Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 115–129 | Cite as

Volunteer tourism, endangered species conservation, and aboriginal culture shock

  • Tzu-Ming LiuEmail author
  • Keng-Kun Leung
Original Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biodiversity appreciation and engagement


We investigated the impact of ecological conservation volunteer tourism on aboriginal culture and ecological conservation. We present herein a case of green sea turtle conservation volunteer tourism at Orchid Island, Taiwan. We used field observations and in-depth interviews with semi-structured and open-ended questionnaires to collect data. Data and method triangulation approaches were adopted to ensure the reliability of the results. We presented that cultural changes resulting from volunteer tourism threaten the survival of endangered species. In addition, the failure of the market incentive mechanism and dysfunctional internal communication within the conservation organization, two issues that have not been reported in previous studies, can guide future studies on volunteer tourism and ecological conservation. We also provided practical recommendations for Orchid Island green sea turtle conservation, i.e., the combination of traditional and modern ecological methods, and the consideration of local norms and taboos during organizational planning. The planning and implementing of conservation activity that respects local customs fosters the support of the local people. Finally, implementing the locals’ initial ecological conservation mechanisms can prevent the conservation activity from causing an undesirable threat to the conserved species.


Failure of the market incentive Triangulation approach Green sea turtle conservation Tao Cultural taboos 



Tzu-Ming Liu gratefully acknowledges financial support from Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, R.O.C. under Grant no. NSC 101-2621-M-002-032, NSC 102-2621-M-002-027, and MOST 103-2621-M-002-019.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Marine AffairsNational Sun Yat-sen UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan
  2. 2.National TaiChung UniversityTaiChungTaiwan

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