Return to Araucaria Ecotours

Working in Wildlife Tourism:

A Handbook for Guides, Students, small businesses and NGOs

      in Wildlife Tourism bok cover Author: Ronda J Green, BSc (Hons) PhD
Green Publications, Running Creek, Queensland
Year of Publication:

A career in wildlife tourism can be highly rewarding - fascinating animals, wonderful wild places, friendly tourists from all over the world - but also has many challenges.

You may be a student aiming to do interesting work with animals. You may be an amateur naturalist wanting to use your knowledge of wildlife in a business that is emotionally and well as financially rewarding, but lack experience in starting an enterprise,  promoting it, necessary insurances and bureaucracy and so on. You may on the other hand already be an experienced tour guide or ecolodge manager but not really familiar with local wildlife, how best to educate your guests about them or the possible conservation and animal welfare issues involved. Whether you are starting from very little knowledge or are already experienced but always striving for improvement, this book is packed with useful information and ideas, with many links to other sources.

The author is currently chair of Wildlife Tourism Australia, which promotes wildlife tourism that supports conservation, animal welfare and quality public education. This book also supports those ideals, not the kind of tourism that exploits animals to their detriment. 

A sample of the contents:

  • How to excel as a wildlife tour guide
  • Can you convey important facts in an entertaining way?
  • Knowing when and where to search (for wildlife)
  • When you can't see the wildlife: tracks, scratches, scats and sounds
  • Why should you understand ecology?
  • How much disturbance is too much?
  • Contributing positively to conservation
  • Making them happy: changing customer satisfaction to customer delight
  • What to tell them and how to tell it (quality interpretation of wildlife)
  • Clarifying your goals: what would you most like them to remember and talk about?
  • Making face-to-face networking effective
  • Keeping records
  • Starting an ecotourism venture
  • Staying afloat through the bad times
  • Health and safety issues
  • Licences, insurances and permits needed for starting and running a tour business
  • Thinking creatively: it can be fun

A previous book with similar structure included mostly Australian examples.  This one is more global in scope, as the author has traveled extensively in wildlife-rich areas of all continents except Antarctica, conducted comprehensive literature surveys and communicated with tour operators from many countries.

Ronda and
          eco award

The author, Dr Ronda Green, has run many nature activities and excursions for children and adults for over half a century,her experience including university ecology and sustainable tourism courses and field excursions, a holiday farm featuring nature studies, horsemanship and animal care,  seasonal ranger in charge of interpretative activities in a national park, three years lecturing to primary teaching students on educational nature activities,  a special  project for the Australian Conservation Foundation on outdoor recreational and educational activities for primary-aged children, and her own wildlife tourism business (Araucaria Ecotours, which has run for over 25 years, with advanced eco-certification for all regular tours, recognised by Ecotourism as a Green Leader, and now in their Hall of Fame: see photo)

She has been chair of Wildlife Tourism Australia for over a decade, and is currently also chair of the Scenic Rim branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and is a member of an interpretation working group within the National Geotourism strategy, and the Biodiversity Working Group with IUCN's TAPAS (Tourism And Protected AreaS). She is also a member of the Australian Citizen Science Association, Protect The Bush Alliance, Ecotourism Australia, Queensland Tourism Industry Council and various other relevant societies.

Ronda has a PhD in zoology and has conducted much research on foraging ecology, effects of habitat modification on wildlife, rainforest seed dispersal by fruit-eating birds, and other ecological topics as well as a brief time studying chimpanzee behaviour, and was also part of the research team for the Wildlife sector of the Cooperative Research Centre. She has lectured at several universities on ecology, conservation biology and sustainable wildlife tourism, and been an invited speaker in Australia, Brazil, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia as well as within Australia. When she started her tourism business she found herself on a steep learning curve on the business aspects as well as continually delving into new ways of presenting the wildlife in interesting and memorable ways to her guests. In this book she shares her experience and much advice aimed at helping anyone who seriously wishes to be involved in the kind of wildlife tourism that does actually benefit wildlife.  She has been involved in many conservation projects and has mentored many students of ecology or ecotourism. See more of Ronda's background and pubications here.

review To order from Amazon (paperback or e-book) please visit:

Otherwise, to order a paperback drect from the author, email    The paperback is $33.00 Australian, plus $10 postage within Australia (more for overseas, depending on quantity and country)

"Very inspiring and well-written"
(Hector-Ceballos-Lascurain, the "father of ecotourism")

snorkeling skipper  turtle  eagle

Return to Araucaria Ecotours