This study addresses the consequences of repeated human handling on the survival of an endangered phocid, the southern elephant seal and the implications for wildlife research. Southern elephant seal pups were repeatedly handled during the first six weeks of their lives. The possibility that such anthropogenic research may have altered the very parameters that were being investigated is a topical and relevant study area that we address here. Our results show that there were no measurable effects on pups that were repeatedly handled and subjected to invasive research methods with respect to survivorship in the short term (the 24-day nursing period) nor in the long term (the first year of life and beyond) and hence fitness one year after handling. In support of this conclusion we were unable to detect any significant differences in the survival rates of the most intensively handled seals and the least intensively handled seals.
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2005|