Record Details

Romero, L Michael;Wikelski, Martin
Exposure to tourism reduces stress-induced corticosterone levels in Galápagos marine iguanas
Biological Conservation
Journal Article
Amblyrhynchus cristatus
Unstressed and stress-induced plasma corticosterone levels in Galápagos marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) were compared in animals from a site heavily exposed to tourism to animals from a site undisturbed by humans. Initial corticosterone levels not only did not differ between the two groups, but they were 50% of levels in iguanas known to be chronically stressed. These data suggest that iguanas in tourist areas are not chronically stressed. Both groups of iguanas exhibited elevated corticosterone levels after 30 min of capture and restraint, indicating that they can physiologically respond to stressful stimuli. The stress response was lower, however, at the tourist site. This result indicates that iguanas are physiologically affected by tourism, although it is presently unknown whether these changes are ultimately beneficial or harmful.