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Wildlife with a popularity problem

12.00noon to 1.30pm (Adelaide time) 27th September 2021

Free Webinar followed by Wildlife Tourism Australia’s AGM

RSVP: [email protected] and you will be sent details on how to join this Zoom webinar. You will be able to ask questions and join the discussions, and can also start the process by adding comments to this page.

Some animals are loved by almost everyone – koalas, quokkas, fairy-wrens etc. Others tend to be hated – e.g. sharks, snakes, spiders – by people in general. Some are enthusiastically sought by tourists – dingos, crocodiles, large bats, kangaroos and cockatoos – while many local residents curse them.

But the more unpopular creatures are just as likely to perform important functions in our ecosystems as the “cute and cuddly” ones do, and are a part of the biodiversity we seek to protect on our planet.

Also, some of the fear and hatred is misguided, and real dangers readily avoided. Snakes (with possible exception of some of the most enormous pythons) and spiders for instance know humans are far too big to eat, and so don’t stalk us the way a crocodile or leopard might. They don’t want to waste any of their precious venom they’ll be reserving for actual prey, and mostly see us (if they notice us at all) as a threat to stay away from.

Tiger snake. (Photo Barry Davies)

Today we’re examine some of the creatures that tend to be unpopular in local communities or by people in general

12.00noon General introduction and welcome

12.05pm Real dangers and irrational or exaggerated fear and loathing: what should we do about each? – Ronda Green

12.10pm Bat city – Living under one sky – M Kerr and S Steves (10 min tak followed by 5 mins Q&A)

black flying fox


An exploration of the relationship between art and eco-tourism to promote conservation of bats. Bats are a vital, fascinating and misunderstood taxa. This presentation will show how art can reframe bats in a positive light and work with eco-tourism to create community pride in bats  and build a political will for conservation.

12.25pm What is Sentient Shark Tourism? – Tony Isaacson. (10 min talk followed by 5 mins Q&A)

Tony will explore best-practice shark tourism, dangers to sharks of some practices, and the need for more education.

Great white shark

12.40pm Dingos – Angus Emmot (10 min talk followed by 5 mins Q&A)

Dingos are possibly “loved” a bit too much by some visitors to Fraser Island who can’t seem to resist feeding them (although this harms the dingos in the long run). They are generally not popular amongst farmers, many of whom would like to eradicate them. Angus will be talking from the perspective of a successful outback cattle armer who welcomes dingos on his land. Angus is also a keen wildlife photographer and runs ecotours,

12.55pm General discussion and concluding remarks

1.10pm AGM (Annual General Meeting). All welcome to stay for this but only members can vote.

Standing for committee:

  • Ronda Green – chair
  • Maree Kerr – vice-chair
  • Aise Kim – secretary
  • Simin Maleknia – treasurer
  • Darren Green – membership secretary
  • Leah Burns – organiser of 2022 conference
  • Sera Steves

1.30pm close of webinar

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