Tourism actually plays a large part in protecting wildlife species, but tour providers must work towards a sustainable relationship in which animals’ livelihoods and habitats are conserved.
Each stingray on this sandbar off Grand Cayman earns the islands about $500,000 every year in tourism revenue. Globally, this kind of interactive wildlife experience is big business, generating about $165 billion each year worldwide.
Careful monitoring of these primordial-looking creatures revealed that the lifestyle of stingrays on the sandbar [in Stingray City] was barely recognizable as natural stingray behavior at all.
… the most surprising discovery was that the rays of Stingray City were no longer nocturnal. The rays of the sandbar were also much more aggressive towards each other…
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Photo credit: Tourists plant an solicited kiss on a stingray in Stingray City in the North Sound of Grand Cayman. Mike / Flickr