I am interested in the human dimensions of wildlife and conservation; particularly the development and management of wildlife tourism. The title of my PhD was ‘Wildlife tourism: tourist expectations, experiences and management implications’ which was published in 2008. It was an ethnographic study which revealed the profound and psychological benefits of watching wildlife such as a sense of being part of the natural world, of privilege, and of wonderment and awe at the beauty and diversity of the natural world. The spontaneity and anticipation of wildlife sightings revealed feelings of really being alive and in ‘flow’ when immersed in the lives of the ‘animal other’ and of how being in ‘flow’ distorts time. Linked to this is the spiritual fulfilment and sustenance provided by nature and the transcendence of self-consciousness.
Other research has concerned the importance of wildlife tourism to Scotland’s tourism economy for the Scottish Government, and tiger conservation and tourism in India and Nepal. I am currently working on a number of projects including the personal experiences of tourists on conservation volunteering holidays and also how primate tourism in Sumatra can assist in the conservation of orang-utans. You can access my peer reviewed publications and conference papers by following this link: Publications and conferences