Jaguar safari in Brazil, private departure

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Jaguar safari in Brazil, private departure

Environment

We know our wildlife; in fact, it is buried within the roots of our company and will always be so. Brazil is home to so many species, from reptiles and birds to fish and mammals. In the Pantanal alone, there have been around 656 bird species, 122 mammals, 93 reptiles and 263 fish, as well as, very impressively, 1,132 species of butterfly. It is essential that we preserve the natural habitat and home of these creatures, great and small - from jaguars to storks, otters to capybara and even the tiniest insect. We contribute a percentage of each safari sold to wildlife conservation and always keep our eyes peeled for new projects to get involved with.

Whenever possible we use accommodation that savours every drop of precious water; from using environmentally friendly flushing toilets, using rain water for washing to using solar power heating. Accommodation when travelling will vary, but we do try to be as environmentally friendly as possible, promoting the use of locally owned eco-lodges. Please bear in mind that it is not always possible to find eco-friendly accommodation in some remote destinations; if this is the case then we make every effort to alert the management in order to find ways of improving their services with the environment in mind.

The Cristalino Lodge is located within the forest reserve which focuses on sustainable development, contributing towards the promotion and strengthening the economic, social and natural endowments of the area. Overall the lodge tries to recycle all man-made materials where possible, treat grey and black effluent before it leaves the hotel, use biodegradable cleaning products, don't change the bedding and towels everyday to minimise wasting water and energy, using organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible and rooms at the lodge are powered by solar panels which includes heating water for showers and general use. Most importantly the lodge trains their staff in the responsible use of resources and how to supervise visitors on trails which includes limiting the group size to a maximum of eight guests at a time to reduce the impact on the trail whilst improving the guest's chances of observing the wildlife. Cristalino Lodge directly preserves 28,167 acres of forest which surrounds the lodge. Southwild Lodge are eliminating plastic bottle waste and offering complimentary chilled drinking water which is dispensed in unlimited amounts from dedicated water coolers dotted around the lodge. They advise guests to bring their own durable reusable bottles and they can refill it for their entire trip.

We aim to reduce waste and our impact on the environment within our destinations, and at home in the UK, where our offices are based. We work in partnership with the Borough of Brighton & Hove in an attempt to recycle and reuse as much as possible. Our clients are always advised on the best way to do this when away. We recommend using environmentally friendly shampoos, soaps and toiletries, to avoid leaving ant litter (whether it is biodegradable or not).

Community

Where possible, we always use local suppliers in preference to others, weather this is in the purchase of provisions, accommodation, transport or equipment. Through the employment of our local ground operators, who use local guides and drivers, money is fed directly back into individual families and villages that would otherwise not benefit from tourism, as well as giving more jobs to local people. Great guiding on wildlife adventures and few people know a place better than the locals. Even on specialist led trips, we still try our best to use the local guides alongside, we whole-heartedly do not believe in taking jobs from local populations for our own needs. When it comes to accommodation, this trip incorporates lodges that are further away from the usual tourist trail, this spreading the money spent by tourists further into the communities. This in turn shows the economic importance of the wildlife and natural assets of the area, which feeds back into helping the environment - win!

We make sure tourists have the opportunity to buy local souvenirs and handicrafts, assisting further to contribute to their community, and always give support to local communities and conservation agencies. We advise people not to bargain just for the sake of it because it is the "thing to do", you should pay what you feel the object is worth to yourself and the vendor, bearing in mind local cultures.

Please note that we give a direct contribution of each safari sold to conserving the wildlife, helping local communities and supporting local conservation agencies. The Cristalino Lodge runs an educational program called the Amazon School which invites students from schools in the local area of forest immersion courses that are a blend of practical and theoretical classes about the ecosystem. Since 2008, more than 80 workshops have been held which has involved 35 undergraduate students, 50 volunteers, 120 teachers from 30 schools and 1,400 children have directly visited the workshops and learnt from their experience.

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