Responsible Tourism: A Conservation Tool or Conservation Threat?

  • Carla A. Litchfield
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


The year 2003 marked the 30th anniversary of organized gorilla tourism, with tens of thousands of international visitors catching a precious glimpse of the gorillas' fragile equatorial ecosystem (Weber, 1993). For three decades, gorilla trekkers have stepped into a breathtakingly beautiful African landscape, steeped in human and gorilla blood. Gorilla lives and deaths have been played out against a backdrop of human war, genocide, poverty, and disease, seemingly unnoticed by the international community at large (Stanford, 2001; Weber and Vedder, 2001). During these 30 years, global international tourist arrivals per year have increased by about 500 million (World Tourism Organization, 2000), and more than 30 new diseases have emerged (World Health Organization, 2002). Ebola hemorrhagic fever decimates gorilla populations in western equatorial Africa (Walsh et al., 2003), and the rapid global spread of SARS coronavirus, shows how easily new diseases may be spread by...


Central African Republic Mountain Gorilla Protected Area Management Western Lowland Gorilla Responsible Tourism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Special thanks to my mother, Anita O'Hair, for her help in editing this chapter, and to Professor Richard Wrangham for his invaluable comments and support over the years. Thanks also to Dr. Tara Stoinski for her patience and hospitality, to Dr. Michele Goldsmith for copies of her most recent publications, and to Dr. Liz Williamson for sharing her views. Special thanks to Hannah Lawson for her friendship and inspiration (as one of the original team of scientists to monitor parasite loads in gorillas at Bwindi). Finally, I dedicate this chapter to my daughter, Kaitie Afrika, who has experienced the beauty and heartbreak of life on the African continent, and who serves as a daily reminder of all that is wonderful in the world!


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla A. Litchfield
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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