Wild Earth Foundation

Chubut, Argentina

Wild Earth Foundation

Chubut, Argentina

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Parsons E.C.M.,George Mason University | Baulch S.,Environmental Investigation Agency | Bechshoft T.,University of Alberta | Bechshoft T.,University of Aarhus | And 24 more authors.
Endangered Species Research | Year: 2015

Limited resources and increasing environmental concerns have prompted calls to identify the critical questions that most need to be answered to advance conservation, thereby providing an agenda for scientific research priorities. Cetaceans are often keystone indicator species but also high profile, charismatic flagship taxa that capture public and media attention as well as political interest. A dedicated workshop was held at the conference of the Society for Marine Mammalogy (December 2013, New Zealand) to identify where lack of data was hindering cetacean conservation and which questions need to be addressed most urgently. This paper summarizes 15 themes and component questions prioritized during the workshop. We hope this list will encourage cetacean conservation-orientated research and help agencies and policy makers to prioritize funding and future activities. This will ultimately remove some of the current obstacles to science-based cetacean conservation. © The authors 2015.


New L.F.,U.S. Geological Survey | New L.F.,Washington State University | Hall A.J.,University of St. Andrews | Harcourt R.,Macquarie University | And 5 more authors.
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2015

In recent years there has been significant interest in modelling cumulative effects and the population consequences of individual changes in cetacean behaviour and physiology due to disturbance. One potential source of disturbance that has garnered particular interest is whale-watching. Though perceived as 'green' or eco-friendly tourism, there is evidence that whale-watching can result in statistically significant and biologically meaningful changes in cetacean behaviour, raising the question whether whale-watching is in fact a long term sustainable activity. However, an assessment of the impacts of whale-watching on cetaceans requires an understanding of the potential behavioural and physiological effects, data to effectively address the question and suitable modelling techniques. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on the viability of long-term whale-watching, as well as logistical limitations and potential opportunities. We conclude that an integrated, coordinated approach will be needed to further understanding of the possible effects of whale-watching on cetaceans. © 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


New L.F.,U.S. Geological Survey | Hall A.J.,University of St. Andrews | Harcourt R.,Macquarie University | Kaufman G.,Pacific Whale Foundation | And 4 more authors.
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2015

In recent years there has been significant interest in modelling cumulative effects and the population consequences of individual changes in cetacean behaviour and physiology due to disturbance. One potential source of disturbance that has garnered particular interest is whale-watching. Though perceived as 'green' or eco-friendly tourism, there is evidence that whale-watching can result in statistically significant and biologically meaningful changes in cetacean behaviour, raising the question whether whale-watching is in fact a long term sustainable activity. However, an assessment of the impacts of whale-watching on cetaceans requires an understanding of the potential behavioural and physiological effects, data to effectively address the question and suitable modelling techniques. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on the viability of long-term whale-watching, as well as logistical limitations and potential opportunities. We conclude that an integrated, coordinated approach will be needed to further understanding of the possible effects of whale-watching on cetaceans. © 2015.


Wright A.J.,George Mason University | Cosentino A.M.,Wild Earth Foundation
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2015

The U.K.'s Joint Nature Conservation Committee 1998 guidelines for minimising acoustic impacts from seismic surveys on marine mammals were the first of their kind. Covering both planning and operations, they included various measures for reducing the potential for damaging hearing - an appropriate focus at the time. Since introduction, the guidelines have been criticised for, among other things: the arbitrarily-sized safety zones; the lack of shut-down provisions; the use of mitigation measures that introduce more noise into the environment (e.g., soft-starts); inadequate observer training; and the lack of standardised data collection protocols. Despite the concerns, the guidelines have remained largely unchanged. Moreover, increasing scientific recognition of the scope and magnitude of non-injurious impacts of sound on marine life has become much more widespread since the last revisions in 2010. Accordingly, here we present feasible and realistic recommendations for such improvements, in light of the current state of knowledge. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | George Mason University and Wild Earth Foundation
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Marine pollution bulletin | Year: 2015

The U.K.s Joint Nature Conservation Committee 1998 guidelines for minimising acoustic impacts from seismic surveys on marine mammals were the first of their kind. Covering both planning and operations, they included various measures for reducing the potential for damaging hearing - an appropriate focus at the time. Since introduction, the guidelines have been criticised for, among other things: the arbitrarily-sized safety zones; the lack of shut-down provisions; the use of mitigation measures that introduce more noise into the environment (e.g., soft-starts); inadequate observer training; and the lack of standardised data collection protocols. Despite the concerns, the guidelines have remained largely unchanged. Moreover, increasing scientific recognition of the scope and magnitude of non-injurious impacts of sound on marine life has become much more widespread since the last revisions in 2010. Accordingly, here we present feasible and realistic recommendations for such improvements, in light of the current state of knowledge.


Fazio A.,CONICET | Bertellotti M.,CONICET | Bertellotti M.,Wild Earth Foundation | Villanueva C.,CONICET
Marine Biology | Year: 2012

Kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) feed on pieces of skin and blubber they rip from Southern right whales' (Eubalaena australis) backs in their breeding areas at Península Valdés, Argentina, producing injuries. This behavior has increased since the first record in 1972, and some authors have suggested that constant gull harassment could have a negative effect on right whale population. The main goal of this study is to assess the variables that most affect the gull attacks. We analyzed 5359 whale-watching sightings made during trips from Puerto Pirámides (42 o34′S, 64 o16′W) along the whale breeding seasons (June-December) 2005 to 2007. The most important factors affecting the attacks include the presence of a mother-calf pair, the time within the season, the distance to the coast and the wind velocity. There is also concern of possible transmission of infectious diseases in the attacks since increasing number of whales with different patterns of skin lesions have been observed. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

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