Whale shark tourism & impediments related to international research

Published on : Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Whale shark tourismEach year, numerous UVic graduate students set off to complete their research in countries across the world. However, they undergo some obstacles, like achieving legitimacy with local communities and locating the reliable translators. For UVic geography PhD candidate Jackie Ziegler, the major difference between her two experiences in Mexico as well as in Philippines was working with a local partner.

Ziegler research and finds out that the intersection between tourism and biodiversity conservation, with a target on the marine environment. First she examined whale shark tourism in Mexico for her master’s degree and then in the Philippines for her PhD.

“I taught myself how to read and speak Spanish before arriving at the site so I could communicate with people once there,” says Ziegler. “At the time, there wasn’t a lot published and most of it was in Spanish.”

“I had to create relationships with local people and companies so I could get access to the tourists for survey collection,” she adds.

For both her master’s as well as PhD research, Ziegler examined the sustainability of whale shark tourism. And Oslob provided the ideal opportunity to study the effect of tourism on the docile whale shark, building on her master’s degree research in Isla Holbox, Mexico.

“During my PhD research in the Philippines, I worked with the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (LAMAVE), a small independent NGO dedicated to the conservation of marine animals and their habitats in the Philippines,” says Ziegler.

“My research would have been impossible without the support of my excellent translators, the people in the local fishing villages where I stayed, and my research partner in the field, LAMAVE.”



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