Monday, August 22, 2005

Tours to Search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker -- $325 per person (let the fleecing begin)!!!!!!!!

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. An outfit just started a new web site for tours to see the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas. Check out the prices: the cheapest option is $325.00 per person!!!!!!

Oh yeah, you can also buy *deluxe* packages for $1300 or $2300. For that price, Gene Sparling will be your guide!

Now we know why access into the best areas has been restricted...not to save habitat, but so that the local Razorbacks can make some money!

There is quite a bit on the IBWO in the latest edition of North American Birds, and I think that some of the information in that issue will create a firestorm of least, it will here at BINAC.


Tom said...

I'm Tom Nelson, of I'm very interested in the IBWO controversy, and I'd like to find out a bit more about the "North American Birds IBWO info" that you mentioned.

Could you please email me at

Tom said...

Whoops--I misspelled my own email address. Could you please email me at

Steve said...

"Now we know why access into the best areas has been restricted...not to save habitat, but so that the local Razorbacks can make some money!"

It does say on the website that they are subject to federal & state restrictions for access. If, however, the USFWS starts letting in tour groups and not the general birding public, then we have a right to be outraged. Until then, locals SHOULD make some money off of this. This will show the VALUE of protecting natural areas. Not everyone (if fact probably most people) is motivated by the scientific or aesthetic value of nature. They just want to make a buck...and if they can do it RESPONSIBLY then they should go for it.

Birding is NOT a crime!!!! said...

I think Steve makes an excellent point.

Really, I suppose I was being a bit facetious in that post, I have no problem if Gene Sparling (or anyone else) makes some money off of this whole deal; I'm sure he's not a millionaire, and if he can make himself a bit better off due to his good fortune in "re-discovering" the IBWO, then more power to him.

But there is still something that I can't quite put my finger on that is bothering me about this. I guess there are now three people from the search team that are profiting from the IBWO...David Luneau is selling dvds and his wife's book, Tim Gallagher wrote a book (which I though was a great read), now Gene Sparling may make a bit of extra money as a guide.
I guess there's nothing wrong with that, individually, but at some point the aggregation of all of the profit-making opportunities may seem to be a bit crass. I'm not sure if we've reached that point yet, but $2300 tours must be close to that point.

Also, the hunting lodge offering the "expeditions" seems to have gotten at least an informal endorsement from Cornell and the ABA, and that concerns me a bit. There should be a level playing field for tour operators, it shouldn't matter if you have connections with Cornell. Did the lodge make any donations to Cornell to get mentioned in that article? I know there are other waterfowl guides that are planning to lead IBWO trips, why weren't they mentioned as well?