Effects of Human-Dolphin Interactions on Tourist Knowledge of and Attitudes Toward Dolphins
Human-wildlife interactions have been shown to positively impact tourist beliefs and actions in relation to wildlife and the environment. The purpose of this study was to explore guest beliefs and perceptions about dolphins and dolphin programs before and after participating in human-dolphin interactions (HDI). We surveyed 142 guests participating in a self-selected HDI located in a natural lagoon facility at The Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences in Sandy Bay Roatán, Honduras. Of the 142 survey respondents, 130 completed the survey fully, and 28 of those 130 also completed a two-week follow-up survey. The results indicated that the guests maintained pre-existing positive attitudes towards dolphins, learned new information, and reported feeling connected with nature following their HDI experiences. The HDI experience format resulted in few differences in participant responses, suggesting that interactive programs maintained existing attitudes while subtly shaping beliefs about human-animal interactions.
Hill, H. M. M., Highfill, L., Bolton, T., Henriquez, W., Dudzinski, K., Gutierrez, M., Birk, D., & Yeater, D. (2023). Effects of human-dolphin interactions on tourist knowledge of and attitudes toward dolphins. Society & Animals. Doi:10.1163/15685306-bja10150