Chapter 27: The role and management of non-captive wildlife in ecotourism
There is an important, but complex, relationship between wildlife and ecotourism. On the one hand, the opportunity to participate in wildlife-based experiences is a central element of many ecotourism activities, while, on the other hand, these same ecotourism activities can have significant negative impacts on both the wildlife and the destination they inhabit. This chapter provides an overview of this relationship between wildlife and ecotourism describing the important roles that wildlife viewing and interaction play in the ecotourism experience. It then discusses the potential impacts that tourist–wildlife interactions can have on the tourist and the impacts that ecotourism can have on wildlife and the destination, both positive and negative. The chapter concludes by briefly describing some of the management opportunities and issues that arise from this relationship. Ecotourism Australia (2011, p. 1) defines ecotourism as ‘ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation’, and it is this definition that the current chapter will use.
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