Use volunteers to deter tourists from harassing marine and freshwater mammals at wildlife-viewing sites

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    60%
  • Certainty
    40%
  • Harms
    0%

Source countries

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects of using volunteers to deter tourists from harassing marine and freshwater mammals at wildlife-viewing sites. The study was at the Ohau Stream waterfall (New Zealand).

COMMUNITY RESPONSE (0 STUDIES)

POPULATION RESPONSE (0 STUDIES)

BEHAVIOUR (0 STUDIES)

OTHER (1 STUDY)

  • Change in human behaviour (1 study): One randomized, controlled study at the Ohau Stream waterfall found that the presence of an official-looking volunteer resulted in fewer tourists harassing New Zealand fur seals at a waterfall.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A randomized, controlled study in 2008–2009 at a waterfall of the Ohau Stream, New Zealand (Acevedo-Gutierrez et al. 2011) found that the presence of an official-looking volunteer resulted in fewer tourists harassing New Zealand fur seals Arctocephalus forsteri than when a volunteer was not present. The number of tourist groups in which at least one tourist harassed seals was lower when an official-looking volunteer was present (14 of 108 groups, 13%) than when a volunteer was not present (56 of 146 groups, 38%). A total of 19,102 tourists visited the waterfall in 254 groups (108 groups with volunteer present, 146 groups without). The official-looking volunteer wore a neon vest and sat on a rock on a viewing platform located 500–1,000 m from a waterfall visited by seal young from a nearby breeding colony. Tourists harassed seals by approaching, touching, or throwing objects at them. The behaviour of each of 254 tourist groups was recorded by a hidden observer on 68 random days at random times between October 2008 and June 2009.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Berthinussen, A., Smith, R.K. and Sutherland, W.J. (2021) Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions. Conservation Evidence Series Synopses. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation

Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation - Published 2021

Marine and Freshwater Mammal Synopsis

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