WILDLIFE WATCHING PROGRAMME

PROJECT RO2014_C3_034 ECO-TOURISM AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN A HUNTING AREA – SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT THROUGH WILDLIFE WATCHING PROGRAMMES

Romania is one of the few countries in Europe where the complete megafauna is still present, including viable populations of large carnivores, which play a crucial role in the functionality of the natural ecosystems. The hunting system has undergone significant changes over the last twenty years. While initially all hunting areas had been managed by the National Forest Service and the General Association of Hunters and Anglers, today 550 out of a total of 1.700 hunting stocks are managed by private hunting associations. Administrative costs of a hunting area can quickly reach several tens of thousands of Euros/year. Consequently, there is a temptation to report higher wildlife numbers, to obtain higher harvesting quotas, which can be sold to trophy hunters. At the same time, due to a lack of control through the responsible authorities, poaching has become a serious threat for wildlife in some hunting areas. At the same time, there is an increasing demand in watching wildlife by visitors to the country, which can bring economic benefits to hunting clubs and to local communities. This project aims to demonstrate that wildlife watching is a viable and sustainable alternative to shooting and overharvesting bears, red deer, and chamois.

  1. To study the potential of a wildlife watching programme, in collaboration with tour-operators and local guesthouse owners. Knowing tourism demands is essential for the success of the programme;
  2. To develop an eco-tourism offer based on wildlife watching programmes, based on the above mentioned market study;
  3. To build wildlife watching hides. Some of these hides will have sleeping possibilities, and all will be situated in places with good views over the area, and where the likelihood of passing wildlife is high;
  4. To train local wildlife guides, who will accompany tourists;
  5. To promote wildlife watching programmes through wildlife photography exhibitions and in the general media.
A.1 MARKET STUDY

We will offer our wildlife watching programme through tour operators, and local guesthouses. This study will research tourism demands and opportunities, and identify the best promotion and marketing options.

A.2 DEVELOPMENT OF WILDLIFE WATCHING PROGRAMME

Based on the market study, we will create various programmes for tour operators and local guesthouses.

A.3 WILDLIFE WATCHING INFRASTRUCTURE

We will build four hides, mainly from natural materials, which will integrate as good as possible into the landscape. Since the best observation hours are early morning or late evening, some hides will have possibilities to stay overnight.

A.4 PURCHASE OF NECESSARY EQUIPMENT

The project foresees the purchase of a 7-seater 4×4 vehicle for the transportation of tourists in rough terrain, the purchase of binoculars and spotting scopes, and the interior equipment for the hides.

A.5 WILDLIFE GUIDE COURSE

Tourists will need a trained guide to accompany them, capable of providing information about wildlife, and all other components of the ecosystems in the region. We will organise a course for ten people from the local communities, which will provide them the necessary knowledge and the legal right of guiding tourists.

A.6 PROMOTION OF THE WILDLIFE WATCHING PROGRAMME

5.000 leaflets with the wildlife watching programme will be offered to tour operators and local guesthouses. A section of the website: www.carpathia.org will be dedicated to these programmes. Also, we will invite a number of journalists to write about wildlife watching opportunities.

The project aims to achieve the following results:

  1. Creation of a wildlife watching programme for the project area, based on a market study;
  2. Construction of an adequate infrastructure for wildlife observation;
  3. Purchase of equipment for watching wildlife;
  4. Training of ten wildlife guides;
  5. Promotion of the wildlife watching programme through leaflets, through carpathia.org, and through the general media.

Funding structure of the project RO2014_C3_034:

  • EEA grant financing – 143,042.39€ (89.72%)
  • Foundation Conservation CARPATHIA (partner) – 16,389.61€ (10.28%)
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Project financed by the EEA grants 2009 – 2014, through the NGO Fund in Romania.
The contents of this page do not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA grants 2009 – 2014.

The entire responsibility for the correctness and coherence of the information presented belongs to the website’s owners.
For official information on the EEA and Norway grants visit www.eeagrants.org.

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