Journal of Ecotourism
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This paper evaluates Aboriginal cultural interpretation at wildlife attractions and on wildlife tours in Australia. The sites included 14 wildlife parks or zoos; three Aboriginal owned emu or crocodile farms; and 16 wildlife tours, river cruises or resorts with Indigenous interpretation of wildlife. Telephone interviews were conducted with 35 manage (nine Indigenous) and 26 Indigenous staff at wildlife attractions that included verbal or written Aboriginal wildlife interpretation. The Indigenous guides verbally presented both traditional uses and personal stories about Australian wildlife followed by Aboriginal 'Dreaming' or creation stories about totemic animal species. Non-Indigenous staff explained traditional Aboriginal uses of wildlife followed by biological facts and species information. The responses in this study highlight cultural differences in animal attitudes and approaches to wildlife use or interpretation. According to staff, tourists benefit from the inclusion of Aboriginal interpretation at wildlife sites by broadening their mind dispelling myths learning/education about Aboriginal cultures, novelty and excitement from visitors, increasing cultural awareness and developing more positive attitudes towards Indigenous people. Some guidelines for wildlife attractions and tours to develop and present Aboriginal cultural interpretation of Australian wildlife are also identified.