A pathway to minimal impact wildlife viewing?
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As the agency responsible for managing human interactions with wildlife in Western Australia, the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) is faced with a complex issue. Wildlife is a significant component of the nature based dominated tourism market in Western Australia. Tourists appear to expect naturalistic, easily accessible, close encounters with appealing wildlife, preferably in areas resembling a wilderness. Meeting this demand may result in serious risks to both tourists and the wildlife they seek to interact with. The legally driven conservation mandate of CALM operates to minimise impacts on natural areas and wildlife. Wildlife tourism demand is focussed on opportunities for accessible experiences preferably with close interaction and rare species. Somehow, a balance must be struck between the legal and ethical requirement to minimise risk to wildlife and human welfare while maximising tourism market opportunities. This paper presents a study of one way in which CALM has acted to ensure access to wildlife while attempting to minimise negative impacts.
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