Assessment of wildlife use for ecotourism in the Rio Cruces wetlands, Ramsar site of Chile

Datos de publicación:
Interciencia, Vol. 35, N°10, 730-738, 2010
Ecoturismo - Evaluación de uso - Fauna silvestre
Wildlife, excluding species of direct economic importance, is considered only when an appeal is obvious and demanded for ecotourism; however, methods for assessing fauna as a whole have not been implemented without a priori assumptions and biases belonging to rather intuitive management practices. A methodology for assessing wetland wildlife ecotourism objectives was developed. It was applied to a list of 50 birds and two mammals selected in the Cruces River wetlands, a Ramsar site in southern Chile. The ratings consider parameters that are demanded by ecotourism activities, such as abundance, aesthetic value, visibility, conservation status, endemism, historical/cultural or scientific value and importance of use, and taxonomic uniqueness. The visibility considered variables such as period of activity, colorfulness and mimicry, size, acoustic visibility, visibility of signs, behaviour, and degree of tolerance to observers. Each of these parameters was weighted according to their relative importance and values for each species were determined according to surveys in the field, literature review and expert panels.