Study

Behavioral responses of Australian fur seals to boat approaches at a breeding colony

  • Published source details Back J.J., Hoskins A.J., Kirkwood R. & Arnould J.P.Y. (2018) Behavioral responses of Australian fur seals to boat approaches at a breeding colony. Nature Conservation, 31, 35-52

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Introduce and enforce regulations for marine and freshwater mammal watching tours

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Introduce and enforce regulations for marine and freshwater mammal watching tours

    A study (year not stated) on a rocky island shoreline in the northern Bass Strait, Australia (Back et al. 2018) found that increasing the approach distance of boats to an Australian fur seal Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus colony resulted in more seals remaining on the shore and fewer seals entering the water. When boats approached the seal colony to 75 m, a similar number of seals remained on the shore before, during and after the approaches in both the morning and the afternoon (data reported as statistical model results). Whereas, when boats approached to 25 m, the number of seals on shore declined by 47% during morning boat approaches and 21% during afternoon boat approaches. A breeding seal colony at a haul-out site was approached by boats (5.4–10 m in length) to distances of 75 m (20 approaches) or 25 m (18 approaches) during the morning and afternoon. Two video cameras and an observer recorded seal numbers and behaviour for 30 minutes before, 15 minutes during and 60 minutes after each of the 38 boat approaches in January–September.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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