Habituation potential of yellow-eyed penguins depends on sex, character and previous experience with humans

Animal populations are increasingly challenged by anthropogenic environmental changes. Species, populations and individuals vary in their ability to cope with exposure to human proximity. However, little is known about what drives habituation or sensitization in wild populations. Via behavioural observations and heart rate telemetry during experimental disturbance, we determined the habituation potential of yellow-eyed penguins, […]

Behavioral and hormonal responses of Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) to tourism and nest site visitation

One of the results of human disturbance at seabird colonies may be the provocation of the typical vertebrate adrenocortical response to stressors, but there have been few studies that demonstrate this. The present study demonstrates that simple human presence at the nest site, without effects of capture or handling, is physiologically stressful for breeding Magellanic […]

Testing the minimum approach distance guidelines for incubating Royal penguins Eudyptes schlegeli

Minimum approach distance guidelines are common tools to maintain a buffer between breeding seabirds and human activity, with the goal of mitigating potentially harmful impacts from these interactions. We employed an experimental design to measure the heart rate and behaviour of Royal penguins on Macquarie Island, Australia, in response to a single pedestrian visit using […]

Physiological and Behavioral Differences in Magellanic Penguin Chicks in Undisturbed and Tourist-Visited Locations of a Colony

Studies examining anthropogenic effects on wildlife typically focus on adults and on behavioral responses rather than the physiological consequences of human disturbances. Here we examined how Magellanic Penguin ( Spheniscus magellanicus) chicks living in either tourist-visited or undisturbed areas of a breeding colony were affected by human visitation by comparing the baseline and stress-induced levels […]

Approaches to measuring the effects of human disturbance on birds

Human recreational activities are often considered as potential threats to biodiversity, by restricting animals’ access to resources that otherwise would be exploited. Because access to wildlife areas is one major means of increasing their public value, and hence the pressure to conserve them, it is clearly critical to be able to identify accurately when human […]

Habituation of Adult Magellanic Penguins to Human Visitation as Expressed through Behavior and Corticosterone Secretion

Ecotourism is increasing worldwide; hence, it is important to know how wildlife are affected behaviorally and physiologically by human visitation. We studied the effects of human visitation on the Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) at Punta Tombo, Argentina, by monitoring changes in defensive head turns and plasma corticosterone (a hormone secreted in response to stress) for […]

Physiological and reproductive consequences of human disturbance in Humboldt penguins: The need for species-specific visitor management

Over the last decade the Humboldt penguin, Spheniscus humboldti, has become a focus for ecotourism. Current management applies visitor guidelines similar to those developed for Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus. However, unlike these, Humboldt penguins are extremely sensitive to human presence. Breeding success was significantly reduced at frequently visited sites. Heart rate telemetry during disturbance experiments […]

Elevated hormonal stress response and reduced reproductive output in Yellow-eyed penguins exposed to unregulated tourism

The endangered, endemic Yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) is one of the flagship species for New Zealand’s wildlife tourism, and recently concern has been raised that tourism-related pressures may be becoming too great. We compared two neighbouring breeding areas exposed to different levels of human disturbance. Penguins at the site exposed to unregulated tourism showed significantly […]

The response of marine tucuxis (Sotalia fluviatilis) towards tourist boats involves avoidance behaviour and a reduction in foraging

Marine ecotourism has undergone worldwide expansion in recent years, leading to increased concern regarding the impact on the environment. Despite this, however, few studies into the potential effect of tourist boats on dolphin welfare, have been carried out. In order to evaluate the impact of these activities on the presence and foraging behaviour of the […]

Comparing king, gentoo, and royal penguin responses to pedestrian visitation

For wildlife managers, determining inter-species differences in the behavioral responses of seabirds to visitation can allow greater efficacy of visitor guidelines. Two key management outcomes for such information include 1) tailoring visitor guidelines to protect the most sensitive species and 2) improving self-regulation during visits by identifying behaviors likely to indicate a change in the […]