Sunday 9 February 2020

Fireflies face extinction risk - and tourists are partly to blame

By Georgina Rannard BBC News

7 February 2020 

Firefly tourism is on the rise globally but scientists are warning it may contribute to risk of the insect's extinction.

"I spotted a hundred flickering lights, illuminating a palm like a Christmas tree."

"Our guide waved his flashlight at the fireflies. They slowly engulfed us - we were surrounded by a shiny galaxy of glowing beetle stomachs."

"I reached out a hand and captured one in my fist."

Reading this travel blogger's enchanting experience in 2019 makes it clear why firefly tours are popular, but done badly, it risks killing the insects.

Habitat loss and light pollution from urbanisation and industrialisation are the leading threats to firefly populations, according to research published this week.

But firefly tourism, which attracts thousands of visitors in countries including Mexico, the US, the Philippines and Thailand, is a growing concern for conservationists.

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