This feature is a reprint of a story that originally appeared in Arizona Wildlife Views.
Wildlife viewer typology
Did you know there are four types of wildlife watchers? They have different interests and look for different types of activities, settings and experiences when away from home. Which type are you?
High involvement types seek outdoor activities, with a high opportunity for wildlife viewing. They value and seek tranquility, scenic views and new and different experiences.
Very active and interested in wildlife, these participants want to experience nature, escape life’s demands and explore. People in this group make several wildlife-viewing trips throughout the year, and enjoy studying wildlife habits. Developing spiritual values; teaching outdoor skills to others; and developing knowledge, skills and abilities are all important.
People with creative interests link viewing wildlife with photography, painting and other creative activities. Their preferred wildlife-viewing experience is very similar to the highly involved group, but includes more social interaction. They value the chance to photograph, paint or sketch wildlife.
Generalists combine wildlife-watching with other outdoor activities, such as hiking, boating and taking scenic drives. They enjoy relaxing in the outdoors, experiencing new and different things and participating in activities as a family.
This group has a general interest in seeing wildlife. They take trips to see wildlife sporadically to have a change of pace, or to get out with friends or family to see new scenery. Generalists like developed viewing areas with visitor centers supplying brochures, and trail systems with signs.
Occasionalists are least involved. They have the same interests as the generalist, but don’t rank the same desired outcomes as “high.” Overall, people in this group give a low level of importance to wildlife viewing and have only occasional interest in trips to view wildlife. They are not as likely to combine wildlife viewing with hiking or other outdoor activities. They enjoy wildlife mainly when it is associated with other activities.
Occasionalists are looking for convenient travel amenities, developed viewing areas with visitor centers offering brochures, and short loop trails with signs.
By knowing which type of wildlife watcher you are, you can better assess the many wildlife-watching opportunities available, and choose the ones that offer what you need. No matter what type of wildlife watcher you are, though, the important thing is just to get out there.
—Joe Yarchin, Arizona Game and Fish Department watchable wildlife program manager