A growing wildlife tourist industry in Asia sometimes includes the use of elephants to transport tourists. Elephant drivers are responsible for the safe management of their elephants while loading, transporting, and unloading tourists for rides to view wildlife. This study sought to investigate the preferences and perceptions of elephant drivers regarding tourists when viewing rhinoceroses in the field. Drivers were interviewed with standardized questions with translator assistance and asked to show the distances from the rhinoceros at which both they and tourists preferred to view a rhinoceros. According to drivers, they preferred to be a longer distance from a rhinoceros than did tourists. Drivers described that some tourists wanted to get closer than was safe to rhinoceroses and other wildlife so as to take good photographs; some even wanted to be within touching distance. Drivers noted that tourists with long camera lenses did not seek or request to be as close to the rhinoceros as tourists with cameras with short lenses.
|Author Address||Center for Animals in Society, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.|
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