Shark Dive and Hologram Zoo: Two Case Studies of Virtual Animal Encounters as Possible Models for Sustainable Wildlife Tourism

Article


Scollen, Rebecca and Mason, Andrew. 2024. "Shark Dive and Hologram Zoo: Two Case Studies of Virtual Animal Encounters as Possible Models for Sustainable Wildlife Tourism ." Animals. 14 (926). https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14060926
Article Title

Shark Dive and Hologram Zoo: Two Case Studies of Virtual Animal Encounters as Possible Models for Sustainable
Wildlife Tourism

ERA Journal ID200143
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsScollen, Rebecca and Mason, Andrew
Journal TitleAnimals
Journal Citation14 (926)
Article Number926
Number of Pages15
Year2024
PublisherMDPI AG
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
ISSN2076-2615
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14060926
Web Address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/14/6/926
Abstract

Wildlife tourism is commonly argued to positively contribute to nature conservation by providing humans with educational and meaningful first-hand experiences with animals. However,
concern for the sustainability of nature due to the negative impacts of wildlife tourism on animals and the environment invites alternative virtual opportunities for close encounters. Participant Observation framed by an Animal Studies perspective is employed to interpret two contemporary
Australian family entertainments, Shark Dive and Hologram Zoo, centred on providing people with wild animal interactions but without real animals present. Shark Dive is a theatrical puppetry production replicating a real shark dive, and Hologram Zoo is an augmented reality experience that displays a variety of animals in 3D. The content of both is examined to understand how the animals are imagined, experienced, and given significance to determine whether they offer viable alternatives or complementary additions to in situ wildlife tourism. Findings reveal both hold potential for virtual wildlife tourism. Shark Dive provides a positive representation of marine life, generating awareness about conservation and encouraging self-reflection. Hologram Zoo’s depiction of wild animals is impressive, but to more closely align with contemporary wildlife tourism ideals, the experience could enhance its conservation messaging and positive human–animal interactions.

Keywords Australia; animals; sharks; virtual encounters; wildlife tourism; zoos
Article Publishing Charge (APC) FundingSchool/Centre
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350801. Impacts of tourism
369999. Other creative arts and writing not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Creative Arts
School of Humanities and Communication
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