Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Effects of tourist boats on the behaviour of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins off the south coast of Zanzibar

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Per Berggren



The short-term effects of tourist boats on the behaviour of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins Tursiops aduncus were investigated off the south coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania, by comparing dolphin group behaviour in the presence (impact) and absence (control) of tourist boats. Groupfollowswere conducted from a carefully maneuvered (non-invasive) independent research vessel and behavioural data on group activity were collected using scan sampling methods. By using a timediscrete Markov chain model, the transition probabilities of passing/changing from one behaviouralstate to another were calculated and compared between impact and control situations. The data were further used to construct behavioural budgets. In the presence of tourist boats, dolphins were less likely to stay in a resting or socialising activity but were more likely to start travelling or foraging, as inferred from the Markov chain model. The behavioral budgets showed that foraging, resting andsocialising all decreased as an effect of tourist boat presence, while travelling increased. The behaviouralresponses are likely to have energetic implications, mainly by increasing physical demands. Further, the results demonstrate that the current level of tourism intensity off the south coast of Zanzibar affects the dolphins’ cumulative behavioural budget. Regulations on dolphin tourism are therefore urgently needed to minimise potential long-term negative effects on the dolphins.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Christiansen F, Lusseau D, Stensland E, Berggren P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Endangered Species Research

Year: 2010

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

Pages: 91–99

Print publication date: 17/03/2010

Date deposited: 30/03/2010

ISSN (print): 1863-5407

ISSN (electronic): 1613-4796

Publisher: Inter-Research


DOI: doi: 10.3354/esr00265


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric