Valley of the Cats Nature Watch is a community-based ecotourism project. According to the IUCN, ecotourism refers to "environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features—both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations". In 1987, the United Nations published the report "Our Common Future", which identified the need for sustainable development and resource conservation. Since then, ecotourism, which contributes to both socioeconomic and environmental benefits, has entered both the academic and public eye. In addition to the most commonly used term "ecotourism", tourism programs based on natural landscapes and biodiversity are also described as "sustainable tourism", "nature watch", "nature observation", "conservation tourism", "green tourism", etc.
With the growing concern for the lives of people living in nature reserves, community-based ecotourism is considered by more people as a much desirable solution for achieving conservation and development with the focus on the direct participation of local communities in project management and operation. Nature watch program integrates nature conservation and social development. By serving as guides and host families, local herders can earn an increased amount of income and realize that protecting their home landscape and wildlife will benefit their own families and communities, thus diminishing the possibility of consuming natural resources in exchange for money.