Hawai'i Watchable Wildlife
Promoting responsible wildlife viewing in Hawai'i

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Hawai'i Watchable Wildlife Project Overview

Tourism is the largest industry in Hawaii and nature tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the global tourism industry. Many people visit Hawaii to witness first-hand, its lush tropical vegetation, rich cultural heritage, scenic splendor and diverse marine life. Yet, these guests, and many of the tourism operators that support them, threaten the long-term health of the state’s native plants and wildlife through direct disturbance to individual animals and uncontrolled access to sensitive areas. As a result, there is a strong need to provide the public with comprehensive information regarding proper viewing conduct and appropriate locations to view wildlife on land and in the marine environment.

The Hawaii Watchable Wildlife Project is a network of 31 wildlife viewing sites, a road signing program to direct travelers to the viewing locations, and a viewing guidebook and website to enhance the visitor experience and encourage responsible and sustainable viewing behavior. The careful selection of viewing sites throughout the state will ensure that the most sensitive and threatened wildlife and habitats are protected from overuse by directing visitors to areas that can sustain viewing programs. This project will help both residents and visitors learn about and experience Hawaii ’s native flora, fauna and habitats in a manner that will be ecologically responsible, economically sustainable, and supported by local communities, the tourism industry and the visitors.

Hawaii is the 44 th state to be added to a nationwide network of wildlife viewing sites and guidebooks which are published and marketed by Watchable Wildlife, Inc., a nonprofit organization established to promote sustainable wildlife viewing programs in North America . Watchable Wildlife has a proven track record for developing viewing guides, road signing programs, interpretive information and marketing strategies which will be modeled in the Hawaii project.

The project is administered by the Hawaii Watchable Wildlife Steering Committee, made up of 13 organizations and agencies that manage most of the state’s wildlife viewing locations. Ray Tabata is the Steering Committee Chairman and Bob Garrison is the Project Manager.

The project’s activities will be conducted in four phases starting in June 2004 and concluding in 2006. The phases of work are as follows:

  • Phase 1: Site Nominations, Community Workshops and Site Assessments
  • Phase 2: Viewing Guide Development
  • Phase 3: Road Sign Coordination and Placement; Website Development
  • Phase 4: Marketing/Promotions/Conclusion









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Updated: Sunday, January 25, 2009 1:59 PM