Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris
Ecotourism & Conservation in Palau
By traveling with Cheesemans’ to Palau, you will be investing in a country whose priorities embody the Palauan Pledge, a statement written by the nation’s school children that visitors must affirm when obtaining visas.
Children of Palau, I take this pledge as your guest, to preserve and protect your beautiful and unique island home. I vow to tread lightly, act kindly, and explore mindfully. I shall not take what is not given. I shall not harm what does not harm me. The only footprints I shall leave are those that will wash away.
Our operators discuss with travelers the meaning and value of the pledge and provide examples and ways tourists can participate, in part, because the environmental health of Palau is intimately tied to its socio-economic success. Consequently, ensuring that the Palauan stakeholders become the beneficiaries of the tourism industry is a paramount priority as Palau has no exports and few other economic opportunities. An essential part of this is a commitment to hiring local employees. Our operators have set the gold standard in this regard.
Ecotourism in Palau is the source of vital contributions benefitting the ecosystems, the economy, and traditional cultural practices. Our operators conduct research and conservation projects, which include beach clean-ups, crown of thorns (Euphorbia mill) removals, clam planting, and the documentation and protection of spawning aggregations. In addition to ecological-specific conservation projects, traditional artisans have, in support of fading cultural practices, constructed a pair of ancient sailing canoes using only native materials, which you can sail on or photograph. These artisans are actively teaching Palauan youth their craft ensuring that these cultural treasures are not sacrificed by the rush into modernity. Preservation of wildlife and cultural crafts work in tandem to benefit the local people and to create authentic experiences for travelers; and travelers benefit the local ecosystems, economy, and cultural preservation by active participation as well as through the investment of tourism dollars.
How Can You Make A Difference?
How You Can Actively Contribute
- Give a talk about your experience to a local wildlife or nature group or host a virtual webinar to reach a much wider audience!
- Post your experiences on social media so others can learn more.
- Submit a written, video, or audio testimonial for Cheesemans’ to share with future travelers.
- Support local vendors if you buy memorabilia to take home.
- Do not purchase items that contain turtle shell, corals, or marine mollusk parts.
- Travel in small group sizes to limit the impact on the environment and wildlife.
- Follow best practices when snorkeling: do not stand on or touch the coral, chase the sea life, move quickly, or use sunscreens that are not reef safe.
- Bring a reusable water bottle to refill rather than accepting plastic bottles.
- Ask for the lodging to not replace your towels or bedding during multiple night stays.
- Turn off lights and fans when leaving your room.
- Bring biodegradable soap to save waterways. This can also help minimize plastic bottle waste by reducing the number of bottles hotels provide (although many hotels are switching to dispensers in the bathrooms.).
- Purchase and use Pura Vida, a reef-safe, locally-sourced sunscreen made and sold by a young Palauan business owner in local shops and on the dive boat.
Organizations You Can Support
Coral Reef Research Foundation – CRRF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that conducts research focused on the dynamics of marine life, species diversity, and climate change to make the best decisions regarding conservation efforts.
Island Conservation – This NGO, non-profit removes damaging invasive species to protect Palau’s biodiversity, which in turn supports local industries that are imbued in traditional cultural practices dependent on native species of plants and animals.