Title

Tourism Value of Crocodilians: The Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger) as a Case Study

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2021

Abstract

Wildlife tourism, including tourism involving large predators, is a rapidly growing industry that can generate many conservation and economic benefits. Monetary values can be derived for populations of large predators, and even individuals, on the basis of how much money tourists spend to see and interact with these awe-inspiring animals, but valuation studies only exist for a few groups of species. To help fill this gap we quantified the monetary value of crocodilians that are the focus of a wildlife tourism business in South America, the first time such a value has been calculated for crocodilians. We also compared the monetary values we derived with the monetary values of other crocodilians harvested in the hunting and farming industries during the same time period (2009-2014). We found mean minimum and maximum gross values of individual crocodilians per year as part of wildlife tourism were422.00 USD and566.67 USD, respectively, both higher than the mean gross value of individual crocodilians per year across hunting and farming industries (300.29 USD). Individual crocodilians that were recaptured multiple times as part of wildlife tourism activities reached a peak value of2700.00 USD. Thus, our study demonstrates that wildlife tourism can create substantial monetary incentives for local communities that coexist with crocodilians to work toward conservation goals. We conclude that wildlife tourism focused on crocodilians should be viewed as part of a larger strategy for conserving threatened populations, one that may include partners in the farming and hunting industries as well.

Publication Title

Herpetologica

Volume

77

Issue

4

First Page

289

Last Page

293

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1655/Herpetologica-D-21-00017.1

ISSN

00180831

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