Disturbing Skippy on Tour: Does It Really Matter? Ecological and Ethical Implications of Disturbing Wildlife

  • Ronda J. GreenEmail author
Part of the Geoheritage, Geoparks and Geotourism book series (GGAG)


“What does it matter if a few Skippies are disturbed?” was the rhetorical retort of one tourism operator to the idea of minimal-impact wildlife-viewing. The most reasonable answer to this would probably be “maybe not at all or maybe quite a lot, depending on the situation”. Wildlife tourism, even with some unavoidable impacts, is often better than alternative land uses, but should be conducted responsibly, with a view to minimising impact on animal welfare and conservation as well as with consideration of other tour operations and local residents. This chapter explores some of the ethical considerations of disturbance of wildlife on tour, including driving animals away from feeding, breeding or resting areas, feeding of wildlife and stress related to close approach or other activity, in both wild and captive situations. Most of what we know so far involves the effects on individual animals. Further research is needed on how much the disturbances influence population numbers if we are to understand conservation implications, which can also be important for the satisfaction of human residents and visitors who want to continue watching wildlife. More research is also needed on animal welfare aspects such as activities that may cause serious levels of stress and how to determine same.


Ethics Impacts Animal welfare Population declines 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Wildlife Tourism Australia Inc.RathdowneyAustralia

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