The interaction between people and animals fascinates human beings. Wildlife tourism entails attraction at fixed tours, sites, and experiences present and associated with tourism accommodation. Tourism shape, serve and manage the consequences of business, holiday, and other travel for both the private and public sectors (Buckley, 2012). The tourism industry plays a significant role in economic growth and seeks to ensure sustainability and benefits maximization (Ballantyne, Packer, & Sutherland, 2011). Tourism has both positive and negative impacts on wildlife, where the adverse effects need to get managed. This essay discusses the impacts of tourism on wildlife about the difficulties of measuring such effects and the application of the precautionary measures to their management.
Wildlife tourism is environmentally friendly based on the expectation that those who visit tourist sites to see wildlife remain concerned with animal welfare conservation (Hammerschlag et al., 2012). With the proper supervision of wildlife interactions, financial contribution, tourist satisfaction, and economic growth get assured (Telfer & Sharpley, 2015). However, tourism potentially has several adverse impacts on the animal populations, welfare, and behavior. These negative effects need to be understood, identified, and mitigative approaches were taken to control them.
Adverse Impacts of Tourism on Wildlife
Adverse impacts of tourism on wildlife range from direct injury and death, habitat alteration, and disruption activity including food provision. The approach of handling animals that cannot fit the standards established by humans creates a problem since the animals do not enjoy the atmosphere of the habitat (Murphy, 2013). The aspect of habitat changes affects animals life, and this leads to their death. The lack of animals in the tourist sites creates challenges to people and the economy since visitors cannot tour the site. To see these effects on a broader picture, different aspect with terrestrial and marine environments examples are used in this essay (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, & Tiffin, 2013).
The natural behaviors of wildlife are changed by what tourists do when they feed the wild animals, and this adversely affects the future of the animals. The largest issue created by tourism on wildlife comes when the wild animals get used to staying around humans Cinner, 2007). The visitors tour the wildlife sites whereby for most of the times they spent feeding the animals. The animals suffer from this feeding since some of it is bad (Douglas & Alie, 2014). The way tourists handle animals is different from the manner they get dealt with by the game park wardens, and this leaves a challenge of how to manage the animals once the tourists have left the sites (Mason, 2015). For example, in the terrestrial environments, animals are used to a programmed feeding procedure. However, during the summer holidays when tourists visit the wildlife, they give them a lot of food where some of it does not fit their digestion.
Also, tourism events lead to wildlife injury or death by visitors cars. Mostly, animals at parking areas used to getting food at the tourist's vehicles will go close to the cars where they get hit (Cong et al., 2014). This is a negative impact of tourism on wildlife since the animals die and leave the sites with insufficient wildlife for tourist attraction (Mason, 2015). The death and injury of animals by tourist cars occurs only to animals living in terrestrial lands. On the other side, the car petrol and diesel polluted by the vehicles to the ground gets carried away by water to the marine zones (Shaughnessy, Nicholls, & Briggs, 2008). The marine animals get affected in that they cannot breathe well and hence their death. Tourism is important and beneficial, but if not properly monitored, these side effects happen to the animals.
Tourist activities not only kill wildlife accidentally but also interfere with animals habitats. Habitat interference disturbs and disrupts animals behavior, and healthy life freedom while at the site (Steven, Pickering, & Castley, 2011). To accommodate and entice tourists, the wildlife set must have driving roads and walking paths, and this is dreadful for the animals life. The habitat of the animals gets changed since when cars pass by and tourists walk through the roads, the wildlife move far away to stay alone (Martin & Reale, 2008). Surprisingly, failure to construct walk paths and roads, the visitors move to the animals as much as possible. This creates a dilemma. For example, the interaction of animals living in terrestrial environments with tourists poses a threat since either of them can harm and injure the other. This is a huge impact of tourism activities on wildlife.
Challenge of Measuring Effects of Tourism on Wildlife
On the other hand, there is a problem of measuring the entire effects of the tourism industry on wildlife. Human presence in the wildlife sites is one method of measuring the effectiveness of the industry (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, & Tiffin, 2013). However, this is not the only method since animals always have a closer interaction with people when they want to get food. To deal with this challenge, the precautionary principle is useful whose responsibility is protecting the tourists from exposure to harm where scientific studies identify a potential risk (Higham & Shelton, 2011). The precautionary principle requires humans to show carefulness when staring to wildlife tourism. The policy requires visitors to drive carefully to avoid unnecessary injuries and killings on the terrestrial animals.
Wildlife tourism needs a long lasting solution for sustainable conservation and development of tourism industry (Gladstone, Curley, & Shokri, 2013). Working with wild animals requires taking precautionary measures to protect both the people and the animals (Spenceley, 2012). The challenge with the principle of prevention is that individuals who visit the wildlife sites in a given summer or holiday event may not be the ones to visit the same location in future (Zhong et al., 2011). The management of Al tourism has given wisdom evolution to ensure that visitors will not keep repeating a similar mistake over and over again.
In conclusion, the positive impacts of tourism on wildlife are lesser than the adverse ones. However, this does not make tourism industry less significant in other fields. Tourism leads to economic growth and profit maximization to both the government and the private sector. Another advantage of the tourism industry is the provision of education that equips tourists with skills and knowledge of maintaining wildlife welfare. Profit maximization and economic goals form the main factors behind the progress of tourism activities and industry in an economy. The fee charged to cater for entry and tour guide pays to animals and their habitat conservation. The money collected revolves between the game parks and the government of the country. Therefore, the government and the private sectors should balance the benefits and drawbacks of wildlife tourism to ensure a mutual benefit between the animals and the humans.
Ballantyne, R., Packer, J., & Sutherland, L. A. (2011). Visitors’ memories of wildlife tourism: Implications for the design of powerful interpretive experiences. Tourism Management, 32(4), 770-779.
Buckley, R. (2012). Sustainable Tourism: Research and reality. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(2), 528-546.
Carlisle, S., Kunc, M., Jones, E., & Tiffin, S. (2013). Supporting innovation for tourism development through multi-stakeholder approaches: Experiences from Africa. Tourism Management, 35, 59-69.
Cinner, Aswani. (2007). Integration customary management into marine conservation. Biological Conservation no.140 pp. 201-216
Cong, L., Wu, B., Morrison, A. M., Shu, H., & Wang, M. (2014). Analysis of wildlife tourism experiences with endangered species: An exploratory study of encounters with giant pandas in Chengdu, China. Tourism Management, 40, 300-310.
Douglas, L. R., & Alie, K. (2014). High-value natural resources: Linking wildlife conservation to international conflict, insecurity, and development concerns. Biological Conservation, 171, 270-277.
Gladstone, W., Curley, B., & Shokri, M. R. (2013). Environmental impacts of tourism in the Gulf and the Red Sea. Marine pollution bulletin, 72(2), 375-388.
Ham, S. H., & Weiler, B. (2012). Interpretation as the centerpiece of sustainable wildlife tourism. Sustainable Tourism. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 35-44.
Hammerschlag, N., Gallagher, A. J., Wester, J., Luo, J., & Ault, J. S. (2012). Don't bite the hand that feeds: Assessing ecological impacts of provisioning ecotourism on an apex marine predator. Functional Ecology, 26(3), 567-576.
Higham, J. E. S., & Shelton, E. J. (2011). Tourism and wildlife habituation: Reduced population fitness or cessation of impact?. Tourism Management, 32(6), 1290-1298.
Hughes, K. (2013). Measuring the impact of viewing wildlife: do positive intentions equate to long-term changes in conservation behavior?. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21(1), 42-59.
Martin J.G.A. Reale D. 2008: Animal temperament and human disturbance: Implications for the response of wildlife to tourism Behavioural Processes 77 pp.66–72
Mason, P. (2015). Tourism impacts, planning, and management. Routledge.
Murphy, P. E. (2013). Tourism: A community approach (RLE Tourism). Routledge.
Newsome, D., Moore, S. A., & Dowling, R. K. (2012). Natural area Tourism: Ecology, Impacts, and Management (Vol. 58). Channel View Publications.
Shaughnessy, Nicholls, & Briggs. (2008): Do boats affect fur seals at Montague Island, new south wales? Tourism in Marine Environments vol. Five no 1 15-27
Spenceley, A. (2012). Responsible Tourism: Critical issues for conservation and development. Routledge.
Steven, R., Pickering, C., & Castley, J. G. (2011). A review of the impacts of nature-based recreation on birds. Journal of environmental management, 92(10), 2287-2294.
Telfer, D. J., & Sharpley, R. (2015). Tourism and development in the developing world. Routledge.
Zhong, L., Deng, J., Song, Z., & Ding, P. (2011). Research on environmental impacts of tourism in China: Progress and prospect. Journal of environmental management, 92(11), 2972-2983.