Code of Conduct

Nature Expeditions is Peru’s leading marine ecotourism company. We are setting the quality standards for others to follow.
We believe that responsibly conducted eco-tourism can help save natural areas. When traveling to the world’s protected areas as well as the remaining unprotected wilderness areas on land and at sea, individuals help to protect them by supporting an economy in harmony with wildlife and habitat conservation.

When eco-tourism creates jobs, it becomes a source of hard currency, providing local and native people with a financial stake in preserving wildlife. For ecotourism to be successful, local residents must benefit directly from tourism as a sustainable source of income. We work wherever possible with local workforce and prefer to buy local.

Nature Expeditions is an eco-tourism company with a non-invasive approach to viewing wildlife and wilderness exploration.  As responsible operators, we act to minimize our impact. Our naturalists’ leadership experience enables us to enhance the quality of wildlife encounters.  We have developed and adopted the following guidelines:

1.) Garbage and contamination:

Nature Expeditions tries to avoid and reduce garbage production and environmental contamination where ever possible and recycles all recyclable materials:

  • In our office we try to reduce the use of paper and ink by using electronic archiving and modern media.
  • In our office we use technology that safes energy and water.
  • All recyclable material like paper, plastic bottles etc are collected separately during all our operation and are given to waste recycling companies.
  • We are obliging subcontracted service providers to adapt to our environmental standards and we are encouraging them to implement their own environmental policies.
  • We do no leave garbage in the environment. As a general rule garbage is transported away from natural sites and disposed properly in official waste dumps.
  • We do not use anti-fouling paint, containing the chemical tributyltin (TBT), in order to avoid marine organisms sticking to our ships hulls. Research has shown that birds and fish in the Atlantic are being killed by the chemical that spreads into sea water and accumulates in sediments around harbors and along shipping lanes. This is then ingested by marine invertebrates and gets into the food chain. We use Biocide-free ship paint. This results in having to manually clean all our ships hulls once a week, employing divers. This is a tremendous effort in human and financial resources. However – we believe it’s worth it.
  • We reduce the consumption of gasoline and therefore marine contamination by equipping our boat with modern engines and with hydrofoil fins. We have reduced gasoline and oil consumption in 30-60 percent, drastically reducing the companies’ ecological footprint.
  • We use only high quality oil to be mixed with the gasoline, this way reducing the amount of oil needed and improving the boat engines performance, which in turn reduces marine contamination.

If you feel that we are missing out on something or if you have an idea how we could improve our environmental performance even more, please write us: click here

 

2. Wildlife and wildlife observation:

Animals respond to intrusive human behavior with defensive-aggressive posturing, vocalization, even flight.

All animals have escape distances, and when people intrude on this zone, animals move away.  These distances vary among species, individuals and environmental circumstances.  Our naturalist guides and boat crew look for behavioral cues which might suggest disturbance and alert travelers accordingly. We are actively engaged in research to determine minimum distances that have to be kept towards different species of wildlife in order to avoid disturbance. The results of this ongoing research provide the framework for the performance of our guides and boat captains, which will be monitored permanently.

Animals observe us as we watch them.  Some of our behaviors may be interpreted by animals as threatening.  We move slowly and quietly when near wildlife, and remain at the periphery of animal groups, allowing wildlife to maintain their social organization. We ask our clients to abstain from noisy behavior and fast movements in order to keep animal disturbance low.

Nature Expeditions does not allow their clients to collect or buy and/or transport specimen or parts of specimen of species of protected wild flora and fauna during our travel tours.

If you feel that we are missing out on something or if you have an idea how we could improve our environmental performance even more, please write us: click here

 

3. Principles for Nature Expeditions dolphin watching tours:

  • Cetaceans will be approached slowly from the side, never from front or rear.
  • We will avoid crossing the path of a cetacean or a group of cetaceans aiming to anticipate their moves and facilitate a closer encounter.
  • Once we have encountered cetaceans the boat will slow down, and maintain a steady direction when ever possible. This will make cetaceans feel more secure, and the probability of a close encounter will be higher.
  • We will avoid splitting a pod or group of cetaceans.
  • Our boats crew is aware of other boats in the surrounding area. Dolphins and whales should never feel encircled.
  • Our crew is always especially aware of the presence of mothers and calves.
  • Cetaceans will never be fed.
  • Clients will be asked to make as little noise as possible.
  • Our crew will be aware of possible signs of distress, and will increase distance to distressed animals or leave at very low speed the area if any are noticed.
  • We do not engage in swimming-with-dolphins programs. In contrast to sea lions, wild dolphins that live within their family groups are not known to approach humans in the water for close interaction. Dolphins that do so are regularly solitary dolphins, using humans as a substitute for missing social contacts with other dolphins. Wild dolphins that live in their groups are regularly disturbed by humans entering the water and trying to swim with them. The boat operations needed to bring human swimmers close to dolphins, which are employed by other tourism operators (for example dragging their clients on ropes through the water, cutting a path through dolphin groups, placing the boat within the way of approaching dolphins and have clients jump in, etc) are highly disturbing to dolphins. We prefer a respectful approach using boat based observation only. As our boat drivers are experienced drivers, dolphins are used to coming close to our boats and many times our clients are able to almost touch them.

If you feel that we are missing out on something or if you have an idea how we could improve our environmental performance even more, please write us: click here

 

4. Principles for Nature Expeditions diving operations:

  • Nature Expeditions does not engage in, operate, or allow spear fishing during our dive trips.
  • The Peruvian sea is not an area of coral reefs. Nevertheless we are conscious about the negative effects touching and handling animals may have on them. We generally will discourage clients to disrupt animal life. Nevertheless dive guides may touch and handle marine animals – especially crustaceans – for educational purposes. This however will be undertaken in a careful way avoiding physical damage to the animal and placing it back into the original environment.
  • Nature Expeditions staff is encouraged to collect trash during dives, as long as this does not interfere with their duty to the client to provide a safe and educational diving experience. Our staff is especially encouraged to actively engage in rescuing entangled wildlife encountered. We nevertheless will not encourage clients to collect waste or handle entangled wildlife during dives because of the potential health hazards of these activities.

Our staff will advise clients before diving to take into account the following rules:

  • Dive carefully! Many aquatic organisms are fragile that are harmed by the bump of a tank, knee or camera, a swipe of a fin or even the touch of a hand. By being careful you can prevent devastating and long-lasting damage.
  • Be aware of your body and equipment placement when diving. Keep your gauges and alternate air source secured so they don’t drag over the reef or bottom. Control your buoyancy, taking care not to touch fragile organisms with your body or equipment.
  • Consider how your interactions affect aquatic life. Resist the temptation to touch, handle, and even hitch rides on certain aquatic life. Your actions may cause stress to the animal, interrupt feeding and mating behavior or provoke aggressive behavior in normally non-aggressive species.
  • Understand and respect underwater life. Using them as toys or food for other animals can leave a trail of destruction, disrupt local ecosystems and rob other divers of experiencing these creatures.
  • Be a role model for other divers in diving and non-diving interaction with the environment. As a diver, you see the underwater results of carelessness and neglect. Set a good example in your own interactions and other divers and non-divers will follow.
  • If you are in the kelp canopy and need to descend, deflate your BC and dry suit (if wearing one) and slowly make a couple of 360 degree turns while your hands push the kelp away. This will make an open area in the kelp. Descend feet first. When underwater, if you prefer to descend head first, lift your arms up over your head, turn, and swim. Similarly, if you need to ascend through the kelp canopy, make a slow ascent while turning 360 degrees and pushing the kelp away, creating an open area at the surface.
  • If you accidentally surface within the canopy and need to swim across the kelp, extend both of your arms over the kelp in front of you and push the kelp down carefully while doing a dolphin kick. This will pop you up and over the kelp and allow you to move slowly across and out of the canopy.
  • Do not thrash around or make sudden movements if entangled in kelp. This will only make your situation worse. Reach around or over yourself and remove the kelp. Have your buddy assist with gently untangling the kelp.

If you feel that we are missing out on something or if you have an idea how we could improve our environmental performance even more, please write us: click here

 

 

 
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Related links:

 

Nature Adventures: Whale and dolphin watching BirdingScuba diving Diving and swimming with sea lions 

Stay in touch: Follow Nature Expeditions on Twitter Nature Expeditions Facebook Page Visit Stefan Austermühle’s web site

Help protect nature in Peru: Be a dolphin conservation volunteer – NGO Mundo Azul on Facebook Facebook Page: Volunteering in Peru

Join, share, protect on Facebook: Pelagic Birding Peru  Birding Peru – Whale and Dolphin Watching Peru – Peru Bird Guide – Endemic birds of Peru – Diving in Peru