'Springwatch' factor hatching a new generation of wildlife enthusiasts13/09/2010 16:37:47
The other side of the coin
British rediscover wildlife on their doorstep
September 2010: Springwatch, Coast and Countryfile are among those programmes inspiring a new generation of wildlife explorers to enjoy the great outdoors, according to a new study.
A third of wildlife tourists surveyed said that wildlife programmes had reawakened their interest in animals and nature. Dr Susanna Curtin, senior lecturer in tourism management at Bournemouth University, said that people's desire to see animals ‘in the fur' had important implications for both tourism and conservation.
‘Programmes such as Springwatch and Countryfile popularise wildlife and the environment and this means that as people begin to get out there and explore the countryside, wildlife gains more importance in their lives,' Dr Curtin explained.
The research, conducted at 11 wildlife sites throughout Scotland, interviewed people to find out their motivation for visiting. Tourists, she said, travel from America and the continent to see the flora and fauna of the British Isles because of its unique qualities.
‘Tourists are prepared to travel great distances across the globe to see our animals and plants, and so it's great to hear how the British are rediscovering the treasure-trove of wildlife that's on their doorstep,' she said.
Challenge will be maintaining delicate ecosystems
increasing footfall is good for tourism it should also, Dr Curtin says, mean the industry pays more attention to the environmental impact of such business.
‘Nature needs to be accessible and while it's important that more people become aware of the environment, as it will inevitably raise income and support for conservation programmes, there is a challenge in maintaining the delicate ecosystems and habitats on which these animals rely,' she said.