Introduction: wildlife tourism management and phenomena: a web of complex conceptual, theoretical and practical issues

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Borges de Lima, I & Green, RJ 2017, 'Introduction: wildlife tourism management and phenomena: a web of complex conceptual, theoretical and practical issues', in I Borges de Lima & RJ Green (eds), Wildlife tourism, environmental learning and ethical encounters: ecological and conservation aspects, Springer, Switzerland, pp. 1-17. ISBN: 9783319555737

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This introductory chapter highlights the major conceptual and practical issues regarding wildlife tourism worldwide. A series of events have brought concerns that the status and conditions of wild animals in the tourism needs further critical discussion, with current study cases being in the spotlight for analysis. There is a web of complexities permeating the field of wildlife tourism in terms of planning and management, not to mention the ethical issues. The current state of wildlife tourism draws attention to the need of in-depth reflections and insights on the use of animals as attractions as well as the needs and attitudes of tourism personnel and visitors. A change in perception of the natural world on the whole is needed, from a fully utilitarian view to a more compassionate one. The Earth is not home only for humans, so we need to break away from a predominantly anthropocentric view in our society. Indeed, within these epistemological and philosophical frames, ‘ecological’ and ‘conservation’ aspects have been regarded as fundamental for bringing a certain consensus to the equation on a morally acceptable human-nature relation for the 21st Century. This introductory chapter begins by presenting conceptual and disciplinary approaches to environmental social sciences, as well as human and political ecology, pertinent to this volume. It then presents some of the polemic cases involving wildlife and visitors, such as Cecil the lion, the tigers in the Thai Buddhist Temple, and, the killing of gorilla Harambe. The chapter concludes by presenting a summary of each chapter providing unique and original content to making this volume an exciting reading experience to update the readers' knowledge and understanding of the current state of wildlife tourism and issues facing it, as part of the bigger picture of our practical and ethical viewpoints of humans and the rest of nature on our planet.