How Tourism Is Good For Wildlife

Posted August 29, 2022 in Engineering Around Travel - Last updated November 9, 2023


It might be hard to believe when I claim that tourism benefits wildlife. Let me help scope the perspective. Today, Earth is dominated by humankind as we continue to expand and try to grow our economies infinitely. With our population and aggressive need for resources, we continue to carve the globe up for exotic goods and required resources. Whether animals are in our way or a resource, they are removed indiscriminately for more significant growth. Some animals are hunted for food to extinction as they may be a cheaper resource than the food markets. Let’s explore this topic more and learn how tourism benefits wildlife.

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How Locals Help Protect Wildlife Because Of Tourism Value

Capitalism is nothing more than a financial model. Human leaders of industry or government ultimately drive the decisions that drive the model’s inner workings. They are optimizing for quick gains with sacrifices to our environment and the animals that live there or are slowing things down to do the right thing to protect it. Some places have found a way to make it work and get even more financial opportunities. These local communities worldwide are now stepping up with full force to protect wild animals that have nearly been made extinct. The list will only grow over the years from elephants, sharks, tigers, and rhinos. More animals will dwindle without local protection.

Protecting these animals is like wartime measures, from compounds, private militias, fences, and more. These are expensive endeavors. Through these acts, leaders are finally stepping in to stop the original courses of action in various parts of the world, the total extermination of nonhuman animals for the sake of profits and food.

Ultimately, many countries that have enacted their initiatives to erect shark sanctuaries, protect whales, safeguard the rhinos, and so forth are now reaping the benefits of increased tourism. Local governments are incentivized to build an industry around the animals to not only give them a haven away from being hunted. But a place where they can have some semblance of normal again.

The fact of the matter is that the world is changing. Whether you see this as some dark dystopia of a future or not, the truth is that the more the world buys into the value of protecting animals for financial gains instead of losses, the better.

Case Study Of Tiger Sharks In Fuvamullah, Maldives

In my travels, I visited Fuvamullah, Maldives, where I got to scuba dive with the rare and highly intimidating tiger shark. At first sight, you may disagree with the locals feeding the tiger sharks to bring them to the island. However, the researchers will help explain tiger sharks’ dangers in the wild.

Tiger sharks and sharks, in general, are hunted in masse for their dorsal fins, where they are cut, and the shark is then thrown back into the water to drown a slow death. Further, Tigers are large sharks that hunt big game. It just so happens that commercial fishing in the area takes all the big game. The tiger sharks are forced to starve or fight the fishers for food. The sharks typically lose and are killed on sight for their aggressive behavior.

Large sharks cannot mate to reproduce until a few years of age. Every shark that doesn’t make it will lead to a steep decline. Interestingly, sharks are more intelligent than you would think. When humans start providing them with food, they come ritualistically to avoid being hunted. They adapted without a need for a fence or an invitation.

You might not be a shark lover, but realizing sharks’ value in our ecosystem is vital. They constitute a significant part of the balance in the ocean as they hunt and prey on the weak. In addition, they control populations and prevent fish from getting out of balance. Without them, there have been studies showing that coral and life will slowly decay without the presence of sharks.

Case Study Of African Elephants In Zimbabwe

African Elephants are hunted for their tusks. Anyone who wants anything made of ivory is paying for it in the blood of one of these giant beasts, and the market is hot. Poachers risk their lives to come to hunt these large animals, and they can be very efficient with their killing and de-tusking. The future for the world’s largest land animal is looking grimmer as time moves forward. Farmers also poison elephants because elephants have a large appetite and will consume much of the crops they sell to earn a living. However, a political circumstance led to a wall erecting around Zimbabwe years ago. This wall is now no longer enforced. However, the elephant’s behavior patterns have changed forever.

African elephants have very ritualistic behaviors that require large migration patterns. However, the elephants were not considered when the Zimbabwe wall was built. They got trapped in a human-made prison in Zimbabwe. This was a surprisingly small area for the elephants, and they had practically overgrown it. However, as the elephants have continued to be slaughtered outside of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe is the bastion for elephants today. They have enacted some suspicious “shoot first, ask questions later” policies with their rangers regarding poaching suspicion. They have gone a great length now to protect the elephants.

When you see the elephants in Zimbabwe, they don’t feel at ease anymore. They are overpopulated. They have resource warfare amongst their tribes. You might think they could go elsewhere in Africa but chose to stay because they no longer need to fear humans. Zimbabwe has built a good tourism industry to support the infrastructure and attract world travelers to see the elephants. Eventually, it may be one of the few places to see African Elephants.

Commercial Tourism For The Masses May Not Always Be Green

I certainly do not mean to paint that tourism is without its damage to the ecosystem, nature, and wildlife. Disrespectful tourists, nongreen companies, and the actual environmental impact of flying somewhere have consequences. I once learned that cruise ships dump sewage right at sea.

Despite this, the industry has been scrutinized, and if they adapt to improve their ability to go into an environment and leave no trace behind. We will be better for it.

My only consideration for you here is to understand and support mass tourism industries that are conscious of and protecting the environment. Supporting businesses that continue to pollute will only allow them to keep doing it.

Small tourism and industry could be a pollution source, too. However, larger commercial chains such as resorts and cruise ships have a much higher potential for the enormous impact that can tip the balance in any environment.

All these points show how tourism is better for wildlife.

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