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Human perceptions of hauled out sea lions (Neophoca cinerea) and implications for management: a case study from Carnac Island, Western Australia

Orsini, J-P. and Newsome, D. (2005) Human perceptions of hauled out sea lions (Neophoca cinerea) and implications for management: a case study from Carnac Island, Western Australia. Tourism in Marine Environments, 2 (1). pp. 129-132.

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    Abstract

    This study focuses on visitor perceptions of hauled out sea lions on Carnac Island, Western Australia. Carnac Island lies close to the city of Perth and is an important haulout (resting) site for the Australian sea lion, which is recognized as a species in need of special protection. The island is easily accessible by pleasure craft as well as tour boats with many people visiting during the summer (November–April) period. A visitor survey was conducted in order to obtain information on visitor expectations of sea lion viewing, the nature of visitor experience, perceptions of visitor impacts, and views on management. Up to 80% of visitation to the island was by private boat owners and 73% of respondents expected to view sea lions on the beach. Most respondents believed that their presence did not disturb the sea lions, although 78% stated that they observed other people disturbing the sea lions. The survey indicated a high degree of visitor satisfaction. Most respondents were of the opinion that 5 m or less was a safe distance to approach sea lions, in contrast to a recommended approach safe distance of more than 5 m promoted by the state wildlife agency. Visitors supported ranger presence and the provision of more information about sea lions. Management recommendations include the initiation of a visitor monitoring plan, the development of a sea lion interpretation program, increased ranger presence, and a system of training and accreditation for tour guides utilizing Carnac Island.

    Publication Type: Journal Article
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
    Publisher: Cognizant Communication Corp
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/2618
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