Acta Theriologica

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 219–224 | Cite as

The impact of tourists on lion Panthera leo behaviour, stress and energetics

Article

Abstract

African conservation areas are internationally sought out as destinations to observe charismatic megafauna. Recently, research has identified that wildlife can become stressed at the presence of human observers and tourists. We investigated the impact of tourist presence and absence on the reintroduced lion Panthera leo Linnaeus, 1758 population in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, by measuring the frequency of disturbance-indicating (yawning, sitting, standing, moving away) and relaxation-indicating (rolling, grooming) behaviours when tourists were present and absent. Lions were significantly more likely to exhibit disturbance behaviours when tourists were present, and significantly more likely to perform relaxation behaviours when tourists were absent. We also measured the number of breaths per minute, as an indicator of stress, and found that this also increased in the presence of tourists. Lions incur stress and an energetic cost (albeit minor) from being observed by tourists. Some lion populations may face this chronically, which may increase their susceptibility to disease by reducing their immunity. Enforcing rules banning off-road driving in pursuit of wildlife and ensuring adequate refuge away from tourist infrastructure are important methods to minimise the stressful impacts of tourists on wildlife.

Key words

behaviour ecotourism energy expenditure environmental impacts grooming stress 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Amo L., Lopez P. and Martin J. 2006. Nature-based tourism as a form of predation risk affects body condition and health state of Podarcis muralis lizards. Biological Conservation 131: 402–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boshoff A. F., Landman M., Kerley G. I. H. and Bradfield M. 2007. Profiles, views and observations of visitors to the Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 37: 189–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradfield M. 2005. Addo Elephant National Park—Official Guide, South African National Parks, Port Elizabeth.Google Scholar
  4. Buckley R. 2001. Environmental Impacts. [In: The Encyclopedia of Ecotourism. ed D. B. Weaver]. CAB International, Wallingford: 370–394.Google Scholar
  5. Burger J. and Gochfeld M. 1993. Tourism and short-term behavioural responses of nesting masked, red-footed, and blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos. Environmental Conservation 20: 255–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen H. D., Goodenough D. R., Witkin H. A., Oltman P., Gould H. and Shulman E. 1975. The effects of stress on components of the respiration cycle. Psychophysiology 12: 377–380.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Constantine R., Brunton D. H. and Dennis T. 2003. Dolphin-watching tour boats change bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) behaviour. Biological Conservation 117: 299–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Creel S., Fox J. E., Hardy A., Sands J., Garrott R. A. and Peterson R. O. 2002. Snowmobile activity and glucocorticoid stress responses in wolves and elk. Conservation Biology 16: 809–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eaton R. L. 1970. Hunting behavior of the cheetah. Journal of Wildlife Management 34: 56–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eaton R. L. 1974. The Cheetah: The biology, ecology, and behavior of an endangered species, van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Ellenberg U., Mattern T., Seddon P. J. and Jorquera G. L. 2006. Physiological and reproductive consequences of human disturbance in Humboldt penguins: the need for species-specific visitor management. Biological Conservation 133: 95–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Estes R. D. 1999. The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals, Russel Friedman Books, Halfway House, South Africa.Google Scholar
  13. Eston R. G., Rowlands A. V. and Ingledew D. K. 1998. Validity of heart rate, pedometry, and accelerometry for predicting the energy cost of children’s activities. Journal of Applied Physiology 84: 362–371.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Hayward M. W. 2005. Lessons from South Africa. Nature Australia 28: 80.Google Scholar
  15. Hayward M. W. and Hayward G. J. 2007. Activity patterns of reintroduced lion Panthera leo and spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. African Journal of Ecology 45: 135–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hayward M. W., Hayward G. J., Druce D. and Kerley G. I. H. 2009. Do fences constrain predator movements on an evolutionary scale? Home range, food intake and movement patterns of large predators reintroduced to Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. Biodiversity and Conservation 18: 887–899, DOI 10.1007/s10531-008-9452-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kolowski J. M. and Holekamp K. E. 2008. Ecological and anthropogenic influences on space use by spotted hyaenas. Journal of Zoology, London 277: 23–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kondgen S., Kuhl H., N’Goran P. K. N., Walsh P. D., Schenk S., Ernst N., Biek R., Formenty P., Matz-Rensing K., Schweiger B., Junglen S., Ellerbrok H., Nitsche A., Briese T., Lipkin W. I., Pauli G., Boesch C. and Leendertz F. H. 2008. Pandemic human viruses cause decline of endangered great apes. Current Biology 18: 260–264.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Kruger O. 2005. The role of ecotourism in conservation: panacea or Pandora’s box. Biodiversity and Conservation 14: 579–600.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lindsey P. A., Alexander R., Mills M. G. L., Romanach S. S. and Woodroffe R. 2007. Wildlife viewing preferences of visitors to protected areas in South Africa: implications for the role of ecotourism in conservation. Journal of Ecotourism 6: 19–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lindsey P. A., Alexander R. R., du Toit J. T. and Mills M. G. L. 2005. The potential contribution of ecotourism to African wild dog Lycaon pictus conservation in South Africa. Biological Conservation 123: 339–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lindsey P. A., Romanach S. S. and Davies-Mostert H. T. 2009. A synthesis of early indicators of the drivers of predator conservation on private lands in South Africa. [In: The reintroduction of top-order predators. M. W. Hayward and M. J. Somers, eds]. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford: 321–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McClung M. R., Seddon P. J., Massaro M. and Setiawan A. N. 2004. Nature-based tourism impacts on yellow-eyed penguins Megadyptes antipodes: does unregulated visitor access affect fledging weight and juvenile survival? Biological Conservation 119: 279–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Norton-Griffiths M. 2007. How many wildebeest do you need? World Economics 8: 41–64.Google Scholar
  25. Rode K. D., Farley S. D. and Robbins C. T. 2006. Behavioral responses of brown bears mediate nutritional effects of experimentally introduced tourism. Biological Conservation 133: 70–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wareham N. J., Hennings S. J., Prentice A. M. and Day N. E. 1997. Feasibility of heart-rate monitoring to estimate total level and pattern of energy expenditure in a population-based epidemiological study: the Ely young cohort feasibility study 1994–5. British Journal of Nutrition 78: 889–900.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mammal Research InstitutePolish Academy of ScienceBiałowieżaPoland
  2. 2.Centre for African Conservation EcologyNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations