Study

Effects of the presence of official-looking volunteers on harassment of New Zealand fur seals

  • Published source details Acevedo-Gutierrez A., Acevedo L. & Boren L. (2011) Effects of the presence of official-looking volunteers on harassment of New Zealand fur seals. Conservation Biology, 25, 623-627.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

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

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Use volunteers to deter tourists from harassing marine and freshwater mammals at wildlife-viewing sites

    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.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

Output references
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