International Handbook on Ecotourism
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International Handbook on Ecotourism

Edited by Roy Ballantyne and Jan Packer

This Handbook brings together contributions from over forty international experts in the field of ecotourism. It provides a critical review and discussion of current issues and concepts – it challenges readers to consider the boundaries of what ecotourism is, and could be. The Handbook provides practical information regarding the business of ecotourism; insights into ecotourist behaviour and visitor experiences; and reflections on the practice of ecotourism in a range of different contexts.
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Chapter 28: Watching and swimming with marine mammals: international scope, management and best practice in cetacean ecotourism

Kaye Walker and Elizabeth Hawkins


Since the Stone Age, humans have had a long-standing fascination with marine mammals. They have often been associated with mythology or folklore, attributed close connections to the gods with shape shifting powers, including the ability to take human form, and even being direct ancestors to humans. Such connections are still evident in the native cultures of Alaska and the Northern American continent (Baird, 2002). Marine mammals, particularly dolphins, also had and in some cases still do have close associations with fishermen, for example, herding fish into fishermen’s nets (Hall, 1984). There are even more amazing documented stories of Killer whales (Orca) assisting the herding of migrating whales for the whale hunters of Eden on the southeast coast of Australia from the 1840s to the 1930s (Davidson, 1997). In some parts of the world hunting of marine mammals continues with the use of modern vessels or traditional hunting practices (Cunningham, Huijbens & Wearing, 2012; Moyle & Evans, 2008).

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