Cultural Ecologies of Selected Australian Animal Species
I am currently working on cultural ecologies of two Australian snake species: the Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) (with my colleague, Dr Nancy Cushing from the University of Newcastle) and the Carpet/Diamond Python (Morelia spilota). Cultural ecologies are multidisciplinary studies drawing from cultural geography, history, cultural studies and natural history, to better understand the changing relations between an animal species and society.
This study explores the historical development of attitudes and practices relating to the eating of animals in Australia. Why have we ended up eating mostly cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens and fish? Why is goat and horse meat unpopular? Why do we eat such little native animals such as kangaroo, emu and crocodile? Why do more tourists eat crocodile and emu than Australians? This project will be undertaken in collaboration with my colleague Dr Nancy Cushing, from the University of Newcastle. We are hoping to work this into an ARC grant which will incorporate a PhD scholarship.
Wildlife Tourism Prospects in Papua New Guinea
This study examines the prospects for sustainable wildlife tourism in PNG and seeks to understand the opportunities and constraints that are operating on this sector.
Ambunti Crocodile Festival, East Sepik province, PNG
I want to explore the conservation outcomes that arise from this festival.
Aspects of Interpretation in Captive-Animal Based Attractions
To what extent do visits to zoos and wildlife parks have an impact on visitors' awareness of and empathy for the animals they view? Does emotional engagement occur between visitors and the animals? How effective are interpretive signs in conveying information and constructing emotional connectivity? Currently looking particularly at how Tasmanian devils are interpreted.
I have a number of research projects that have just commenced or are about to commence.