Archive for the ‘Can wildlife tourism assist biodiversity conservation’ Category


Wildlife Corridors workshop: report

Wildlife Corridors workshop: report

A workshop run by Scenic Rim Wildlife was held at Tamborine Mountain, Southeast Queensland, on Saturday 2nd April 2011

You can read details at the Araucaria blog and they will shortly appear also on the Scenic Rim Wildlife website (see also the corridors discussion on the Scenic Rim Wildlife Facebook)

Wildlife corridors are essential considerations whenever there is large scales tourism development planned.  Big resorts and new roads can easily disrupt movements of many animals by affecting habitat continuity (not so obvious for some strong-flying birds but very much so for smaller ones and some of our understorey and arboreal mammals, lizards and other creatures). The roads – especially those allowing fast travel through wildlife habitat – can result in high levels of mortality, as well as imhibiting movement of some animals. There are many more faunal overpasses in Europe and underpasses in Amercia than we see here in Australia, although we have a few good examples, as pointed out by the speakers.

The kind of green infrastructure schemes discussed by Jaap Vogel are inspiring, and it would be good to see a progression towards a sort of ‘network of networks’ throughout Ausralia.

Wildlife tourism operations can contribute to wildlife corridors, as we were told by Geoff Warne from  WTA member Cedar Creek Estates Winery and Glow Worms. I visited their corridor just before the workshop (and have done so many times in the past) – it is quite remarkable how much growth they have achieved in just 11 years, linking with neighbouring landowners and the local national parks.

Scenic Rim Wildlife is the Scenic Rim (southeast Queensland) branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland


Help Wildlife Warriors save flood-affected wildlife

turtle injured in floodMessage from Wildlife Warriors

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit are experiencing a dramatic increase in wildlife injuries and orphans due to the devastating floods. We need your help!

Our Queensland wildlife are feeling the pain with the majority of their habitats inundated with flood waters. As the clean up continues around South East Queensland, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and Australia Zoo Rescue Unit are seeing an influx of flood affected victims.

If you would like to help, please make your tax deductible donation to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital Flood Appeal please visit www.wildlifewarriors.org.au

Australia Zoo wildlife Hospital patient

Help whale sharks while experiencing exciting dives

Photograph a whale shark and help researchers understand and protect these mighty fish

Read the recent Wildlife Extra article about an award-winning project to photograph and log the movements of the world’s largest fish. Visit the Ecocean whale shark site for more details of how you can be involved.

I’m told by those who have been diving with whale sharks that it really is awe-inspiring. They resemble whales not only in being so big but in eating krill, so they are both harmless and enormous. Dive operators advise the angle and distance of approach so as not to disturb the shark or put yourself in accidental slapping range of the massive tail.

In parts of  Asia they are still hunted for their huge fins and their flesh, which is reportedly not very good quality compared to other fish. The Wildlife Extra article suggests some localities could consider diving ecotours rather than fishing as an income source.

There is still a lot we don;t know about their ecology and behaviour, so if you do find yourself  diving with these spectacular fish, learn how your photos could be valuable for the database.

And while you’re at it, if you happen to be diving at Ningaloo, Western Australia (one of the best places for diving with whale sharks), especially if doing so regularly, you may be able to add to important monitoring of coral bleaching.


Cyclone-affected wildlife need help

Cyclone Yasi has affected cassowaries and other threatened wildlife species: and you can help them

cassowary

This cassowary at the David Fleay Wildlife Park will be ok - but maybe not some of her cousins near Cairns

Many areas of forest, especially those that are fragmented, not buffered by large areas of forest surrounding them, have been severely damaged. The forests of Mission Beach, famous for its cassowaries, in particular suffered much damage.

Wildlife Tourism Australia members and Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland members have reported seeing cassowries, including chicks, wandering around affected areas since the cyclone, which is great. However, once they finish eating the fruits that fell to the ground during the heavy winds and rain, they will have very little food.

Those who lived through Cyclone Larry a few years ago recall that many cassowaries were hit by cars or attacked by dogs when wandering out of damaged forests in search of food.

So this may be a good time to actually see cassowaries, but also a very urgent time to come to their aid. Find out how by visiting the Save the Cassowary News page

Mahogany glider

Mahogany glider at the David Fleay Wildlife Park

The Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland reports that it is too soon to say how much of the endangered mahogany glider’s very restricted habitat has been lost, or how drastic the impact might have been on them.

This beautiful little animal has only been discovered in recent decades. Because its range is so restricted and its habitat (tall wet eucalypt forest) was disappearing so fast already, a few were captured some years ago and taken to the David Fleay Wildlife Park, where they have been breeding very successfully. Let’s hope though that these captive individuals are not now the only members of their species surviving.  And as WPSQ points out, although we can fairly easily provide supplementary feeding to ground-feeding animals like the cassowaries to help them through a rough spot, it is difficult to do the same for animals that live high up in tall trees.

Other plants and animals – e.g. epiphytic ferns and orchids, and birds that eat fruit from rainforest canopies, will probably be hit fairly hard.

For travelers to Far North Queensland

There is still beautiful forest, animals to see and many activities to engage in, and Cairns itself was not badly damaged, nor were a number of other areas in the district, so if you are planning a trip to the far north of Queensland, don’t cancel (unless we hear warnings of another cyclone on the way).  You can still have a great trip, and maybe even get a chance to pitch in and help with some of the aftermath in the worst-affected areas: that would certainly add to your experience and understanding of the region as well as being something of value you can contribute. If driving yourself, please take special care along the roads in case cassowaries and other creatures come suddenly from the forest seeking food or shelter elsewhere.


Captive-breeding of critically endangered frog

Tinker frog successfully bred – a world first at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

The day-frog or torrent frog Taudactylus diurnus used to be seen sitting in streams  in the daytime in the forested hills adjoining Brisbane’s western and northern suburbs, enabling rangers to point out frogs to visitors in daylight hours.

Now it is no more, not having been seen since the late 1970′s, and  declared extinct in the 1990′s.

The closely-related tinker frog (T. liem) from the north looks as though it may be fated to go the same way, but Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has recently succeeded in breeding this critically-endangered species. Read about this and also  their attempts to assist the critically-endangered Coxen’s figparrot in the latest Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary News


New hope for Tassie Devils?

Tasmanian Devils breeding well in Victorian Wildlife Park

While Tasmanian Devils have been declining alarmingly in the wild, they are breeding very nicely  at Healesville Sanctuary

Read the Sydney Morning Herald report


Conservation in Zoos: neglecting the ‘ugly’?

Zoos and conservation of the ‘ugly’

There’s an interesting article on this theme in a recent Scientific American, including some tips on how to get people interested in the ‘not-so-charismatic’ wildlife


German Alumni Summer School on biodiversity and tourism

Biodiversity Management and Tourism Development

Ronda Green, 13th December 2010

I’ve just returned from the 2010 German Alumni Summer School , on Biodiversity Management and Tourism Development held over 8 days in Lombok, Indonesia.

It was a great experience, organized by Dr. Jolanta Slowik of the renowned  Göttingen Universty of Germany. Delegates came from various parts of Indonesia, as well as Philippines, Thailand, India, Cambodia, Vietnam,  Costa Rica, Ecuador, USA (TIES chair Dr Kelly Bircker), Australia *myself) and of course Germany.

Talks and workshops occupied several days, and we also visited a traditional Sasak village on the slopes of Mt Rinjani (the second largest active volcano in Indonesia – sleeping peacefully at the moment) and heard how the local people vaue the Natinal Park as an employer of local guides, and a few of us dived in coral watching hawksbill turtles, trumpet fish and much more. I was also taken by a friend of one of the delegates to a foundation created to help local orphans get a decent education, funded by swimming pool, restaurant and live theatre – a great project I hope we’ll hear more of soon, as well as a new project the same person is planning, involving ecotourism and cultural tourism. A surprise at the hotel in Mataram (which was beautiful but could just as well ahve been in Miami, Fiji or anywhere else tropical) was looking out the window and seeing dragon lizards gliding from palm tree to palm tree!

I was delighted to be an invited speaker at this summer school – Dr Slowik had come on one of my wildlife tours run as a 3-day field trip after the International Ecology (Intecol) conference last year, and asked if I would be interested (I think it took less than half a second to decide yes, very much so). My talks were ” A half-century of ecotourism in Australia, with particular reference to wildlife tourism” and “Biodiversity protection through community ecotourism”  -  the first was of my choosing (within the limits of presenting the Australian experience), the second on request. I also led a workshop (again, on request) on “Tourism development and tropical rainforest,” involving identification of impacts and problems of tourism development and possible solutions, initiative for sustainabe tourism development and conservation of biodiversity, integrating biodiversity management and sustainable tourism development, and implementation strategies to travel agencies, tourist industry, education and policy makers. I greatly enjoyed the interaction during this workshop, and heard many interesting stories then and throughout the week.

All in all a great experience, many interesting and charming people,  and lots to think about.


How can wildlife tourism best help wildlife conservation?

Wildlife tourism and wildlife conservation – are they really partners? Could the relationship be enhanced?

Do you think wildlife tourism can make an important contribution to conservation?

Do you think the benefits can outweigh any negative impacts?

Do you have examples of where wildlife tourism businesses, large or small have really accomplished something?

Do you have some ideas that could be applied by large or small businesses?

Are you concerned at some of the impacts of tourism which might outweigh the good that is done?

Do you think that wildlife tourism, even if sometimes having an impact, could be better than alternative land uses?

Pleas send a comment and let us know your ideas on this topic


New research reports on learning experiences in wildlife tourism

The following represents new research reports on the importance of  learning experiences in sustainable wildlife tourism

These references, along with others,  have been added to the bibliography on the WTA resources pages

Ballantyne, R., Packer, J. and Falk, J. (in press). Visitors’ learning for environmental sustainability: testing short- and long-term impacts of wildlife tourism experiences using structural equation modelling. Tourism Management.
Ballantyne, R. and Packer, J. (in press). Using tourism free-choice learning experiences to promote environmentally sustainable behaviour: the role of post-visit ‘action resources’. Environmental Education Research.
Ballantyne, R., Packer, J. and Sutherland, L. (in press) Visitors’ memories of wildlife tourism: Implications for the design of powerful interpretive experiences. Tourism Management.
Packer, J. & Ballantyne, R. (2010) The role of zoos and aquariums in education for a sustainable future. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 127, 25-34.


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