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

By M. L. Carrera, E. G. P. Favaro, A. Souto

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Abstract

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 threatened marine tucuxis (Sotalia fluviatilis), we observed them: (1) prior to the arrival of a boat in the bay; (2) for the duration of a vessel's stay in the bay and (3) after the boat's departure: ie pre-exposure, exposure and post-exposure phases. Both the average number of dolphins and the foraging activity were significantly reduced while a vessel was in the bay. Marine tucuxis are exclusively coastal and show fidelity to the site where they choose to live which makes any environmental disturbance of particular importance. Moreover, our findings are further evidence of the need for motorboat activity to be regulated and monitored to protect marine tucuxis as well as other coastal and estuarine dolphins.

Date 2008
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 17
Issue 2
Pages 117-123
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Centro de Ciencias Biologicas, Departamento de Zoologie, Avenida Prof Moraes Rego S/N, Cidade Universitaria, 50670-420 Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. toni_souto@yahoo.com
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Aquacultural and fisheries
  5. Aquatic Biology and Ecology
  6. Aquatic organisms
  7. Dolphins
  8. Environment
  9. Foraging
  10. Mammals
  11. Marine animals
  12. Marine mammals
  13. natural resources
  14. peer-reviewed
  15. Research
  16. Studies
  17. water
  18. Whales
  19. World
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed