Bush walking could be upsetting the birds.
Bush walking could be upsetting the birds. Brett Wortman

Sight-seeing bigger threat to wildlife than cars

HIKERS could be posing a surprising threat to bird life when they hit nature trails in New South Wales and Queensland with new research suggesting the feathered locals would prefer if you caught a bus.

Scientists are finding that birds are less threatened by vehicles than they are by sight-seeing tourists.

Studies by Victoria University found that the long-held view that keeping cars and buses out of wildlife areas could be doing more harm than good.

When surprised by a person walking past, birds were found to fly farther away then they would if it was a car or bus.

Researcher Dr Patrick-Jean Guay said not only were vehicles disturbing wildlife less than individual walkers, they could carry groups which would reduce the number of disturbances overall.

"Organised ecotourism where a busload of tourists is driven through conservation areas may be preferable to that same number of people having free range to walk through that area," Dr Guay said.

The findings could have far-reaching implications for Queensland and NSW nature walks which are scattered throughout both states.



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