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Should dingoes die? Principles for engaging ecocentric ethics in wildlife tourism management

Burns, G.L., Macbeth, J. and Moore, S. (2011) Should dingoes die? Principles for engaging ecocentric ethics in wildlife tourism management. Journal of Ecotourism, 10 (3). pp. 179-196.

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Ethics underlie all our decisions and actions. The aim of this paper is to, first, highlight the sorts of ethical positions that inform wildlife management and, second, to propose a different set of ecocentric ethical principles that not only provide for a more authentic visitor experience of nature, but also enhance the long-term survival of wildlife. An ecocentric approach involves locating people in, rather than separate from, nature, and so is not possible in locations such as zoos where barriers are physically constructed and maintained between people and wildlife, but should be more compatible with wildlife tourism that is based in rather than on nature. Focusing on wildlife tourism based in nature, seven principles derived from the literature are applied to a case study of dingo management on Fraser Island in Queensland, Australia. The case study demonstrates that recognising the intrinsic value of wildlife and developing a sense of moral obligation and moral reasoning toward the wildlife tourism experience can have positive outcomes for both people and wildlife. If management strategies work within a precautionary principle, acknowledge the interconnectedness between people and nature, and accept that wildlife belongs in nature, then a more ecocentric ethic is possible. This requires managers to engage in a reflexive process with regard to their own ethical position to facilitate the practical application of an ecocentric approach.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Taylor & Francis.
Copyright: © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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