WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The American Bird Conservancy and similar organizations in 12 countries say they have started a tourism initiative aimed at saving endangered bird species.
The international project, called "Conservation Birding," is designed to help finance bird reserves across the Americas by developing them as birding tourism destinations with lodges, trails and other facilities for visitors, the conservancy said.
Officials said they have so far created 36 reserves, 18 of which can provide visitor accommodations. The reserves provide refuge for more than 2,000 bird species -- nearly half of the total found across all the Americas, the ABC said, noting many of the reserves also provide wintering habitats for migratory song birds.
"International birding travel is already popular, and we want more birders to know that their pastime can actually contribute to saving the species they love," said ABC Vice President Mike Parr. "Visiting birders can provide a source of direct financial support to the reserves, helping them become self-sufficient and sustainable in the long term."
More information about the project is available at www.conservationbirding.org.