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Minimizing disturbance to wildlife by tourists approaching on foot or in a car: a study of kangaroos in the Australian rangelands

By I. D. Wolf, D. B. Croft

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Abstract

Approaching wildlife to attain a closer viewing experience is common amongst visitors to natural areas. We examined how tourists approach free-living kangaroos during encounters in a popular tourism destination in South Australia. We then simulated the typical properties of approaches to quantify the behavioural reactions of two kangaroo species - the Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) and the Euro (M. robustus erubescens). We also accounted for the disturbance context such as varying environmental conditions (time of day, cover, wind speed) and other factors (species, sex class, grouping) that potentially modify the kangaroos' flight response. Approach varied by access (on-trail, off-trail), transport (on-trail: hiking, driving; off-trail: hiking) and approach style (on-trail: tangential/continuous, tangential/stop-and-go; off-trail: direct/continuous, direct/stop-and-go, direct/stop-and-go/talking, tangential/zigzag/stop-and-go). On-trail, 53% of kangaroos took flight when the closest distance to them was approached whilst (by design) all subjects off-trail took flight. The mean (+or-1 SE) flight initiation distance (FID) was significantly shorter following an on-trail (78+or-2.7 m) than an off-trail approach (90+or-2.7 m). Kangaroos fled less often (41% vs. 75

Date 2010
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 126
Issue 1/2
Pages 75-84
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. i.wolf@online.ms d.croft@unsw.edu.au
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Australasia
  3. Australia
  4. Biological resources
  5. Commonwealth of Nations
  6. Developed countries
  7. Environment
  8. Feet
  9. Flight
  10. Grasslands and rangelands
  11. Human behavior
  12. Kangaroos
  13. Mammals
  14. Marsupials
  15. Oceania
  16. OECD countries
  17. peer-reviewed
  18. Primates
  19. properties
  20. rangelands
  21. Social psychology and social anthropology
  22. Tourism and travel
  23. Wild animals
  24. wildlife
  25. Zoology
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed