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HSI Works to Develop Economic Alternatives to Illegal Wildlife Trade in Nicaragua

Humane Society International

MATAGALPA, Nicaragua — Humane Society International and Asociación Tierra Y Vida are collaborating as part of an ongoing effort to develop economic alternatives to illegal wildlife trade. The organizations are using funds from the U.S. State Department to put on a four-day ecotourism training and exchange program on community ecolodge administration, maintenance and marketing in Nicaragua April 20-23.

The training is taking place at Finca Esperanza Verde, an award-winning community ecolodge outside of Matagalpa, approximately three hours northeast of Managua. The trainees are members of Caminos Del Viento and COSERTUCHACO, two community ecotourism cooperatives working in the Chacocente Wildlife Reserve in southwestern Nicaragua. Their tourism attractions revolve around viewing the endangered species and other wildlife in the reserve, including the thousands of hawksbill and leatherback turtles that nest on the reserve's beaches every year.

"This training will give the participants the opportunity to see a real-life example of successful and sustainable community ecotourism. They'll learn about the real nuts and bolts of running a tourism operation, from food and lodging to tours and cultural events. This kind of training is a win-win, as it benefits not only the participants, but is also a source of pride and income for the host community," said Toby Bloom, director of Wildlife Ecotourism for HSI.

For decades, the multi-billion dollar industry of illegal trade of wildlife and wildlife products has been an ongoing concern across the globe, plundering mostly cash-poor, wildlife-rich developing countries and causing untold damage to the populations of numerous species. Ecotourism is an essential part of HSI's program to improve the enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, as it gives local communities an alternative to poaching as a non-extractive method for capitalizing on their natural resources.

Since 2003, HSI has worked with national governments and nongovernmental organizations in Latin America to help enforce domestic environmental laws and international treaties, and to preserve native wildlife.

CITES Facts:

  • Ever since it entered into force in 1975, CITES has been the only international agreement that regulates international trade in wild species.
  • 175 nations ("Parties") have signed and ratified the CITES treaty.
  • Nicaragua became a party to CITES in 1977. The country has 100 species of freshwater fish, 200 species of mammals, 600 species of amphibians and reptiles and 750 species of birds.


Humane Society International is the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States, one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. HSI is creating a better future for animals and people through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the web at hsi.org.

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