The effectiveness of an established sanctury zone for reducing human distrubance to Australian sea lions (neophoca cinerea) at Carnac Island, Western Australia
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This study tested the effectiveness of a recently established sanctuary zone on Carnac Island (Western Australia) in reducing human disturbances to Australian sea lions (Neophoca cinerea). Several methods of recording behaviors were also tested to clarify their adequacy for detecting human disturbances. Observations made between March 2005 and September 2006 (98 observations over 16 days) indicated that a wireless camera was effective for monitoring sea lions unobtrusively, and continuous and instantaneous observations were both generally effective in monitoring levels of human disturbance. The sanctuary zone was ineffective in that sea lions hauled out more often in the adjacent recreational zone, even though the sanctuary was established based on previous observations. This study concluded that sea lions are more likely to haul out where environmental attributes along a beach are suitable. Because environmental conditions are variable over time, a fixed sanctuary zone will only aid in reducing impacts when conditions are suitable in that zone. The authors recommend that future sanctuaries should include entire stretches of useable beach to be effective.
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