Editor’s note: As Chinese New Year celebrations usher in the Year of the Monkey, we’re sharing an updated version of a 2012 blog by CI’s Russ Mittermeier about a passion of his: making primate tourism as popular as bird-watching. A version of this post was recently published on Mongabay.
You’ve heard of “bird-watching,” a hobby of millions of people around the world. The nearly 50 million bird-watchers just in the U.S. generate about US$ 50 billion in economic bird-watching activity each year. You may have even heard of “life-listing,” where individual birders keep lists of the number of species they have seen in the wild and compete with their fellow enthusiasts. The competition can sometimes be quite intense, as captured in the film, “The Big Year.”
But you probably haven’t heard about “primate-watching.” Primate-watching is poised to grow in the years to come, and what better time to move forward with this than in the Year of the Monkey, which begins today with the start of the Chinese New Year.