Want to have amazing animal encounters without hurting them? World Animal Protection and World Cetacean Alliance have just launched a global program called Wildlife Heritage Areas (WHA), which lists some of the world's most sustainable animal tourism experiences. "The world's wildlife is under threat, and we must take action now," Suzanne Milthorpe of World Animal Protection says.
"Creating Wildlife Heritage Areas is vital in protecting animals from exploitation, while enabling the local communities to be a key part of the solution." WHA rigorously scrutinises local tourism practices in regards to flora and fauna around the world and currently only features eight regions on its list, including Vista Alegre in Peru, where travellers can catch glimpses of Musmuki monkeys - considered sacred guardians of the moon by local indigenous Tikuna people - with low-impact activities such as jungle hikes. Closer to home, the Whitsundays region in Queenstown - where adventures range from swimming with dwarf minke whales to sightings of humpbacks - is the only Australian entry on the list. For the full list, visit wildlifeheritageareas.org
Read more on Explore:
Meanwhile, for a wildlife encounter of a completely different kind, make a dash for the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the BBC Earth Experience show has just opened (until January 28). Narrated by David Attenborough, the immersive event features some of the most stunning footage from BBC's Seven Worlds, One Planet series on oversized screens, accompanied by crystal-clear soundscapes from around the planet. bbcearthexperience.com