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      A review of wildlife ecotourism in Manaus, Brazil

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      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          The Amazon’s ability to draw tourists is thought to be strongly associated with the opportunity to have sight of and interact with iconic wild animals. Tourism leaders are calling for the private and public sectors to develop wildlife focused ecotourism in this region. However, specific information regarding current practice and their impact on wildlife is lacking. Although wildlife ecotourism here remains in its relative infancy, our study demonstrates that a wide variety of wildlife-focused activities are already being promoted and provided to tourists who visit the city of Manaus in Brazil. Issues of potential wildlife conservation and animal welfare concern include wildlife-baiting, swim-with free-ranging pink river dolphin activity, the use of captive wild animals as photo props and the sale of wildlife body parts as souvenirs. We found that tour guides actively promoted these activities on 77% of excursions attended, which involved a range of different wild animals, representing at least 10 different species from three different taxonomic classes. From a legal perspective, despite the potential risks imposed to wildlife and tourist well-being, there are still no specific laws regulating feeding, touching and swimming with pink river dolphins in Brazil. However, the illegality of advertising and providing direct physical contact wildlife ‘photo prop’ tourism is demonstrated by enforcement action taken by wildlife authorities during our study. We suggest that tourist focused human behavior change initiatives should become a critical component of a wider holistic approach to effectively balance wildlife protection goals and any expansion of wildlife ecotourism in the Amazon.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Feeding wildlife as a tourism attraction: a review of issues and impacts

           Mark B. Orams (2002)
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            Animal–visitor interactions in the modern zoo: Conflicts and interventions

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              The Customer Isn't Always Right—Conservation and Animal Welfare Implications of the Increasing Demand for Wildlife Tourism

              Tourism accounts for 9% of global GDP and comprises 1.1 billion tourist arrivals per annum. Visits to wildlife tourist attractions (WTAs) may account for 20–40% of global tourism, but no studies have audited the diversity of WTAs and their impacts on the conservation status and welfare of subject animals. We scored these impacts for 24 types of WTA, visited by 3.6–6 million tourists per year, and compared our scores to tourists’ feedback on TripAdvisor. Six WTA types (impacting 1,500–13,000 individual animals) had net positive conservation/welfare impacts, but 14 (120,000–340,000 individuals) had negative conservation impacts and 18 (230,000–550,000 individuals) had negative welfare impacts. Despite these figures only 7.8% of all tourist feedback on these WTAs was negative due to conservation/welfare concerns. We demonstrate that WTAs have substantial negative effects that are unrecognised by the majority of tourists, suggesting an urgent need for tourist education and regulation of WTAs worldwide.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                October 03 2017
                October 03 2017
                : 22
                : 1-16
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.22.17369
                © 2017

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