Redefining provisioning in marine wildlife tourism

Published on
16 June 2021

Redefining provisioning in marine wildlife tourism

Lauren Meyer, Christine Barry, Gonzalo Araujo, Adam Barnett, Juerg M. Brunnschweiler, Andrew Chin, Austin Gallagher, Teleah Healy, Alison Kock, David Newsome, Alessandro Ponzo, Charlie Huveneers


Wildlife tourism uses various stimuli to attract species and facilitate close encounters. Such activities are often referred to as provisioning, however the term is used interchangeably, and sometimes erroneously, with attracting, feeding, luring, and chumming, all of which lack consistent definitions. Here, we review the current use of provisioning-associated terminology in marine bird, teleost (bony fish), marine mammal, marine reptile, ray and shark tourism, within the scientific literature and on tourism operator webpages. We then propose to reclassify provisioning into Feeding, Attracting, and Modifying habitat, providing eight specific terms that reflect: (1) if the stimulus exploits wildlife appetite or search for preferred habitat; (2) the nature of the attractant (consumable or not); (3) the intention of the activity if using consumable attractants (direct, indirect, or incidental feeding) or modified habitat (intentional or repurposed modification); and (4) which species are affected by the activity (target or non-target species). We applied these terms to wildlife tourism around the world to gain better insight into tourism practices across taxa. Clarifying the terminology describing these wildlife interactions ensures they can be accurately described in the scientific literature, which will in turn help resource managers and industry groups to systematically assess these diverse activities.

Journal of Ecotourism, DOI: 10.1080/14724049.2021.1931253


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