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WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA

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					      WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA




         Wildlife Tourism In Australia

                     Prepared for
                   Stephanie Wells
Convener and Faculty of Tourism And Outdoor Recreation
                 Capilano University




                     Prepared by
                  Amanda Orlowski
            Student of Capilano University
           Destination Resort Management




                 November 2nd, 2009
                                  WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA



40197 Diamond Head Road
Squamish British Columbia V0N 1T0


November 2, 2009

Stephanie Wells
Convener and Faculty of Tourism and Outdoor Recreation
Capilano University
Squamish BC V8B 0B1



Dear Mrs. Wells,

The attached report which you requested for November 2, represents my findings regarding
wildlife tourism in Australia, its sustainability and challenges.

This report includes an assessment of the gathered research regarding the wildlife tourism
industry in Australia, the negative impact and the management of that impact on wildlife and
the environment.

Wildlife tourism has shown a flat growth rate which has the potential to decrease without
action taken. This report includes some tactics and future goals to conserve this valuable
industry and create a future in Australia. There is an action plan outlined, which provides
information for what the tourism industry, government and wildlife conservationist can do to
continue to have this form of tourism available.

I look forward to discussing the future of Australia’s wildlife and the possibilities of growth with
you and the board of tourism at any time. Thank you for your time and I hope to receive some
feedback.



Sincerely,


Amanda Orlowski
Student of Capilano University




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                                                WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA




                                                              CONTENTS



SUMMARY……………………………………....................................................................………………………..4

INTRODUCTION……………………………………......…………..............................................……………………...5

DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS…………..……...……………………...............................................….……………..5

1. The wildlife tourism industry...................................................................................................5
2. The future of wildlife tourism……………………………….………..........................................……………5
3. Economics of wildlife tourism………………………………………………………………........................…...…6

IMPACT ON WILDLIFE………………………………………........................................................................….6

1. The Negative impact on wildlife……………………………….......………………………………......................6
   a. Disruption of activity...........................................................................................................6
   b. Direct killing or injury..........................................................................................................6
   c. Habitat Alteration...............................................................................................................6

2. Dingoes on Fraser island…………………………………………......................................................……...7

3. Affects of tourism vessels on Dolphin pods..............................................................................7

RECOMENDATIONS........................................................................................................................8

1. Monitoring................................................................................................................................8
2. Education..................................................................................................................................8
3. Support.....................................................................................................................................9

CONCLUSION……....................................................…………………………………………………………………....9

REFRENCES…………………………....................................................…………………………………………..…….10

LIST OF FIGURES...........................................................................................................................10




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                                  WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA



SUMMARY

Australia has a unique and wonderful range of wildlife, most of which can found nowhere else
in the world. With the population growing steadily, much of the forest and woodland areas
have been cleared to make way for farms, towns and cities. Unfortunately the land has changed
so much that many types of animals have already disappeared. Australia having one of the
highest extinction rates in the world needs to take a stand for wildlife and how tourism is
affecting it.

The growing threat to Australia’s wildlife leaves wildlife tourism hanging in a balance between
extinction and prosperity. The future of wildlife tourism is vital to conservation and the tourism
industry as well, considering many of the tourists flock here for the sole purpose of interacting
with an amazing natural environment.

Research shows that wildlife is very delicate and even the smallest changes can have drastic
outcomes. While there are many variables influencing the population decline these are three
main factors: -Disruption of Activity

               -Direct Killing or Injury

               -Habitat alteration

The impact on wildlife is proven with multiple case studies represented in this report by
colonies of dingoes situated on Fraser Island and water based tourism involving dolphins and
human interaction. Further discussion on the reactions of animals exposed to human behaviour
proves the habituation of naturally feral creatures. This is influencing aggressiveness and
desired food sources in a negative way. The ever expanding territory that humans are
cultivating and traveling to is altering migratory paths and native origin of species.

Building a sustainable future for wildlife tourism is necessary in order to secure economic
stability in the tourism industry as a large majority of tourist travel to Australia seeking a
wildlife experience. There are three guidelines that will lead to a successful rate in conservation
of this valuable resource: -Monitoring
                             -Education
                             -Support




Australia must continue to conserve the valuable resource that their wild life provides because
without the wildlife tourism Australia’s economy and tourism value will drop drastically. It’s
time to take a stand to protect this priceless and fragile environment.




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                                     WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA



INTRODUCTION
As the wildlife tourism industry grows, so have concerns about threats to wildlife populations
and their habitats. This report contains information on the wildlife tourism industry, the
impacts of humans on the behaviour and population of wildlife as well as future
recommendations to manage the impacts of tourism on Australia’s wildlife. Research now
exists to show that a wide range of negative impacts of wildlife tourism can and do occur. This
concern is increased by tourists wanting to see threatened species and travel to remote areas.

The report covers a variety of elements concerned with wildlife tourism and has been sectioned
into the following themes:

       The negative effects of human interaction with specific wildlife found in Australia that
        are frequent tourist attractions

       Research regarding the pods of dolphins exposed to water vessels and dolphin tourism
        in general

       Analysis of observations taken of groups of dingoes residing on Fraser Island and the
        behavioural differences in comparison to their exposure to humans.

       The actions possible to increase the sustainability.



DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS

1. Wildlife Tourism
“Wildlife tourism is more than travel to enjoy or appreciate wildlife, it also includes contributions to
conservation and community projects in developing countries, and environmental educations and
awareness through the establishment of codes of conduct for wildlife tourists as well as the various
components of the travel industry.2” Kutay, 1993

3. The Future of Wildlife tourism
To ensure sustainability of the wildlife resource, appropriate management and monitoring is
required, and some species may even need to be removed from tourism altogether. On the
other hand, wildlife tourism can also contribute positively to conservation. In order for
conservation is to be successful in the long term, it must be promoted inside and outside
protected areas.




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                                  WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA



3. Economics of Tourism
In areas where suitable wildlife exists, development of tourism based on wildlife watching or
hunting can provide economic incentives and revenue for conservation of natural habitats and
wildlife. Wildlife tourism in some cases provides revenue that helps fund conservation and
there is potential for an increase in this form of funding

THE IMPACT OF TOURISM ON WILDLIFE

"Earth is experiencing its sixth great extinction event and the new report reveals that this threat
is advancing on six major fronts. Our region has the notorious distinction of having possibly the
worst extinction record on earth. This is predicted to continue without serious changes to the
way we conserve our environments and dependent organisms. We have an amazing natural
environment in our part of the world but so much of it is being destroyed before our eyes.
Species are being threatened by habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, climate change,
over-exploitation, pollution and wildlife disease." Prof. R. Kingsford, University of New South Wales

1.Negative Impact
The negative impacts on wildlife can vary enormously depending on species, life-cycle and
habitats. The negative effects of wildlife tourism and human activities on wildlife can be
grouped into three main categories:

       a. Disruption of activity—Disruption of activity includes spotlighting, noisy activities,
       and the approach of tourists towards animals that are foraging or caring for their young.
       When a human disrupts the activities of wildlife, the response will be either avoidance
       behaviour where the wildlife will flee or hide, a lack of response to humans to the point
       of seeming to ignore their presence, or attraction—usually in expectation of food.

        b. Direct killing or injury—Death or injury can occur as the result of unintentional
       events such as road accidents, or from intentional acts of hunting, fishing and collecting.
       These require careful regulation formulated under advice from wildlife ecologists
       familiar with the practices and the animals in question. The unintentional trampling of
       wildlife, deliberate killing for safety reasons, the use of insecticides for tourist comfort,
       and the burning of forest for firebreaks can also directly cause wildlife mortality.

       c. Habitat Alteration—This occurs when land is modified to make room for the
       infrastructure needed for tourism. Changes to habitat also occur from off-road vehicle
       damage and humans trampling on vegetation. Intentional and accidental provision of
       food can also be seen as a form of habitat alteration. Some hand-fed animals may
       become aggressive and a danger to tourists.




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                                  WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA




            Figure 1: Threatened species listed since 2000, IU


2. Dingoes On Fraser Island
According to observation in areas with low human use, the dingoes had more natural behaviour
with frequent amounts of time spent lying down and eating natural food sources. This is in
comparison to highly populated areas that reflected a greater tendency for the dingoes to
search for food, make quick movements and act submissively when approached by a human.
On average, dingoes spent about 13% less time lying down, 10% more time standing still, and
8% more time moving while in the high use areas. These results indicate that the natural
behaviour of dingoes is being disrupted through exposure to human food sources and
disturbances relating to human activity.

3. Dolphin Tourism
Focusing on how pods of dolphins are affected by exposure to humans and behavioural
changes. Based on research collected from the Byron Bay area changes in the behaviour and
acoustics of dolphins in response to the presence of different types of vessels, the actions of
the vessels and their proximity, are clear. These abnormal behaviours were referred to as
‘symptomatic disturbance behaviours’ and altered the frequency of whistles from the dolphins
and agitated the pod structure. Exposed to humans Dolphin-based tourism may be land- or
vessel-based and involve dolphin watching, wild-feeding, swim-programs and captive programs.
(International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) 1997).




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                                         WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA




Figure 2: Percentage of vessel usage within Byron Bay and pod locations



RECOMENDATIONS

In order to build a future for wildlife tourism there are multiple steps that can be taken:

1.Monitoring
     Create a user-friendly guide to wildlife monitoring for Australian conditions and
       specifically relating to the tourism industry.
       Keep note of unnatural food sources and wildlife populations that may be affected.
     Continue with conservation, animal welfare and ethical arguments, further research.
     Decision making about whether a wildlife tourism venture should proceed if the
       damage level is to high
2. Educate
     Use this opportunity to educate the public about safety, not only themselves but the
       wildlife as well. Clearly define the importance of conservation and the consequences of
       exploitation.
     Highlight the dangers of feeding wildlife, both handouts and indirectly by not storing
       food and garbage appropriately.

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                                WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA




3. Support
     Enforce conservation and protection of animals even in remote areas.
     Remove unnatural food sources
     Improvement of guidelines including tourist-free zones for and no-approach times in
       core habitat areas




Figure 3: Management of wildlife example.

CONCLUSION
From the research provided based on dingo packs on Fraser island, it is evident that exposing
wildlife to human society Is having detrimental effects on the nature of habitation. These areas
will face aggressive and destructive behaviour from dingoes unless the necessary actions are
put in place. This will have a devastating effect on the tourism industry as Australia is widely
renowned for its wildlife and eco tourism.

The beaches of Australia attract tourists from all around the world for dolphin swims and whale
watching. With the increase in boats traveling within the natural migratory paths and feeding
grounds of sea life that the tourism industry depends upon, the areas that dolphins reside may
shift completely destroying a majority water based wildlife tourism

With an overall evaluation of changes in habitats and symptomatic disturbance behaviour it is
evident that a major cause is the exposure to humans that the wildlife tourism industry is
permitting. Wild life tourism being a major source of income for the government conservations,
and wildlife organization needs to be improved in a way that will allow a sustainable industry
without damaging the delicate biosphere. The tactics that will bring Australia away from a high
extinction rate and towards a healthy environment are monitoring, educating and supporting
the development of the wild life tourism industry. Australia must continue to conserve the
valuable resource that their wild life provides.

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                                 WILDLIFE TOURISM IN AUSTRALIA



REFERENCES


http://www.dantei.org/alt_resource.html#Sustainable_Tourism:_

Fulton, G. R. (2002). "The Negative Effects of Wildlife Tourism on Wildlife: A review." Pacific
Conservation Biology 8(1): 67.

Burns, G. L. Howard, P. J. (2000) “When wildlife tourism goes wrong: a case study of
stakeholder and management issues regarding Dingoes on Fraser Island, Australia”

Higginbottom, Karen (2004) “WILDLIFE TOURISM: impacts, management and planning”


LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1: Threatened species listed since 2000, IU

Figure 2: Percentage of vessel usage within Byron Bay and pod locations

Figure 3: Management of wildlife example.




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