When we choose to get close to wildlife we have to decide on the where, the when and the how. We need to be armed with information on different aspects of a proposed encounter, which can address a species’ seasonal presence in an area, the ways we can approach the animals and what to consider when we are getting face to face. However, it may also involve general biological information on the species as well as the threats it has to deal with in its natural habitat. Environmental education and interpretation are vital components of wildlife watching operations and are believed to be effective management tools. It is not only supposed to be an exciting experience to encounter animals in the wild, but ideally a teachable and memorable activity, with interpretation increasing the overall enjoyment of tourists and resulting in their pro-environmental behaviour.
Part of education within wildlife-watching tourism is the distribution of guidelines and codes of conduct on how to approach individuals or groups of animals properly. Give them space so they can decide whether they want to interact!
Wildlife tourism research is a professional discipline of nature-based tourism and investigates current issues from a scientific perspective. Findings are reported at topical conferences (e.g. the Coastal Marine Tourism Congress) but should also be communicated with the wider public and potential participants in order to make an impact.
This website platform seeks to link educational content with the latest research outcomes to help this information reach wildlife tourism novices with limited experience, as well as to communicate with the experts who have already encountered various types of wildlife in their travel careers.