From Manakin Nature Tours, as a company dedicated to birdwatching tourism in Colombia, we want to address a recent issue that has sparked considerable controversy within the global birdwatching community. Recently, we published an article on our website and social media platforms regarding the experience of one of our clients, Mr. Jason Mann, an avid birdwatcher who visited Colombia and utilized our logistic services, specifically transportation. Mr. Jason, shared with us his experience of spotting a particular species, which allowed him to reach his personal record of 10,000 bird species, a significant achievement that we decided to share with our community. We had high expectations when he approached us to avail our services, clearly this would be very positive at the advertising level for Colombia as a bird watching destination and we were honored to know that he chose us for it.
We are delighted to witness how birdwatchers like Mr. Mann, along with many other clients, some of whom are well-known figures in the birdwatching world, seek to expand their records and enrich their experiences in nature. We take pride in being, in many cases, the Colombian operator that assists in achieving these goals, providing the quality logistical support that we normally provide. Over the past 15 years, we have witnessed how our company has contributed to achieving many individual accomplishments that contribute to the appreciation and understanding of Colombian avifauna. These achievements have also driven conservation, community social and economic development, as well as personal growth for my family and all our employees. Thanks to these efforts, Colombia now stands out as one of the world’s foremost birdwatching destinations.
Regarding Mr. Mann, we want to clarify that we bear no responsibility for the species records he has observed, whether in our country or elsewhere in the world. In this particular situation, our involvement was solely limited to providing transportation logistics. We had no means to corroborate the information other than the lists presented by him through the IGo-Terra platform. Just like with all our clients, we trust in the good faith of each individual and strive to provide the best service to everyone who comes to know our country. Therefore, direct attacks against us and accusing us of participating in an alleged “fraud,” are unjustified and only reflect a lack of empathy and understanding of this situation, generating only hatred, division, and sadness.
At Manakin Nature Tours, we deeply value the work of all birdwatchers and recognize the effort and dedication that this passion entails, as well as the numerous positive aspects that birdwatching tourism brings to natural territories worldwide. We want to emphasize that at no time do we seek to diminish the work of any birdwatcher; rather, we celebrate the diversity and enthusiasm that each one brings to this great community.
Together with my marketing team, we have decided to make this statement public as of today, as we had not been in contact with Mr. Mann since this situation arose. It was only yesterday afternoon, on February 10th of the current year, that he reached out to us. And with that, I want to quote his own words and clarify his thoughts on the matter to the community at large… and I quote:
“Hi Luis, It has recently been pointed out to me that there are a few errors in my iGoTerra bird list. I’m surprised about this and discuss it here: [link to forum]. My sincere apologies for this. I’m certainly past (or very close to) 10,000, but I’d like to support Peter as the first person to 10,000 birds. I don’t want there to be any question and I see him as extremely deserving! I think it would be best to remove the article from your website and socials. Kind regards, Jason.”
This situation leads us to seriously consider the credibility of data and underscores the importance of seeking solutions to ensure the verification of these figures to prevent unnecessary divisions. Likewise, we advocate for an approach that promotes constructive debate around these issues and reject any comments that incite hatred and cancel culture on social media platforms, which often prevail in the virtual realm.
We hope that this specific case serves as a precedent for questioning the why and how of this activity and reinterpreting the functionality of records, so that they become a much better structured tool that not only allows for the registration of bird presence but also helps understand the changes that species and ecosystems undergo over time and space, aiding in the implementation of effective measures for bird and ecosystem conservation and protection.
At Manakin Nature Tours, we have been promoting birdwatching tourism in Colombia with a firm commitment to showcasing the extraordinary biodiversity of our country and promoting bird conservation worldwide. We appreciate everyone who shares our passion for birds, but today, in particular, we thank all our friends, many of them from significant bird tourism companies, clients, guides, and followers who, with a message or a call, showed their support and provided wise advice on handling this situation.
We will continue working to offer enriching and authentic experiences to our clients and the ornithological community in general. Our mission is to remain a bridge between bird lovers and Colombian nature, fostering respect and admiration for our natural environment.
Luis Eduardo Urueña Director y Co-Fundador Manakin Nature Tours www.manakinnaturetours.com