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Is ecotourism bad?

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Arizona Docent, 20 Oct 2015.

  1. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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  2. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    I agree, AD. There may be lots of cases were ecotourism may have side-effects (like the human shield behaviour described) but that doesn't necessarily mean they are more prone to predation because they are losing their predator avoidance skills, simply that they recognise a safe zone. When the humans aren't there they will adopt normal defensive behaviours.

    However, you can't use that one example to suggest all ecotourism is bad. I haven't read the original article, but I suspect this journalists write-up of the article has simplified their views greatly.

    :p

    Hix
     
  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    actually I just found an uncorrected proof of the article here - Predation Study - but not sure how long it will be available for.
     
  5. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the link Chlidonias. I do not have the patience to read the whole thing, but I read the first part and I find some serious flaws. The part I read said that habituation to people in nature reserves causes wild animals to actually go through the process of domestication. Yet the examples they cite are of animals that are bred in captivity for domestic traits (NOT animals that have remained in the wild).

    They also highlight urbanization (that is the part where I left). Of course animals in cities will behave differently, but is that necessarily bad? I mean we are not going to move people out of cities so that the animals can revert to their "most natural" behaviors. So if they need to adapt their behavior to survive well in the new urban environment, and it is clear they and their offspring will always be in an urban environment, why is it bad that they are learning new survival skills? And what in the world do squirrels in suburban neighborhoods have to do with ecotourism anyway?
     
  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I thought you would have been interested in reading it, seeing you were the one who started the thread. You can't criticise something if you can't even be bothered to read it to see what it says.
     
  7. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Agreed on it being too much of a generalization. Ecotourism can cause problems, but that's not the case all the time. Have you seen "Milking the Rhino"? It's a good movie. It's more about how ecotourism affects local people, but conservation comes up too. I bet you'd like it.
     
  8. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    Fair enough. Assuming you have read it, I would be interested in your take on it.
     
  9. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks to the Chlidonias challenge, I have now read the entire article (the main article, skipping the sidebars). The short summary article I originally linked makes it sound as if this is a study that has shown results. The truth is the authors do not claim to have done their own study and in fact are not even making any definitive claims. It would be more correct to say they are posing a question. They are asking does ecotourism negatively affect prey response to predators, they are not stating conclusively that it does. They site other studies that support their notion that this idea is worthy of testing and investigation. The closing sentence of the article gives a good idea of the overall intent. "Our review highlights numerous unanswered questions (see Outstanding Questions) that could be tested with the ultimate goal of better understanding whether and how habituation to human presence creates deleterious effects to wildlife."
     
  10. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    that's about the gist of it. The article in your original post almost misunderstood the entire paper, instead picking out the bits that the author presumably thought they understood and turned it into "eco-tourism is bad". Or perhaps their editor re-wrote it before publicaation - you never can tell with journalists.

    The paper is actually, as you say, simply posing the question "does eco-tourism make animals less wary to their natural predators". It doesn't answer the question and I think their process is flawed. In essence they are equating domestication at one end of the scale through a grade of city-dwelling animals, to human-habituated wild animals at the other end. However wild animals subject to various forms of eco-tourism are still contending with natural predators anyway, whereas the other ends of the scale are not. The paper makes the proposition that the animals will be more easily killed by predators when the humans are absent, which seems very unlikely.
     
  11. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    So I wasn't too far off the mark. The journo didn't simplify their views, they misrepresented them.

    :p

    Hix