This article was originally published by the Economist.
“…Colombia is to birds what Ascot is to hats; the number and variety are extraordinary, and many are photogenic. It has over 1,900 different species, more than any other country. At least 270 are endemic or near-endemic.
…Last year the FARC and the government of President Juan Manuel Santos signed a peace agreement. On June 27th, in a ceremony at Mesetas, not far from Vista Hermosa, the FARC marked the handover to UN monitors of their 7,132 personal weapons.
…Tourism can potentially offer a fairly swift peace dividend. And that is where bird-watching offers an important business niche. A study published last year that surveyed more than 5,000 members of the Audubon Society, the biggest bird-conservation charity in the United States, found that many would be willing to pay more to visit Colombia than, for example, Costa Rica, an established destination for ecotourists. The authors’ conservative estimate was that bird tourism could generate revenue of $46m a year, and create at least 7,500 new jobs.
…Not all that long ago the FARC roamed the Sierra Nevada. Could some of its former fighters, now gathered in temporary camps, find new, peaceful livelihoods as birding guides or in conservation?…”
Read on at: the Economist.