Since 2011, arctic fox safaris not just generate money and attract new guests to the Helags mountain station in Sweden, but also helps the arctic fox to recover. Yet another proof that ecotourism can support the wildlife comeback.
The small municipalities of Gioia dei Marsi and Lecce nei Marsi in the Central Apennines have decided to bet on nature and to find new ways to earn money from the wilderness on their own “door step”. Creating new opportunities for local businesses and at the same time ensuring an even better protection of those areas. Land abandonment and depopulation are problems that hundreds of regional and EU initiatives so far have failed to solve, in spite of uncountable amounts in subsidies. But now, thanks to the beginning return of wild nature, these problems could instead be made into opportunity. Gioia dei Marsi and Lecce nei Marsi give a good example how the problems are turned into opportunities.
Right at dawn, the first eagle lands outside. A magnificent adult Golden eagle! 15 metres away. Through my telephoto lens I can see straight into the amber-coloured, piercing eyes of the eagle. The eagle gaze is not easily forgotten. I have seen golden eagles thousands of times, but almost always only at rather long distance, through powerful binoculars or telescopes. They are wonderful to see every time, but seeing them up close is a completely new dimension.