Focusing on the Wildlife, Environment & Marine Biodiversity of the Bahamas
The Bahamas continues to be a very popular destination for travellers from around the world. With its beautiful beaches, weather, people and culture, it has seemingly always been “the” place to visit. Tourism has no doubt helped both this island nation and the surrounding Caribbean hot spots, remaining one of the main contributors to the Bahamian economy.
In fact, tourism accounts for roughly 40% of the Bahamas’ GDP and an estimated $1.3 billion, annually. Overwhelmingly, most of the tourists (6 Mil) are from the United States.
In the 1960’s, the Bahamas’ introduction of casinos kicked off its tourism boom, but when visitors were offered more than they expected in the forms of exotic wildlife and nature itself, the country quickly became a hot destination. The news quickly spread via word of mouth and media-generated publicity focusing on wildlife and the environment.
Rich with history, the Bahamas weren’t truly colonized until the 17th Century, despite failed efforts from other nations including Spain and France. There were even plans to make the Bahamas a part of Canada in 1911, but the mission failed mainly due to lack of support. Long before these and other historical events occurred, in 1492, Christopher Columbus wound up on a Bahamian island now known as San Salvador. Then, as he set off to sail on more expeditions, Columbus claimed the island on Spain’s behalf. Before his arrival, the land was predominately inhabited by Arawak Indians. The Bahamas’ tourism boom coincided with their right to self-govern in 1964. Prior to 1964, the Bahamas had been under Crown rule since 1717.
The Bahamas has certainly come a long way. Now, when night falls, the islands continue to bustle as local businesses thrive and maintain high energy. Those visiting from other nations are ready to spend money to pay for adventures and amazing experiences; as more families arrive, more income is collected.The Bahamian nightlife, like its history, has also come a long way.Nassau and Paradise Island offer live music, as well as wonderful places to eat and “wet the whistle“. Many of the locations are fairly close to one another making “island hopping” a popular nighttime activity.But just as small businesses and venues have flourished from hard work, the Bahamas and its surrounding islands are working hard to combat global warming while protecting its wildlife. Over time, the data proves that, without a doubt, wildlife conservation, scientists and their research have helped protect Bahamian wildlife and its environment.
Steps have been, and continue to be, taken to protect the Bahamas’ wildlife and its beautiful environment. From the Bahamian iguana to the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle, the Bahamas is home to numerous species and plants. 13 million plus acres of marine habitat is presently protected. The Bahamian government has been instrumental in meeting environmental goals while concurrently decreasing deforestation.
In the case of habitats and environments, wildlife too is being protected. Endangered sperm whales swim in the Atlantic Ocean, often near the Caribbean islands and Bahamas. The Atlantic bottle nose dolphin, a highly intelligent mammal like the sperm whale, and Bahamian seahorse, also frequent Caribbean waters. Lately, in addition to visiting the Bahamas for its brilliant nightlife, beauty and beaches, the bump in tourism also stems from its nature and protective measures taken to save it. It has quickly become a model for other nations to follow.
Bahamians have of course always had a protective eye on their land and wildlife. The ancient West Indian Rock Iguana and other native wildlife rely on their habitat in order to survive. As global warming and climate changes affect everyone and everything worldwide, measures have been taken to ensure species like the rock iguana have sources of food and the freedom to thrive.
As some other nations’ environments and wildlife struggle, vacation destinations like the Bahamas will only gain in popularity. Not just for their beaches and Instagram-worthy sunsets, but for their animals and nature. Currently, roughly 70% of all wildlife exists in only five countries. Species’ numbers are dwindling, and sea levels are rising; in the Bahamas, conservation and environmental groups work closely with its government in meeting goals in order to combat these threats. A simple endeavour, which can only increase tourism whilst identifying the Bahamas as a global role model.