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This essay classifies different types of wildlife tourism on the basis of whether they rely on captive or non-captive wildlife and whether they involve consumptive or non-consumptive use of wildlife. It is argued that depending upon how they are managed, all these forms of wildlife tourism can be supportive of the conservation of wildlife. Different mechanisms for sharing the benefits of wildlife tourism are considered and it is argued that from several different perspectives, there can be too much or too little sharing of the economic benefits from wildlife tourism. Diverse stakeholders with an interest in wildlife tourism are identified and different ways (direct and indirect) in which they can benefit from wildlife tourism are specified. The distribution of these benefits plays an important role in facilitating access to wildlife resources for tourism purposes and in ensuring their conservation. However, it cannot be assumed that wildlife tourism operators have a large amount of profit or economic surplus to share. Factors that influence their level of profit are identified and discussed. Ways are considered in which the benefits from wildlife tourism might be increased in Australia. These include easier and more widespread access of tour operators to Australia’s wildlife resources held in the public domain and by some NGOs.


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