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Unpacking Wildlife Tourism: Perspectives from Educational Research

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Title: Unpacking Wildlife Tourism: Perspectives from Educational Research


1
Unpacking Wildlife Tourism Perspectives from
Educational Research
  • Constance Russell
  • Faculty of Education,
  • Lakehead University
  • crussell_at_lakeheadu.ca

2
  • The overarching problem environmental
    degradation and exploitation of animals and
    humans
  • One solution education

3
Critical Environmental Education
  • analyzing the hidden curriculum
  • disrupting anthropocentrism
  • connecting environmental and social justice
    issues
  • addressing experiential under-nutrition and
    facilitating human experiences of
    more-than-human world

4
Problematizing Experience
  • Experience
  • ?
  • Knowledge
  • ?
  • Caring
  • ?
  • Action

5
Ecotourism
  • Contested definitions
  • Rationales
  • Economic
  • Educational
  • Continua eco versus mass
  • shallow versus deep
  • passive versus active
  • consumptive versus low consumptive versus
    non-consumptive

6
  • Dependency on natural systems
  • Duration of stay in natural areas
  • Level of infrastructure needed
  • Group size
  • Physical challenge and accessibility
  • Amount of economic leakage
  • Local involvement
  • Impacts on natural environment and wildlife
  • Level of interaction with nature and locals
  • Emphasis on learning
  • Opportunity for tourists to become actively
    involved

7
Problems with Ecotourism
  • Economic leakage
  • Disruption of human communities
  • Disruption of natural communities (e.g.,
    introduction of non-native species, increase in
    toxic pollutants,habitat destruction, disturbance
    of wildlife, including changes in feeding,
    reproductive and land-use behaviours,
    habituation, disease)
  • Little evidence of educational outcomes

8
Why the Contradiction?
  • Ecotourism as industry
  • Social contexts
  • Social construction of nature and other animals

9
Research on orangutan-focused tourism (fieldwork
in 1992)
  • participant observation
  • guided conversations
  • follow-up questionnaire
  • collection of tourist photographs

10
Pristine Nature
11
Child
12
Photographic Collectible
13
Whalewatching Research (fieldwork in 1996)
  • Pre-, post-, and follow-up questionnaires
  • Interviews
  • Participant observation

14
Superwhale
15
Spectacle
16
Intimates
17
Primate-Focused Tourism Internet Discourse
Analysis (2006)
  • English-language
  • Search words
  • e.g., monkey tours 2,700,000 hits
  • 658 companies
  • 62 primate species targetted, with great apes
    most popular

18
Exotic Primates and Peoples
19
Rarity/Abundance
20
Like Humans
21
Harmless
22
Photographic Opportunities
23
Touch
24
Recent Research Project African Safaris
  • Case Studies
  • South Africa National Parks and Game Reserves
    Royal Natal, Mkhuze, Cape Vidal, Addo Elephant
  • Botswana National Parks Central Kalahari,
    Moremi, Okavango Delta, Chobe
  • Kenya National Parks Nairobi, Amboseli

25
Methodology
  • Critical, feminist, postcolonial
  • value-laden and political nature of research
  • research as activism
  • situated knowledges and partial perspectives
  • illuminating complexities
  • attention to particulars

26
Methodology
  • Qualitative
  • Case Studies
  • descriptive (rich accounts)
  • interpretive (analyzing data in light of social
    construction theory)
  • evaluative (determining educational outcomes and
    identifying educational potential and challenges)

27
Methods
  • Case studies in Botswana (Kalahari/Okavango
    Delta) and Kenya (Amboseli)
  • Participant observation
  • Interviews
  • Collection of documents (e.g., brochures,
    postcards)

28
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31
Impacting Animals?
32
Uncharismatic Primates
33
Predators
34
Broadening the Scope
35
Local Peoples
36
Learning about Research
37
Contact
38
Desire and Complicity
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