TIRANA, October 8
A new hiking trail that meanders around the Egyptian Vulture habitat in Southern Albania aims to raise awareness on the endangered bird as well as combine cultural features with the ecotourism potential of walking routes. The route has been signed by the Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) in cooperation with Visit Gjirokastra.
While wildlife observation is common in hiking trails, there are not many cases of dedicated trails that contribute to sustainable tourism, local development, environmental protection, and wildlife awareness. The Egyptian Vulture trail, known in Albania as Shkaba or Kali i Qyqes, runs along the Drino River Valley and through the Kurveleshi Region. The trail is dedicated to the bird species that are currently on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. In Albania, numbers of Egyptian Vultures dropped significantly due to hunting, illegal wildlife poisoning, and electrocution. The numbers of the Egyptian Vulture declined at the point when a few people can say they have seen one.
However, the route that connects the villages of Kardhiqi and Nivica aims at increasing the number of ecotourism in the area, thus impact local economies and change people’s behaviors towards wildlife protection.
Besides the expansion of the area’s tourism offer out of the peak season, ecotourism is a tool for wildlife conservation that makes the local population value wildlife more when it helps them generate income through leisure and accommodation services.
On the other hand, the trail is an adventurous alternative to popular birdwatching sites in Albania.
According to PPNEA, soon the trail will turn into a favorite choice among ecotourists and birdwatchers.
Source/Photo Credit: PPNEA