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Working with wildlife can be immensely satisfying. So can sharing your love and fascination for wildlife with other people through wildlife tourism.
It can also be challenging, and you may find yourself on a very steep learning curve about wildlife, Interpretation skills, the tourism industry. PR, book-keeping and bureaucracy, especially if starting your own business. Even as an employee, job-seeker or student it is useful to understand the business side of things as well as the wildlife you're dealing with, to appreciate what your employer may need from you.
You may already be knowledgable about running a small business but have only a superficial understanding of wildlife, or you may be an expert birder but unsure how to turn this into a vocation. This book will guide you through the basics of each of the skills you might need and provide links to much further information and advice, saving many hours of searching and hopefully avoiding some oversights and costly or embarrassing mistakes.
There are lengthy sections on knowing, finding, watching, viewing, protecting and interpreting wildlife, since the focus of wifdlife tourism is of course wildlife. Every guide makes mistakes at times, but a sound grasp of the basics will help you avoid some of the worst slips in front of your guests. Examples given here for conveying ecological and behavioural concepts to your guests using the wildlife at hand should also trigger your imagination to come up with many more ways of doing this.
Much of the information is specific to Australia, but if you live and work elsewhere there is enough general information and advice to get you started, and to point the way to what to look up for your own country.
Author Dr Ronda Green, runs her own ecotourism business, conducts ecological research, and is currently chair of Wildlife Tourism Australia. She has worked as a lecturer, a holiday farm proprietor, an environmental consultant, researcher for the Wildlife sector of the CRC for Sustainable Tourism, project officer for the Australian Conservation Foundation, and seasonal ranger in charge of interpretive activities as well as being involved in many voluntary activities involving natural history. She found herself on a steep learning curve when starting her own business, and now shares much of what she has learnt.