its crew on the verge of drowning (if they are lucky to be rescued in time.
The noises of the engines can scare these large mammals and cause them to feel intimidated and defend themselves and the worst of the consequences is when in the middle of the photographic revelry, large yachts collide with the whales, which can cause very serious injuries and to death.
In many parts of the world, it has become fashionable to take a selfie with wild animals in the background or directly film yourself near them. In the network you can find countless cases such as those referred to, in which its protagonists manifest a genuine lack of respect for the tranquility of wildlife in the wild.
Many people attract them with various foods that can be toxic and sometimes deadly to these animals. Others are exposed to injury and who knows if even to perish, as long as they "get in the picture" with them.
You can find a video in which a boy tries to approach a buffalo, as if it were a calf and ends up running like a madman chased by the "bull" and others in which a handful of fools are seen trying to emulate Frank Cuesta, without having the knowledge or training of the famous herpetologist and with foreseeable and sometimes fatal consequences.
In the US it is used a lot to go and take photos with bears and then upload them to social networks. What those who perform these "feats" do not take into account is that in addition to interfering in the life of a wild animal, not complying with all the rules of the Wildlife Protection Parks and endangering their own life, they also do so with that of the unhappy photographed, because every time a bear attacks a human being, US laws provide that the animal must be tracked and euthanized.
A final thought
Faced with so much barbarism that humans perpetrate in order to fill the memory cards of their cell phones, tablets or cameras, with increasingly daring and savage images, it is worth rethinking who is really the most animal.