Wildlife and biodiversity play a crucial role in Southeast Asia and India, both in terms of ecological and economic significance. These regions are home to a diverse array of species, including many that are found nowhere else on earth. The preservation of this biodiversity is essential for maintaining the health and stability of the region’s ecosystems, which provide numerous benefits to local communities, including food, water, and medicine.
For the second year in a row, Agoda, a global digital travel platform, has expanded its partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to support three additional WWF projects as a continuation of its Eco Deals program which launched in 2022 and supported marine habitat restoration in Southeast Asia. New for 2023, Agoda’s support will extend to Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, and India, following last year’s donation drive in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.
Building on the success of the 2022 campaign, which supported WWF’s efforts, Agoda has donated USD 150,000 to raise awareness about responsible tourism, enabling the restoration of marine habitats such as coral reefs and mangroves in Southeast Asia, and protecting wildlife affected by floods in Australia.
In the new partnership expansion, for every Eco Deals booking made at participating properties, Agoda will donate a dollar to WWF’s marine, forest, and wildlife conservation programmes in popular tourist destinations, with a minimum commitment of USD 160,000 and a donation target of USD 250,000. The campaign will start from 2 March – 2 September 2023. In addition, under this campaign, accommodation partners can offer discounted rates of up to 15%.
Enric Casals, Regional Vice President of Southeast Asia and Oceania, Agoda: “Agoda is committed to creating a sustainable travel ecosystem that maximizes the benefits of travel while minimizing negative environmental and societal effects. We believe that many of today’s travelers share the same desire to protect the world around us, and our expanded Eco Deals program gives our customers the chance to travel to their favorite destinations with the knowledge that they are also supporting the preservation of local wildlife and environments.”
R. Raghunathan, Chief Executive Officer, WWF-Singapore: “We are delighted to partner with Agoda for the second consecutive year. We are grateful for their support of the several conservation programmes that we will undertake to protect the rich biodiversity in Asia. This partnership will enable us to expand our efforts to restore and protect critical habitats, including employing more rangers and setting up camera traps to monitor wildlife populations.”
Agoda will provide financial support to local WWF conservation programs in each of the eight markets participating in the Eco Deals campaign.
Singapore – Stop Illegal Wildlife Trade Trafficking
Singapore is one of the major transshipment hubs for Illegal Wildlife Trade Trafficking (IWT) in the region. Recently, notable seizures have occurred in Singapore, including 34 kilograms of rhinoceros horns in 2022, 37,500 kilograms of pangolin scales, and 8,800 kilograms of ivory in 2019. Agoda’s support will help create an AI model for the detection and identification of IWT listings on e-commerce and social platforms to help prevent sales from being completed.
Malaysia – Strengthening Tiger Conservation
Among the biggest threats to Malaysia’s last remaining tigers is poaching. This WWF project aims to stabilise the tiger population in Belum-Temenggor, which has the potential to support a viable population of at least 50 adult tigers. To do this, local anti-poaching patrol teams need to be equipped to remove snares, identify poaching hotspots and set up camera traps to monitor the tiger population. Funding from the Eco Deals campaign will help make this possible.
Philippines – Support Rangers in Tubbataha
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest no-take marine protected area (MPA) in the Philippines. Home to threatened and near-threatened marine species, Tubbataha is located at the apex of the Coral Triangle, the global center of marine biodiversity. However, climate change, marine pollution, and perennial concerns about illegal fishing threaten the park. Agoda’s donation will support compliance management, led by the marine park rangers, as part of Tubbataha’s biodiversity and protection, research, monitoring, and restoration program.
© WWF-Indonesia / Samsul Komar
Indonesia – Thirty Hills Ecosystem Restoration Concession: Restore Degraded Rainforest
Thirty Hills restoration concession, Central Sumatra is a critical wildlife habitat for endangered species including Elephants, Tigers, and Orangutans. The rainforest supports the livelihoods of indigenous communities such as Orang Rimba and Talang Mamak tribes. This support will help to restore deforested areas and improve the connectivity of wildlife habitats, support indigenous communities, and conduct forest patrolling and wildlife monitoring to prevent forest and wildlife crime
Thailand – Elephant Conservation in Kuiburi National Park
Elephants, tigers, and other endangered wildlife living in the Mekong region are threatened by farmers surrounding the national park. It’s important to improve elephant protection and management, reduce human-elephant conflict, and reduce poaching to improve the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats. The donation is used to ensure adequate water sources during droughts, to increase the number of grass feeding areas for elephants to prevent crop damage, and to train patrols to improve patrol efforts and prevent conflict.
India – Protecting Wildlife and Habitat
Critical ecosystems such as rivers, oceans, forests, and mountains are home to key species such as tigers, rhinoceros, elephants, red pandas, snow leopards, Nilgiri tahr, Gangetic dolphin, mahseer, otter, and the gharial. Agoda will help WWF’s work on the conservation of the Nilgiri tahr, a mountain ungulate found in part of southern India. It currently faces a decline in its populations largely due degradation of its habitat with rampant deforestation, competition with domestic livestock, hydroelectric projects and monoculture plantations.
Viet Nam– Supporting Elephant Protection
The Yok Don National Park (YDNP) in Viet Nam’s Daklak province is a priority ecological landscape with critical populations of banteng, tigers and large water birds. It also supports the largest wild Asian elephant population remaining in Viet Nam, which is under threat from poaching. The donation from Agoda will help train the rangers team and technical staff, as well providing SMART Connect and SMART Mobile equipment to maintain connections between rangers while they patrol the forest.
Cambodia – Supporting Rangers in the Eastern Plains Landscape
The Eastern Plains Landscape (EPL) is an extensive protected area covering 8 times the size of Singapore. The irreplaceable dry forests in the area are home to globally significant populations of wild banteng, Asian elephants, Indochinese leopards, and much more. Being such a vast biologically important region, it needs over 90 rangers to help counter high levels of illegal logging and poaching. Agoda’s donation will support the monthly salaries and equipment for the rangers to ensure that much needed anti-poaching patrols are conducted throughout the year.