Offshore Industry News

Hurtigruten Expeditions Donates to Alaska Wilderness League and Galápagos Conservancy to Protect Local Wildlife

Hurtigruten Expeditions, the world leader in exploration travel, will donate 1% of all North American bookings made in November and December for Alaska and the Galápagos to Alaska Wilderness League and Galápagos Conservancy, respectively, through its Hurtigruten Foundation.

Galápagos and Alaska are some of the latest additions to Hurtigruten Expeditions’ growing global offering of unique experiences – with the first Galápagos expedition cruises starting from January 2022. The funds will be donated through the Hurtigruten Foundation.

“The old travel industry saying of ’take only memories, leave nothing but footprints’ is no longer enough. This is why we are proud and humbled to engage with both the Alaska Wilderness League and Galápagos Conservancy. Together we will continue our efforts to safeguard the nature and wildlife that is such an integrated part of the lives of the Alaskan Natives that welcome us into their communities and homes, and in Galápagos, where we are converting footprints from previous centuries into a new future for the endemic species of this unique archipelago,” said Henrik A. Lund, Managing Director, Hurtigruten Foundation.

The Hurtigruten Foundation aims to create a lasting, positive impact in the remote places Hurtigruten Expeditions operates and actively seeks to support initiatives that support local communities, protect endangered species or lead to the reduction in plastics and marine litter.

“Galápagos Conservancy is thrilled to partner with Hurtigruten Expeditions and admire their dedication to sustainability, including operating a carbon-neutral vessel for expeditions in Galápagos. This new giveback program will directly support the conservation and restoration of Giant Tortoises, Pink Land Iguanas, and marine ecosystems in Galápagos, we hope for years to come,” said Dr. Paul Salaman, President of Galápagos Conservancy.

Continued from Earth Week earlier this year, Hurtigruten Expeditions and Hurtigruten Foundation will once again donate to Alaska Wilderness League, which will help protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, located in Alaska’s northeast corner, and other wildlife reserves.

“Supporting local communities, wildlife, and nature in the destinations we explore is one of the key pillars of what we do. Alaska and the Galápagos are two of our closest and most popular upcoming destinations for our North American guests. These donations complement the many other vital initiatives led by the Hurtigruten Foundation. We want to make sure that our guests feel they are making the right choice when it comes to sustainable travel when choosing us, ranging from our ships, Citizen Science programs, and excursions to our giving back initiatives,” said Asta Lassesen, CEO of Hurtigruten Expeditions.

For summer 2022, Hurtigruten Expeditions will have its first full season in Alaska, offering two itineraries, one that’s 14 days and one that’s 18 days, either southbound or northbound. The 18-day cruise includes stops where hardly any other cruise line has ever visited, including the Alaskan Peninsula, the Aleutian Islands, and the uninhabited St. Paul and St. Matthew Islands.

All 2022 Alaskan itineraries are onboard the hybrid-battery-powered MS Roald Amundsen. By booking a Hurtigruten Expeditions voyage in November or December, North American travelers will contribute directly to preserving the Alaskan wilderness they explore.

“Alaska Wilderness League stands with the many people and organizations that believe in a sustainable future for Alaska. We also work to honor and respect the cultures of Alaska Natives whose way of life remains deeply connected to the state’s land, water, and wildlife,” said Kristen Miller, Acting Executive Director of Alaska Wilderness League.

“Alaska and the Arctic, which are experiencing rapidly rising temperatures, thawing permafrost, receding glaciers, disappearing sea ice, eroding coastlines, and increasing wildfires, are ground zero in the climate crisis. Alaska Wilderness League is committed to confronting the causes and impacts of climate change and defending America’s last great wild public lands and waters, and we are happy to once again have the support of companies like Hurtigruten, who are recognized for their focus on sustainable tourism and conducting business in an environmentally responsible way, and commitment to respecting local Indigenous cultures” said Miller.

Hurtigruten Expeditions is the only major cruise operator in Alaskan waters to be certified by Adventure Green Alaska, a certification program that defines sustainable tourism as travel to natural areas that benefits local economies, respects the environment and is sensitive to indigenous cultures.

For the Galápagos, the new partnership with Galápagos Conservancy will see donations divided between three multi-year, multi-partner programs:

  • Iniciativa Galápagos: Restoring Giant Tortoises. More than 10,000 Giant Tortoises have been reared in captivity and released to the wild to reverse the decimation of their numbers caused by centuries of over-exploitation, but populations are still 10% of original size, and available habitats are only 35% occupied. Hurtigruten’s funding will go towards the organization’s breeding, rearing, release, and research programs concerning these ecologically critical animals and their ecosystems;
  • Strengthening the Galápagos Marine Reserve. The nutrient-rich waters of the newly-expanded Galápagos Marine Reserve are an oasis for one of the world’s highest concentrations of ocean biodiversity, including nearly 3,000 species of marine wildlife. Galápagos Conservancy is on the leading edge of combatting climate change and incursions by invasive species, and Hurtigruten funding will go toward this and a wide array of marine protection and restoration programs; and
  • Saving Pink Land Iguanas. On the remote slopes of Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island, the endemic Pink Land Iguana — a key species in the development of evolutionary science — is teetering on the brink of extinction. With an estimated 211 individuals left in the world, Hurtigruten funding will go towards expeditions to collect additional information on breeding and nesting behavior, construction of a permanent hut to serve as a base of operations for future fieldwork on the volcano, and control of introduced predators.

More information about the Hurtigruten Foundation can be found here, and all of Hurtigruten’s sustainability initiatives can be found here.

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