Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Thrill-seeking holidaymakers may be putting dolphins at risk

Date:
March 17, 2010
Source:
Newcastle University
Summary:
Tourists wanting to watch and swim with dolphins are now being urged to keep their distance in a bid to protect both the animals and the local communities whose livelihoods depend on them.

Tourists wanting to watch and swim with dolphins are now being urged to keep their distance in a bid to protect both the animals and the local communities whose livelihoods depend on them.

A study of bottlenose dolphins living off the coast of Zanzibar has found that the many tourist boats operating in the area are harassing the animals, preventing them from resting, feeding and nurturing their young.

The research, led by Dr Per Berggren of Newcastle University, also highlights swimming with dolphins -- in particular where tourists swim in very close and try to touch the dolphins- as being incredibly stressful for the animals.

Printed March 16 in the academic journal Endangered Species Research, the authors say regulation of the dolphin tourism industry is "urgently needed" to minimize the potential long-term negative impact on the animals.

Dr Berggren, who joined Newcastle from Stockholm University earlier this month, explained: "The current situation in Zanzibar is unsustainable. The local community is dependent on tourism -- and therefore the dolphins -- but unless the activity is regulated the animals will leave.

"Our study found that whenever the tourist boats were present the dolphins were very unsettled and spent less time feeding, socialising or resting. This has a negative impact, not only on individual animals, but on the population as a whole and long term it could be devastating.

"The problem is that any change needs to be tourist-driven. Many visitors will pay drivers extra in tips to steer their boats in close, herding the dolphins so they can dive right in amongst them. Our message is, keep your distance and put the dolphins first."

Dolphin-watching was introduced off the South coast of Zanzibar in 1992. Today it is one of the few places in the world where tourism has completely replaced the traditional dolphin hunt -- an activity which threatened the local population of around 150 bottlenose dolphins.

"Abolishing the hunts was a major breakthrough and dolphin watching offered a humane, sustainable alternative," says Dr Berggren.

"Unfortunately, without regulation, dolphin tourism brings with it its own challenges."

Watching the dolphins over a period of 40 days, the research team found that in the presence of the tourist boats, the time the dolphins spent resting dropped from 38 per cent of the time to 10 per cent while the time they spent foraging and socialising dropped from 19 and 10 per cent to just 10 and 4 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, travelling behaviour more than doubled in proportion, from 33 to 77 per cent, becoming by far the most dominant activity state during interactions with tourist boats.

"Overall, the dolphins are using more energy than they are taking in because they aren't resting or feeding as much but are swimming more as they try to avoid the tourist boats," explains Dr Berggren, based in the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University.

"Zanzibar is a wonderful place, the dolphins are incredibly interesting and between July and October there are also breeding humpbacks in the area. I would recommend that anyone go there for a holiday and support the local community but act responsibly and ask operators to follow existing guidelines."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Newcastle University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christiansen F, Lusseau D, Stensland E, Berggren P. Effects of tourist boats on the behaviour of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins off the south coast of Zanzibar. Endangered Species Research, 2010; 11: 91-99 DOI: 10.3354/esr00265

Cite This Page:

Newcastle University. "Thrill-seeking holidaymakers may be putting dolphins at risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316191448.htm>.
Newcastle University. (2010, March 17). Thrill-seeking holidaymakers may be putting dolphins at risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316191448.htm
Newcastle University. "Thrill-seeking holidaymakers may be putting dolphins at risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316191448.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins