Offer reptile-related eco-tourism to improve behaviour towards reptiles
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 2
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Background information and definitions
Large numbers of tourists visiting important reptile habitats may pose a threat to wild reptile populations. Eco-tourism may help to promote reptile conservation and raise funds for conservation and research, as well as providing an opportunity for tourists to observe and experience wild reptiles while keeping disturbance to a minimum. However, where eco-tourism is not carefully regulated, increased levels of human disturbance may end up being detrimental to reptile populations (Iverson et al. 2006).
Iverson J.B., Converse S.J., Smith G.R. & Valiulis J.M. (2006) Long-term trends in the demography of the Allen Cays Rock Iguana (Cyclura cychlura inornata): Human disturbance and density-dependent effects. Biological Conservation, 132, 300–310.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated study in 1994 involving six organizations running loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta watching trips in Florida, USA (Johnson et al. 1996) reported that a third of tourists reported that they would have tried to observe a nesting turtle independently if the opportunity to join a supervised turtle watch was not available. In response to a questionnaire, 32% of respondents said that they would have gone to look for a nesting turtle if they had not been able to join a supervised turtle watch. Loggerhead turtle watches were carried out by six organizations that had been issued permits by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In 1994, these organisations distributed questionnaires to members of the public that attended turtles watches and were over the age of 15. Of the 1,148 questionnaires given out, 608 were returned and 488 were completed correctly and included in the analysis.Study and other actions tested
A study in 2009–2014 on St Kitts, St Kitts and Nevis (Tackes et al. 2016) found that people who attended a leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea tour reported that after going on the tour they would be more conscientious of how their behaviours on the beach affected sea turtles. All 38 people that responded to survey after attending a tour reported that in future, they would be more conscientious of how their behaviours on the beach affected sea turtles. Thirty-six (97%) respondents also reported that they would be more likely to report sightings of turtle nests or injured turtles. In 2009–2014, leatherback turtle ecotours were carried out during April–June. Tours involved a maximum of 10 people visiting a turtle nesting beach with a trained guide to observe nesting turtles. Attendees also received a briefing and education material on sea turtles. In 2014, a survey was distributed to 206 attendees of the tour that had provided contact information.Study and other actions tested
Where has this evidence come from?
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This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:Reptile Conservation
Reptile Conservation - Published 2021