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Friday, February 4, 2011

Southern Cross University in Collaboration with Pet Porpoise Pool Advance Research in Wildlife Tourism



The Pet Porpoise Pool continues to support research at their facility with Southern Cross University recently completing a school holiday study conducted at the Pool aimed at better understanding the attraction of wildlife tourism and its management.

The Wildlife tourism project is the first part of a larger reearch project which seeks to understand visitors perceptions of captive wildlife tourism expereinces verses in the wild tourism encounters.

Dr Kaye Walker, lecturer in the Southern Cross University's School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the Coffs Harbour campus said: "This project aims to better understand the expectations, motivations and attitudes of dolphin wildlife park visitors and what they value most about the experience.

"So we hope it will benefit the local community by helping us to better understand the attractions and resources of the region and how to manage these appropriately to enhance local sustainability and the sustainability of wild dolphin populations."

Dr Walker has a background in marine biology and the management of tourism impacts. She conducted her PhD while working in the marine tourism industry - addressing sustainability issues and the role of guides in enhancing tourists understanding and awareness of marine animals and their environment.

"We appreciate the Pet Porpoise Pool's collaboration in this project, the staff have been very helpful and interested in the project and without their support and the CEO's this valuable research for the region could not be conducted" Dr Walker said.
The CEO of the Pet Porpoise Pool Paige Sinclair said: "The visitor questionnaire feedback will contribute to a better understanding of people's opinion of wildlife parks, visitor attitudes to animals in captivity and their participation in different dolphin tourism opportunities".

The Pet Porpoise Pool supports a number of research projects that have been conducted over the years by a number of universities. This year potentially three major research projects will be conducted at the Pool, one studying 'Human and Animal Interactions', another participating in a Endeavour Research Fellowship (ARC) to study learning and memory capacity across multiple shark species and the completion of the current dolphin project already underway.

For further information about this research project please contact:
Dr Kaye Walker, project leader,
School of Tourism and Hospitality Management
Phone: 02 6659 3615

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