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Stakeholders' Perceptions of a Wading Bird Colony as a Community Resource in the Brazilian Pantanal

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In the Brazilian Pantanal, large breeding colonies of ciconiiform wading birds ( 200–10,000 pairs ) have recently become important as tourist attractions, although there is good evidence of detrimental effects of tourism on breeding behavior and success. We sought to understand the possible amelioration of the effects of tourists on colonies by identifying human users of the colony and their control over changes in the way colonies are used. We conducted a stakeholder analysis, consisting of interviews with local interest groups made up of tourist guides, boat drivers, hotel owners and landowners, local fishermen, and tourists. The analysis revealed a series of human activities that potentially perturb nesting birds, including tourism, the collection of eggs and chicks for human consumption, camping, and sport and bait fishing close to colonies. There was a strong conservation ethic among stakeholders and an awareness of the consequences of human disturbance. In addition, tourism provided an economic incentive for conservation, which potentially outweighed the importance of consumptive uses of the colony. Results of questionnaires given to tourists offered insights into alternative management ideas for improving satisfaction with visits to the colony. Future development of tourism in Pantanal nesting colonies appears to be a realistic objective from the human community perspective but will require a strong, well-enforced management plan and continued education of locals, tourists, and the tourist industry.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, U.S.A.

Publication date: February 1, 2003

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