Charles A. Munn

Charles A.Munn III, chairman of board and founder of TN

Son of a prominent Palm Beach dinasty, he was married to Martha Scott Munn Brecht, and is now married to a german-peruvian woman, Mariana Dolores Valqui. (http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/socialdiary/2006/11_24_06/socialdiary11_24_06.php)

After graduating Summa cum laude in 1977 from Princeton, Munn went on to earn a Masters Degree in zoology at Oxford in UK and then Ph.D. in biology back at Princeton. From 1984 until 2000, he worked as a field scientist for the New York Zoological Society (now WCS), researching wildlife in the Amazon of Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. In 1987, Munn was the director of the Brazil government’s field survey of the Hyacinth Macaw, which led directly to the global trade ban on that species. From 1997 to the present Munn has gradually shifted his attention from pure wildlife research to a mixture of pure and applied research. This method involves using research findings about rare, photogenic animals to inform the design and Immediate implementation of ecotourism networks that create conservation-related jobs. In 2000 he founded the nonprofit Tropical Nature to implement and control profitable ecotourism to save the Amazon.

Munn’s wildlife research convinced him that ecotourism was the most efficient way to protect the 15 million acres of parks that his teams created in the Amazon. Fifteen million acres are three New Jerseys. His work at Tropical Nature has produced the largest network of rainforest ecolodges in the world.

During the early stages of lodge development, Munn realized that to convince large numbers of people to visit, you need to make the experience more compelling, as the animals are as beautiful but harder to see than in Africa. Working with local biologists (as well as reformed poachers, who taught him their techniques), he developed successful methods for providing close but safe access to key rainforest animals such as macaws, Giant River Otters, and Pink Dolphins. This work culminated in his recent discovery of the world’s only reliable spot for seeing Jaguars, perhaps the most elusive large mammal in the Americas (many Jaguar researchers rarely see one in the wild).

Munn’s work has been featured widely in Emmy-award-winning TV documentaries, two cover stories in National Geographic Magazine, TIME, Newsweek, the New York Times, and dozens of other magazines. Condé Nast Traveler Magazine chose a Tropical Nature lodge as the top wildlife destination in the entire Amazon. In 1994, TIME chose Munn as one of 100 young leaders for the planet, one of only three environmentalists.

This success has led to a strategy for a major expansion of the system to protect the 43% of the Amazon that is in indigenous community hands or in nominal reserves.

Quoted from one their websites:

Neither Munn or any other board member of the nonprofit conservation groups working under the umbrella of Tropical Nature have any personal financial interest in any tourism activities. Rather, the network of lodges and travel agencies are entirely or largely owned and controlled by tropical country nonprofit groups created by Munn to generate ecosystem protection in perpetuity through judicious use of the ecotourism marketplace.’

Appendix 2 (Interview with Charles A.Munn on www.grist.org ):

Interview with Charles A. Munn for Grist.org

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