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Ecological studies toward the management of an Antarctic tourist landing site (Penguin Island, South Shetland Islands)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2004

Simone Pfeiffer
Affiliation:
Institute of Ecology, Polar & Bird Ecology Group, Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, Dornburger Str. 159, D-07743 Jena, Germany
Hans-Ulrich Peter
Affiliation:
Institute of Ecology, Polar & Bird Ecology Group, Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, Dornburger Str. 159, D-07743 Jena, Germany

Abstract

Increasing tourism in the Antarctic Peninsula region concerns scientists, policy-makers, and tourist companies with its potential negative effects on wildlife. Site-specific ecological studies have been initiated to examine differences in population dynamics and distribution of animals as well as their behavioural and physiological reactions to humans. Penguin Island (southeast of King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica) is frequently visited by tourists due to its high species diversity and aesthetic value. In two seasons, the authors conducted a bird census and studied behaviour and heart-rate changes of southern giant petrels and skuas relating to tourist visits on Penguin Island. Management recommendations are given, based on the study results. The protection of southern giant petrels should be increased by having a minimum distance of 50 m for all visitors. The eastern, southern, and western parts of the island should not be visited and should serve as refuge areas. The wildlife experience for tourists can still be enjoyed by concentrating visits to the northern and central part of Penguin Island. Use of a specific path to localise impacts in a prescribed area is recommended.

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Articles
Copyright
© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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