Wildlife Conservation and Wildlife Tourism
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Wildlife conservation and wildlife tourism

spotlightingSustainable wildlife tourism has the potential to introduce many hundreds of thousands of people to the wonders of this planet's wildlife, but there is always a risk of disturbing or even destroying the very animals we seek.  Potential problems include:
  • disturbance of habitat - e.g. over-gathering of logs for firewood, clearing vegetation for tourism accommodation or new roads, trampling of understorey plants
  • disruption of important behaviours - e.g. repeatedly scaring animals from favoured feeding or nesting grounds, artificial feeding of animals causing dependency, diet of inappropriate foods or a population increase in one species to the detriment of others, separating mothers from infants
  • direct injury or death  - e.g.  by careless driving,  inadvertently trampling nests or burrows, or deliberate illegal killing of less popular animals such as snakes
  • all of the above can include negative impacts not only on the animals tourists and guides are conscious of, but of shy or cryptic species that may disappear or be impacted in some way without anyone noticing
See 'Negative Effects of Wildlife Tourism on Wildlife'.

Wildlife tourism can also bring benefits to wildlife conservation:
  • protecting land that may otherwise be stripped of its native habitats for other pursuits
  • restoring appropriate habitat
  • donating money to wildlife conservation by operators or tourists
  • conservation breeding of threatened species to be returned to the wild
  • education about ecological needs of wildlife, and awareness of animals many do not know the existence of
  • keeping an eye on possible illegal activities involving wildlife or their habitats
  • monitoring the occurrence, abundance and behaviour of wildlife to check for any changes from year to year
See Positive Effects of Wildlife Tourism on Wildlife

We need to maximize the positive and minimize the negative impacts

Araucaria proprietor Dr Ronda Green is currently chair of Wildlife Tourism Australia, the mission of which is to promote the sustainable development of a diverse wildlife tourism industry which supports conservation.

She is also chair of the
Scenic Rim branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (see Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Scenic.Rim.Wildlife)

Araucaria Ecotours is a member of Ecotourism Australia (and we have achieved advanced eco-accreditation for all our tours),  and we are personally members of  the Lamington Natural History Association, the Australian Orangutan Project and the Logan and Albert Conservation Association

walking past wild kangaroosRonda  has been leading tours and field excursions into wildlife habitat for many years, always very mindful of the value of experiencing nature and helping others to do so while not unduly disturbing the animals and their environments. She has also conducted extensive literature research plus interviews with tourists, tour operators and conservation managers for the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre, published (with co-author Karen Higginbottom) a report on 'Negative Effects of Wildlife Tourism on Wildlife'.and several other related publications. She was also second author ( with Karen Higginbottom and Chelsea Northrope) on 'Positive Effects of Wildlife Tourism on Wildlife.'

On behalf of Wildlife Tourism Australia Ronda contributed some years ago to the wildlife guidelines for Ecotourism Australia's eco-accreditation process and has led various related workshops including one leading to WTA's policy statement on the feeding of wildlife. She was to have led a workshop on maximizing contributions of wildlife tourism to conservation at a national conference in 2010, but the conference was canceled due to insufficient registrations to cover costs.

See also a presentation by Ronda Green at the 2002 International Ecotourism Conference in Cairns.: The tour operator's dilemma: Keeping the customer happy while not disturbing the wildlife - also other relevant publications and presentations by Ronda. plus numerous  publications  on wildlife tourism by other authors in the Sustainable Tourism CRC series.
There is much of relevance also amongst Wildlife Tourism Australia's bibliogaphy