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May 19, 2009

HSI Works to Develop Ecotourism in El Salvador

Humane Society International

EL IMPOSIBLE NATIONAL PARK, El Salvador — Humane Society International is collaborating with SalvaNATURA, a nonprofit environmental organization, to put on a four-day training program to educate hospitality employees on developing an ecotourism program at their properties.

The ecotourism training and exchange program on community ecolodge marketing and natural resource management takes place here from May 18-21. The program is part of HSI's ongoing effort to develop economic alternatives to the illegal trade in wildlife. It is funded through a grant by the U.S. Department of State.

The trainees are employees and owners of lodges and guest houses near the park. Employees of Hostal El Imposible will participate in the workshop, since it is co-managed by SalvaNATURA and members of the community of Caserío San Miguelito.

This training will help the participants more effectively market their lodges and other tourism products, and manage the use of natural resources at their lodge. They'll also have the opportunity to share best practices and brainstorm with their fellow participants, as well as visit another example of a community ecolodge.

"This kind of training is a win-win, as it benefits not only the participants, but also the community of Caserío San Miguelito," said Toby Bloom, director of wildlife ecotourism for HSI. Caserío San Miguelito co-manages the lodge where the training will occur.

For decades, the multi-billion dollar industry of illegal trade in 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 enforcement and implementation 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 improve enforcement and implementation of domestic environmental laws and international treaties, and 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.
  • El Salvador became a party to CITES in 1987. El Salvador is home to more than 500 species of birds, almost 1,000 species of butterflies and more than 800 species of marine fish.

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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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