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Monday, April 8, 2013

Environmentalists call for fewer visitors to Antarctica...

English: New Zealand's Scott Base as photograp...
English: New Zealand's Scott Base as photographed from the sea ice off the shore of Ross Island in Antarctica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Panorama - penguin colonies, cruise s...
English: Panorama - penguin colonies, cruise ship & tourists, Petermann Island, Antarctica. Français : Vue panoramique de l'Île Petermann, en Antarctique. Colonies de Manchots, bateau de croisière, touristes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Physical Location map Antarctica, Azimuthal eq...
Physical Location map Antarctica, Azimuthal equidistant projection Longitude of central meridian: 0° Latitude of projection origin: -90° Tangent latitude at the map boundaries: -60°; geographic limits of the map: -135°,-47.57359° to 45°,-47.57359° (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Environmentalists are calling for tougher regulations in Antarctica, as tourism numbers continue to rise.
They say visitors these days want to do more than just look at the ice and wildlife from their ships. Many want to go ashore for adventure tourism and hiking, and that significantly increases the risk for the environmentally fragile continent.
Around 30,000 tourists travelled to Antarctica last summer, a figure that's increasing every year. But scientists are becoming more and more concerned about the environmental impact this tourism surge could have.
"When you get more than 10,000 tourists visiting a very small part of the continent on a very regular basis, understanding the environmental implications of this is something we have to get a better handle on," says Dr Neil Gilbert, Antarctica New Zealand environmental manager.
Most tourism operators say the industry regulates itself and has annual checks to ensure the ships will only cause a minor or transitory impact on the ice.

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