| Azlan Othman |
BRUNEI Darussalam has achieved high ratings for Conservation of Megafauna (large animals) and for Number of Protected Natural Areas in the recently released Global Wildlife Travel Index, a UK-based ranking which rates every country based on their wildlife travel offerings.
The Sultanate scored seven – the highest possible score – for both categories, coming out 81st overall.
The country has work to do in other categories, namely National Park Prevalence and National Park Pioneers. Within Southeast Asia, after Thailand, the next highest scorer is Indonesia at 24th place, followed by Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
Topping the index is the United States (US), thanks to its large number of national parks and natural history museums, in addition to its excellent conservation efforts and incredible wildlife diversity.
Other destinations scoring highly in the index include Venezuela (second), Brazil (third), Thailand (fourth), and Tanzania (fifth).
To compile the Global Wildlife Travel Index, each country was rated on a scale of 1 – 7 for the categories in the index based on the analysis of such criteria as wildlife biodiversity, megafauna conservation, national park prevalence, national park pioneers, protected natural areas, and natural history museums.
Each country’s scores were then totalled to produce their own unique total Global Wildlife Travel Index Score (42 being the highest available).
The countries were then ranked by their Global Wildlife Travel Index Score to create the ranked Global Wildlife Travel Index.
In the case where countries are tied on their Wildlife Travel Index Score, their megafauna conservation index score will be used to establish their final relative rankings.
Wildlife travel seems to be growing increasingly popular among tourists – notably Britons. For the residents of good Old Blighty, wildlife holidays are now overtaking the traditional beach holiday to become the fourth-most popular holiday choice.