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The establishment of approach distances between wildlife and tourists is a useful tool for resource managers involved with wildlife tourism. Such guidelines are especially beneficial at locations with high tourism activity and potentially dangerous wildlife, but need to be based on research to ensure an evidence-based balance between tourist experience and wildlife protection. At Seal Bay Conservation Park (SBCP), large numbers (>100,000 annually) of tourists regularly interact with a breeding colony of Australian sea lions Neophoca cinerea, which has been listed as threatened under the EPBC Act. To determine guidelines for approach distances we experimentally subjected individuals and groups of sea lions to approaches by 1 to 10 pedestrians to measure the distance at which the animals reacted and the type of behaviour displayed during that reaction. These trials were carried out on both the beach where tourists are allowed access with guides, as well as in areas that are usually undisturbed by human activity. At the current recommended minimum approach distance of 6 m, 28% of sea lions on the tourist beach and 51% of sea lions in other areas exhibited a change in behaviour and some displayed aggressive behaviour. Based on these results, we recommend that SBCP managers increase the approach distance to 10 m.

Beentjes, M.P. 1989. Evolutionary ecology of the New Zealand fur seal ( Arctocephalus forsteri) and Hooker's sea lion ( Phocarctos hookeri) Department of Zoology. Dunedin: University of Otago.
Boren, L.J, Gemmell, N.J., and Barton, K.J. 2002. Tourist Disturbance on New Zealand fur seals Arctocephalus forsteri. Australian Mammalogy 24: 85-95.
Buckley, R, and Pannell, J. 1990. Environmental impacts of tourism and recreation in national parks and conservation reserves. Journal of Tourism Studies 1: 24-32.
Cassini, M.H. 2001. Behavioural responses of South American fur seals to approach by tourists: A brief report. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 71: 341-346.
Constantine, R. 1999. Effects of tourism on marine mammals in New Zealand Science for Conservation. Wellington: Department of Conservation. 60.
Engelhard, G.H., Baarspul, A.N.J., Broekman, M., Creuwels, J.C.S., and Reijnders, P.J.H. 2002. Human disturbance, nursing behaviour, and lactational pup growth in a declining southern elephant seal ( Mirounga leonina) population. Canadian Journal of Zoology 80: 1876-1886.
Gerrodette, T, and Gilmartin, W.G. 1990. Demographic Consequences of Changed Pupping and Hauling Sites of the Hawaiian Monk Seal. Conservation Biology 4: 423-430.
Johnson, W.M., and Lavigne, D.M. 1999. Mass Tourism and the Mediterranean Monk Seal. The Monachus Guardian 2: 1-30.
Kovacs, K.M., and Innes, S. 1990. The Impact of Tourism on Harp Seals ( Phoca groenlandica) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 26: 15-26.
LeBoeuf, B.J., and Panken, K.J. 1977. Elephant seals breeding on the mainland in California. Proceedings of the California Academy of Science 41: 267-280.
Orsini, J-P. 2004. Human impacts on Australian sea lions, Neophoca cinerea, hauled out on Carnac Island (Perth, Western Australia): implications for wildlife and tourism management School of Environmental Science. Perth: Murdoch University. 134.
Shaughnessy, P.D. 1999. The action plan for Australian seals. Environment Australia, Canberra.
Shaughnessy, P.D., McIntosh, R.R., Goldsworthy, S.D., Dennis, T.E., and Berris, M. 2006. Trends in Abundance of Australian Sea Lions, Neophoca cinerea, at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Sea Lions of the World: Alaska Sea Grant College Program. 37-63.
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References

Beentjes, M.P. 1989. Evolutionary ecology of the New Zealand fur seal ( Arctocephalus forsteri) and Hooker's sea lion ( Phocarctos hookeri) Department of Zoology. Dunedin: University of Otago.
Boren, L.J, Gemmell, N.J., and Barton, K.J. 2002. Tourist Disturbance on New Zealand fur seals Arctocephalus forsteri. Australian Mammalogy 24: 85-95.
Buckley, R, and Pannell, J. 1990. Environmental impacts of tourism and recreation in national parks and conservation reserves. Journal of Tourism Studies 1: 24-32.
Cassini, M.H. 2001. Behavioural responses of South American fur seals to approach by tourists: A brief report. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 71: 341-346.
Constantine, R. 1999. Effects of tourism on marine mammals in New Zealand Science for Conservation. Wellington: Department of Conservation. 60.
Engelhard, G.H., Baarspul, A.N.J., Broekman, M., Creuwels, J.C.S., and Reijnders, P.J.H. 2002. Human disturbance, nursing behaviour, and lactational pup growth in a declining southern elephant seal ( Mirounga leonina) population. Canadian Journal of Zoology 80: 1876-1886.
Gerrodette, T, and Gilmartin, W.G. 1990. Demographic Consequences of Changed Pupping and Hauling Sites of the Hawaiian Monk Seal. Conservation Biology 4: 423-430.
Johnson, W.M., and Lavigne, D.M. 1999. Mass Tourism and the Mediterranean Monk Seal. The Monachus Guardian 2: 1-30.
Kovacs, K.M., and Innes, S. 1990. The Impact of Tourism on Harp Seals ( Phoca groenlandica) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 26: 15-26.
LeBoeuf, B.J., and Panken, K.J. 1977. Elephant seals breeding on the mainland in California. Proceedings of the California Academy of Science 41: 267-280.
Orsini, J-P. 2004. Human impacts on Australian sea lions, Neophoca cinerea, hauled out on Carnac Island (Perth, Western Australia): implications for wildlife and tourism management School of Environmental Science. Perth: Murdoch University. 134.
Shaughnessy, P.D. 1999. The action plan for Australian seals. Environment Australia, Canberra.
Shaughnessy, P.D., McIntosh, R.R., Goldsworthy, S.D., Dennis, T.E., and Berris, M. 2006. Trends in Abundance of Australian Sea Lions, Neophoca cinerea, at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Sea Lions of the World: Alaska Sea Grant College Program. 37-63.
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