“Love, respect and protect wildlife.” This simple, yet bold motto underpins everything that Jonathan Guillot, Founder, and the team of passionate guides at Salva Fauna do.
Built on the “crazy idea of reconciling man with nature”, Salva Fauna believe in experiencing wildlife with the utmost ethics. Their wildlife photography tours focus on total immersion in nature with the greatest respect for wild animals – often changing how their guests see the world.
Jonathan Guillot, Founder of Salva Fauna, shares what he’s learned about staying agile and flexible during COVID-19, and their plans to acquire and protect areas of wilderness through the newly-created Salva Fauna Conservation Fund.
What single sentence describes your approach to ecotourism or sustainability?
Salva Fauna has been created with the crazy idea of reconciling man with nature.
What makes your business unique?
Our ethics, both in the field and out. For us, ethics is far more than a word, it is our culture – our way of being and acting.
In the field, we apply the highest ethics you can find when it comes to approaching and photographing wild animals. No bait, no calls, no set up… we do not do anything that could purposely disturb wildlife or negatively impact their habitat. We are simple witnesses and let the scenes unfold in front of our astonished eyes.
Outside the field, our ethics apply as we actively do our part to protecting wildlife and limiting our daily impact as a company. We limit our consumption of resources, support people and organizations that stand for conservation of nature, and maintain a low carbon footprint.
What success story are you most proud of so far?
When our guests say in their review that our tour changed their way to see the world.
What has been the most challenging part of being an ethical ecotourism operator?
Same as any tourism operator, the last 2 years 🙂
Tourism often comes under the spotlight as negatively impacting people and places. Why do you believe that ecotourism can be a positive force for good?
It has been proven that ethical tourism actually helps protect habitat and wildlife, and helps local communities too. Ethical tourism is a win win situation where all the actors at play can benefit from the positive side of tourism.
What advice would you give to other tourism operators who wish to operate more ethically?
Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing, what is the core reason of being of your company. Is the point of it to only make money, or to actually do something good for the world?
How can people looking for ecotourism experiences identify operators that are truly committed to ecotourism?
A lot of companies label themselves as ecotourism operators when not much is done, unfortunately. It is hard to identify good ones before actually testing their services, but reviews and word of mouth can definitely help.
What have you learnt as a business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We learned to stay agile and flexible as a company in order to survive. Also, we see these dividing times as a reminder to be even more compassionate and caring for people around us.
How would you like to see the travel industry transform post-COVID?
We would love to see the end of mass tourism in the future, as we see it as the source of many problems in the tourism market.
What can travellers and guests do to help support a better tourism industry?
What’s next for you?
We just launched a new tour in Andalusia to see the Iberian Lynx, and we will soon release new tours in Portugal, Senegal and Brittany, France.
We are also working hard to get more donors for our association, the Salva Fauna Conservation Fund, in order to acquire our first piece of wild land in 2022.
What are you looking forward to?
At Terra Incognita, we’re proud to feature Salva Fauna’s Exploration Sailing Cruise In Greenland and An Immersion With Rémuzat Griffon Vultures tour in France. To learn more about Salva Fauna and the other wildlife experiences they offer, you can also visit their website and upcoming ethical wildlife tours.
For stories in your favourite format (photos, videos or words!), check out Salva Fauna’s stories page.
All photo credits: Salva Fauna.