Risks arising for humans during swim encounters with seals are poorly understood. This study was initiated to examine behaviors of unhabituated grey seals addressed towards humans during experimental, noncommercial seal-swim activities off Heligoland. In total, 26 in-water encounters
were conducted. Behavioral classes and the number of seals simultaneously approaching swimmers were time sampled. A set of risky and nonrisky interactive behaviors was continuously sampled. Seals spent approximately the same amount of time interacting with swimmers (53%) as they did ignoring
them (47%). Seals displayed higher rates of nonrisky behaviors than risky ones, but risky behaviors occurred during 73% of all seal-swims. Seals remained ≤20 m near swimmers for 51% and ≤1 m for 13% of the time. A mean number of 0.65 and 0.18 seals approached swimmers per minute within
a range of ≤20 m and ≤1 m, respectively. Behavioral classes, interactive behaviors, and the number of seals approaching ≤20 m did not vary significantly throughout seal-swims but the number of seals approaching ≤1 m moderately decreased. Due to high rates of risky behaviors, it
is recommended to promote public awareness on site and to regulate seal-swims before commercial operations emerge.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
Document Type: Research Article
October 14, 2020
This article was made available online on July 13, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "BEHAVIORS OF GREY SEALS (HALICHOERUS GRYPUS) ADDRESSED TOWARDS HUMAN SWIMMERS DURING EXPERIMENTAL OPEN WATER ENCOUNTERS OFF HEL GOL AND (GERMAN BIGHT, NORTH SEA)".
More about this publication?
Tourism in Marine Environments is an interdisciplinary journal dealing with a variety of management issues in marine settings. It is a scientific journal that draws upon the expertise of academics and practitioners from various disciplines related to the marine environment, including tourism, marine science, geography, social sciences, psychology, environmental studies, economics, marketing, and many more.