Hi, I am Dr. DAAN VREUGDENHIL, aka the “PARKSMAN DAAN”, a lifetime conservationist with a PhD in conservation ecology and CEO of the World Institute for Conservation of Nature and Environment, (WICE). For 40 years I served organizations like the World Bank, the United Nations, the WWF and other international organizations as an advisor on establishing and improving national parks systems in many developing countries. A tireless traveler and explorer, over time, my passports accumulated entry stamps of more than 80 countries and usually my boots hit the trails of at least one, and often several national parks in almost every country I visited. Two decades ago, WICE initiated an ecolodge in the Amazon in Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Ecuador and a few years later I became part of the polar Plancius cruises, now Oceanwide Polar Expeditions.
What often struck me on my travels, was the fact that national parks in developing countries are so often ignored by tour-operators. Many have a tendency to take you to the more convenient places in secondary forests, where everything is conveniently organized for you, while denying you the spectacle of the most beautiful nature, the most spectacular wildlife and the best birding the country has to offer: its national parks. So when those outfitters pretend they help preserve nature with their ecotour, in reality, they don’t, because their tours compete with visits to national parks, where the really important nature is. They don’t let you visit those parks, because they prefer you to spend time on their property or in other areas with which they have an economic relationship, while those areas have little conservation importance for conservation.
That is why I decided to start organizing exiting new ecotravel destinations to national parks worldwide as well as to ecocruises to insular paradises. Whenever possible, these “National Parks Tours” as I call them are combined with the cultural highlights of the country. These National Parks Tours help you explore the world’s best wild places and cultural highlights in a sustainable way. Guides are the backbone of ecotours, and wherever our tours take you, the guide has been selected to be knowledgeable about birds. Why birds? It is my experience, that a guide who knows about birds, knows about nature, while not knowing the birds usually indicates that the guide knows little or nothing about nature.
I intend to post regularly about themes of my professional interest; not just about travel.
Our other websites:
https://www.cuyabenolodge.com (which is our lodge)
https://www.cofanlodge.com (also our lodge)
https://www.parks-and-tribes.com (our travel agency in Ecuador)
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