Professor Sarah Whatmore and Dr Jamie Lorimer undertook a 16 month research project (2006-2008) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) on Scientific ecotourism and (post)colonial encounters with wildlife (RES-000-22-1960).

The project sought to establish how far, and in what ways, contemporary scientific ecotourism articulates a distinctively post-colonial mode of environmental ethics and governance. The project focused on elephant conservation projects in Sri Lanka and had three main aims:

  1. To provide an overview of the scientific ecotourism sector by mapping its current scale, value and scope of UK and producing a typology of its constituent organisations and modes of operating.
  2. To understand the politics and ethics of contemporary scientific ecotourism by investigating its practical operation in terms of the embodied practices and political processes which generate and mobilise scientific data in programmes of environmental governance.
  3. To situate scientific ecotourism in its historical context by exploring the activities and sensibilities of natural historians involved with wildlife in the case study area during its late colonial period (1850-1900).