The Evolution of an Ecotour Operator
Thank you for visiting the Focus Tours website! If you have visited us before, you may note the changes.
As an ecologist from Kansas University, and one of the founders of the rainforest conservation movement, I started Focus Tours in Brazil in 1981. Since then, we have offered high quality nature, birding and photography tours, using some of the profits for our goals of getting people out of poverty and preserving nature. We are among the first real ecotour companies, not getting into this business so much to be a big nature tour operator, but rather to make a difference in this world with the funds raised through such tours.
With our work in getting a Brazilian jaguar hunter’s family into the business of showing tourists jaguars instead of killing them, we set a precedent for what a tour company and its clients, can do to preserve nature. This led to consulting work in a number of African countries, as well as speaking in conferences about this work around the world.
This has now led to developing projects in partnership with the Brazilian government, academic institutions and other stakeholders. In particular, I am now directing the Wildlife of the Pantanal Program (Bichos do Pantanal), funded by the Fundação Petrobras Socio-Ambiental. This Program has 3 segments: research, environmental education and economic development. We are working to establish the baseline population of jaguars, giant and neotropical otters, hyacinth macaws, and other rare or endangered wildlife in the Pantanal on the Paraguay River. Based in Cáceres MT, the Program is working with the 73 schools in the county, bring nature into the curriculums, helping to establish community based ecotourism, and having boats to take school kids into their Pantanal. We invite you to visit this project and assist with the fauna surveys, and will soon have the site in English. In Portugues, see www.bichosdopantanal.org.
Focus Tours can also help set up guided nature trips to locally owned lodges in the Pantanal on the Transpantaneira, with guides we have trained, and to other destinations in Mato Grosso. With a project in Minas Gerais, in southeast Brazil, we can offer visits to 10 of the state parks, with which we have an agreement with the Sec. of the Environment, to do the fauna surveys, train locals to be guides and to work with the schools and community development. We can also take you to see the rare and beautiful Golden Lion Tamarin, near Rio de Janeiro
We offer you high quality tours in these and a few other regions, where your participation will help preserve the region’s biodiversity, and provide for local economies.
Douglas B. Trent