The Cooperative Research Center (CRC) for Sustainable Tourism (2001) describes wildlife tourism as “tourism that involves encounters with non-domesticated animals either in their natural environment or in captivity. It includes a wide range of activities such as

• Bird-watching
• Whale-watching
• General wildlife viewing
• Visiting zoos and aquaria
• Snorkeling to view underwater life
• Hunting and recreational fishing

In the recent past, before the advent of mass tourism, visitors were content with viewing animals displayed in zoological gardens. Nowadays, many tourists prefer to see and interact with wild species in their natural habitats and experience a much more intimate closeness to those authentic habitats (Shackley, 1996).

Wildlife tourism developed rapidly after the end of the Second World War in the form of viewing wildlife in national parks and game refuge areas in government or state-owned land. Viewing wildlife is being promoted in many government-controlled protected areas in Australia, Asia and Africa. In India also such an option is gaining in popularity like never before.

In Kerala, tourism may be permitted, in principle, in all protected areas except in the reserve forests (Ironically, these crown reserves may be explored for mining) and to a lesser extent in areas in deep wilderness. Tourism packages must be designed so that very little damage will be caused to the surrounding environment. When considering the scores of honeymoon packages Kerala tourism department has given certain relaxations because it is one of the most non-destructive of all the tourism packages.