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Penguins: Promoting Polar Awareness While Melting Our Hearts
(Released August 2012)

  by Natalie Abram  


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  1. Efecto de actividades turísticas sobre el comportamiento de fauna representativa de las Islas Galápagos, Ecuador/Short-term effects of tourism activities on the behavior of representative fauna on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    Fernanda González-Pérez and Priscilla Cubero-Pardo.

    Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research, Vol. 38, No. 3, Nov 2010, pp. 493-500.

    This study focused on the short-term reactions of six key species (Taeniura meyeri, Aetobatus narinari, Triaendon obesus, Chelonia mydas, Phalacrocorax harrisi, and Zalophus californianus) during tourism activities (SCUBA diving, panga-ride, snorkeling, and hiking) at 16 tourist sites on the islands. For each species we recorded its behavior when first encountering tourists and its reaction following this encounter. A Correspondence Analysis revealed that the type of reaction of the species depended significantly on the type of touristic activity, with the exception of the black spotted and eagle rays. Moreover, the analysis showed that, for each species, the different tourist activities were significantly associated with particular animal activities. This suggests that the species analyzed are susceptible to specific tourism activities making it necessary to instate recommendations for management in order to guarantee sustainable ecotourism. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

  2. Quark Expeditions; $45,000 Emperor Penguin Trip of a Lifetime Will be Won by a Wildlife Advocate Who Tells All


    Ecology, Environment & Conservation Business, Jul 3, 2010, pp. 57.

    The prize package includes return economy airfare from the winning competitor's nearest international gateway to Ushuaia, Argentina; one night of hotel accommodation in Ushuaia; and 13 nights with meals in a twin cabin aboard the icebreaker.

  3. Marine Reserve in Chile would benefit penguins and ecotourism

    E. Skewgar, A. Simeone and P. Dee Boersma.

    Ocean & Coastal Management, Vol. 52, No. 9, Sep 2009, pp. 487-491.

    The penguin colony at Punihuil Islands, southern Chile, is the only known place where hundreds of Magellanic (Spheniscus magellanicus) and Humboldt (Spheniscus humboldti) penguins nest together. Current jurisdictional limitations leave the waters around the colony unprotected, and penguins are vulnerable to accidental drowning in gillnets. Ecotourism is an important industry for the small community nearby, but residents are frustrated that there is no mechanism to protect penguins and ecotourism. Designation of a Marine Reserve, with a participatory management plan crossing institutional boundaries, could offer protection to both wildlife and human livelihoods, and serve as a model for protecting natural capital.


    Dagmar Fertl.

    Aquatic Mammals, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2009, pp. 130-131.

    [...] Part IV (five chapters) addresses tourism management as it relates to marine wildlife. [...] the book's cost will probably place it out of reach of many of the researchers and decisionmaking entities that would most benefit from its use, particularly in developing countries.

  5. Comparing King, Gentoo, and Royal Penguin Responses to Pedestrian Visitation

    Nick D. Holmes.

    Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 71, No. 8, Nov 2007, pp. 2575-2582.

    For wildlife managers, determining inter-species differences in the behavioral responses of seabirds to visitation can allow greater efficacy of visitor guidelines. Two key management outcomes for such information include 1) tailoring visitor guidelines to protect the most sensitive species and 2) improving self-regulation during visits by identifying behaviors likely to indicate a change in the natural activity of visited species. On subantarctic Macquarie Island, Australia, I collected the behavioral responses of guarding king (Aptenodytes patagonicus), gentoo (Pygoscelis papua), and royal (Eudyptes schlegeli) penguins before, during, and after exposure to a standardized pedestrian visit, to compare species' behavioral responses to visitation. Gentoo penguins appeared more sensitive than royal or king penguins, exhibiting altered behavior for 5 minutes after the stimulus was removed; this pattern was not evident in kings or royals. Response behaviors useful for visitors to assess their impact on penguins include vigilance (repeated rapid head turning) in all 3 species, agonism in king and royal penguins (reaching and striking at conspecifics), and low threat-display (bill pointing) in gentoo penguins. This study is valuable for wildlife managers as it provides practical information in the application of on-ground visitor guidelines. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]


    Eric Jaffe.

    Science News, Vol. 170, No. 14, Sep 30, 2006, pp. 218-220.

    Several recent studies show a more complicated picture of the impact of ecotourism, a practice that remains largely unregulated. The increased crowds lead to population changes in some animals, such as the Humboldt penguin and, some 4,000 miles away in the Bahamas, the Allen Cavs rock iguana. The population of Humboldt penguins living on Damas has dwindled since ecotourism began there, and researchers find that the Humboldt birth rates have fallen dramatically.

  7. Physiological and reproductive consequences of human disturbance in Humboldt penguins: The need for species-specific visitor management

    Ursula Ellenberg, Thomas Mattern, Philip J. Seddon and Guillermo Luna Jorquera.

    Biological Conservation, Vol. 133, No. 1, Nov 2006, pp. 95-106.

    Over the last decade the Humboldt penguin, Spheniscus humboldti, has become a focus for ecotourism. Current management applies visitor guidelines similar to those developed for Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus. However, unlike these, Humboldt penguins are extremely sensitive to human presence. Breeding success was significantly reduced at frequently visited sites. Heart rate telemetry during disturbance experiments revealed that Humboldt penguins respond more strongly to human presence than do any other penguin species thus far studied. A person passing an incubating penguin at 150 m distance already provoked a significant heart rate response. Recovery times were up to half an hour after direct human approach, causing increased energy expenditure without any overt behavioural reaction. Being extraordinary sensitive to human activity with little habituation potential the Humboldt penguin proves to be a difficult focal species for ecotourism. For sustainable ecotourism visitors are required to stay out of sight of Humboldt penguin breeding and moulting areas. Management guidelines need to acknowledge that even closely related species may react very differently towards human presence.

  8. Beware the ecotourist

    Anil Ananthaswamy.

    New Scientist, Vol. 181, No. 2437, Mar 6, 2004, pp. 6-7.

    Nature tourism is a valuable growth industry, but it has far-reaching effects on the wildlife it relies on. Ananthaswamy presents the impact of ecotourism on the environment, specifically on the wildlife.

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

    Simone Pfeiffer and Hans-Ulrich Peter.

    Polar Record, Vol. 40, No. 4, Oct 2004, pp. 345-353.

    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.

  10. Impacts of birdwatching on human and avian communities

    Cagan H. Sekercioglu.

    Environmental Conservation, Vol. 29, No. 3, Sep 2002, pp. 282-289.

    Birdwatchers are one of the best sources of ecotourism income since they form the largest single group of ecotourists, are educated, and have above-average incomes (Ceballos-Lascuráin 1996; Cordell & Herbert 2002). Because of the zeal of many birdwatchers and the resources these people are willing to invest in this activity, birdwatching is becoming the most rapidly growing and most environmentally conscious segment of ecotourism and provides economic hope for many threatened natural areas around the world (Cordell & Herbert 2002).

  11. Tourism and recreation at seabird breeding sites in Patagonia, Argentina: current concerns and future prospects

    Pablo Yorio, Esteban Frere, Patricia Gandini and Adrián Schiavini.

    Bird Conservation International, Vol. 11, No. 4, Dec 2001, pp. 231-245.

    Seabird colonies often constitute valuable tourist attractions. Different species differ in their sensitivity to human disturbance and, although birds may habituate to visitors, inappropriate intrusions at poorly managed sites may result in adverse effects on breeding individuals. The rapid growth of wildlife-based tourism and recreation in coastal Patagonia, Argentina, presents opportunities for significant economic benefits but also raises concerns about the potential effects on seabird colonies. Sixteen seabird species breed along the Patagonian coast, with Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus being one of the main tourist attractions. At least 27 sites where seabirds breed are currently visited by people either through organized tourism or for recreational purposes, 19 of which are included in coastal protected areas. The number of visitors per year varies from 50 to more than 100,000, depending on the site. Negative effects on seabird reproduction in Patagonia are through direct destruction of nests or their contents and desertion of offspring, particularly at locations where seabirds nest in association with or near to colonies of avian predators. Tourism and recreation activities are growing in extent and intensity at most coastal sectors in Patagonia. Current trends in coastal recreation activities may result in negative effects on breeding seabirds unless management guidelines are developed and enforced. Information shows that tourism in coastal Patagonia is compatible with seabird conservation if appropriately managed. Given the rapid increase in the interest in visiting seabird colonies in Patagonia, several management tools such as sanctuaries, the limitation of visitor numbers and both temporal and spatial zoning, need to be implemented in the short term. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

  12. Interactions between skuas Catharacta sp. and Gentoo Penguins Pygoscelis papua in relation to tourist activities at Cuverville Island, Antarctic Peninsula

    K. Crosbie.

    Marine Ornithology, Vol. 27, Mar 1999, pp. 195-197.

    The dramatic increase in tourism to the Antarctic has prompted speculation that the presence of tourists at a penguin colony could cause enough distraction to increase the vulnerability of the colony to predation. This study aimed to assess whether this hypothesis was correct for one heavily visited site supporting breeding Gentoo Penguins Pygoscelis papua in the Maritime Antarctic, that of Cuverville Island. A total of 164 hours of observation throughout one season was completed. One third of these were periods when tourists were present. Skua Catharacta sp. behaviour was catagorised and monitored throughout these periods. These observations revealed no evidence that the presence of parties of visitors within feeding territories influenced skua predatory behaviour.

  13. Who is watching whom? Checks for impacts of tourists on Yellow-eyed Penguins Megadyptes antipodes

    H. Ratz and C. Thompson.

    Marine Ornithology, Vol. 27, Mar 1999, pp. 205-210.

    The Yellow-eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve at Penguin Place, Dunedin, New Zealand is an ecotourism venture where visitors view breeding Yellow-eyed Penguins Megadyptes antipodes at close range from hides and covered trenches. Yellow-eyed Penguins are a timid and secretive species that could be regarded as unsuitable for observation at close range. The increase of Yellow-eyed Penguin nests was greater since 1984/85 in the colony visited continuously by tourists compared to the adjacent control colony with no public access. No difference was detected in the breeding success between the colony visited by tourists and the colony without visits by tourists. The impact of the presence of tour groups on the feeding behaviour of chicks was investigated at two-chick nests at the guard-stage during the summers of 1994/95 and 1995/96. The number of food-transfers was counted in five-minute intervals for 30 minutes. No difference was found in the patterns of feeding sequences. However, power analyses suggested that the difference would have to have been fairly large to be detected. This provides an indication that no apparent differences in patterns of feeding between the two colonies existed, but a larger sample size is required to reach a more definite conclusion.

  14. Where the wild things are

    Linda Perney and Pamela Emanoil.

    Audubon, Vol. 100, No. 5, Sep/Oct 1998, pp. 82-92.

    Perney and Emanoil rate some of the best and wildest eco-trips around, such as TravelWild Expeditions' polar bear watching trip and Mountain Travel-Sobek's kayaking among whales in the Sea of Cortez trip.

  15. Antarctica: Tourism's last frontier

    Jon Bowermaster.

    Audubon, Vol. 96, No. 4, Jul 1994, pp. 90.

    Thousands of international travelers are flocking to Antarctica, despite the dangers. Severe winds and snowstorms, often arriving without warning, can affect a plane's flight. Parties of the Antarctic Treaty are determining ways to regulate tourism on the continent to ensure travelers' safety and the preservation of the continent.