Wildlife Research relevant to tourism, conservation and animal welfare

There has been a lot of research on wildlife tourism and its impacts (both positive and negative) in recent years. See:


There is also much yet to learn: for instance:

  • what are the major ecological needs of both the species sought by tourists and the lesser-known ones that share their habitats?
  • how can tourism operators, governments and others best prevent or mitigate threats to wildlife and their habitats?
  • how much disturbance is caused by different kinds of human-wildlife interaction, and can it  lead to serious behavioural changes or population decline?
  • what kinds of wildlife experience lead to enhanced support for conservation by visitors? 
  • how can wildlife tourism best support local  economies while also supporting conservation?
  • how much stress is caused to individual animals by different kinds of human-wildlife interaction? 
  • what conditions need to be met to maximise the physical and mental health of captive animals?

Highly emotional claims are often made without much evidence one way or the other, leading to unfortunate conflicts between people who could be pulling together for solutions. 

There is also  great  potential for those involved in wildlife tourism to incorporate conservation and research into their activities, whether or not this involves participation by tourists in such activities, and whether tour operators are conducting their own research or assisting academic researchers to do so. Please visit our Australian Wildlife Research Network

Also see Wildlife Tourism Australia Blog entries on tourism and conservation:

Positive effects of wildlife tourism on wildlife



Negative effects of wildlife tourism on wildlife

These can involve

  • disturbance of wildlife behaviour, potentially causing animals to leave favoured feeding or resting arreas
  • disturbance of habitat (e.g.trampling of vegetation)
  • inappropriate feeding of wildlife, causing populations of some species to expand to the detriment of others, or seriously altering behaviour
  • killing of animals, either deliberate deliberate (eliminating snakes at holiday cabins, hunting) or accidental (vehicle collisions, spread of disease)

We need to investigate the negative effects, not to curtail the expansion of wildlife tourism, but to enable it to develop sustainably and support the conservation of biodiversity.

Download the Sustainable Tourism CRC report on negative effects of wildlife tourism on wildlife Negative_Effects_of_Wildlife_Tourism_on_Wildlife

Also see our research literature page (many relevant articles)