Chapter 14 Designing and delivering wildlife viewing protocols that enhance sustainability
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Wildlife viewing tourism has grown substantially over the past few decades but some wildlife viewing practices threaten the sustainability of both business and conservation initiatives. This is evident in the number of cases worldwide that illustrate irresponsible or ad hoc viewing practices are detrimental to the very species we seek to save. This chapter will demonstrate how a statistical modelling approach can help: 1) identify the characteristics of human-wildlife encounters that cause disturbance and displacement; and 2) design encounter guidelines that improve sustainability. We will also discuss how such evidence can support adaptive management through the use of the policy sciences decision process framework. Drawing from a real-world case in north-west Namibia, where paying tourists have an opportunity to encounter the critically-endangered black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) on foot, we will illustrate how this integrated approach helped reduce encounter displacements by 80% while maintaining a 95% positive feedback rating from guests. Lastly, we will suggest some key issues to consider when applying to other species and contexts.

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Editor: Anna Spenceley