Conservation, Captivity, and Whaling: A Survey of Belize Whalewatching Tourists’ Attitudes to Cetacean Conservation Issues

dc.contributor.advisorParsons, E. Chris M.
dc.contributor.authorPatterson, Katheryn
dc.creatorPatterson, Katheryn
dc.description.abstractWith whalewatching activities and associated expenditures increasing annually, governments in coastal countries possess a large vested interest in the continued growth and protection of whale populations and the associated tourism. In 2007 and 2008, a survey investigating whalewatching tourists' attitudes toward key cetacean conservation issues, such as legislative protection, whaling, and captivity, was administered to volunteer participants at Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll, Belize (n=166). With regards to attitudes towards cetacean conservation issues, the majority of participants considered dolphins and whales to be under protected or only slightly protected (36.4%; 45.1%, respectively) and expressed that marine mammal conservation laws and policies were very important (83.1%). In addition, 95% of participants expressed opposition against the hunting of whales (68.5% strongly opposed and 26.5% opposed), and the majority of participants were against keeping dolphins in captivity no matter if the dolphins were kept in a dolphinarium or a semi-natural habitat confined by nets (78.1%; 66.9%, respectively). Furthermore, 93.3% of participants stated that they preferred to observe dolphins in the wild rather than in a captive setting, whether semi-natural or a dolphinarium. In addition to allowing a comparison of the attitudes and concerns of whalewatchers in Belize with other surveyed areas, this survey provides data that could assist the Belizean government with conservation-oriented decision-making. For example, 70.4% of participants felt that it was very important that Belize has a strong commitment to dolphin conservation and of those same participants, an additional 27.8% of participants ranked cetacean conservation as important. Additionally, 68.1% of participants said that they would actively boycott visiting pro-whaling countries and more specifically, 59.5% of participants stated that they would boycott visiting Belize if the country supported whaling, which has implications for Belize's position and policies at the International Whaling Commission.
dc.titleConservation, Captivity, and Whaling: A Survey of Belize Whalewatching Tourists’ Attitudes to Cetacean Conservation Issues
dc.typeThesis Science and Public Policy Mason University's of Science Environmental Science and Public Policy


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