Panama City Attitudes Toward The Treatment Of Dolphins
Surveys of residents, visitors and business operatros in Panama City, Florida examined attitudes toward the illegal feeding and interactions with dolphins in the area. A majority in all groups indicated a concern for the protection of wild dolphins. In general there was little interest in feeding dolphins, though visitors were the most likely to be interested. Residents and business operators had the knowledge that feeding dolphins was both illegal and harmful to them while many visitors tended not to know.
Excerpts from Executive Summary:
“This study was conducted for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to measure public awareness and knowledge of dolphin conservation, assess participation in marine recreational activities and interactions with wild dolphins, and determine the effectiveness of NMFS-supported public outreach efforts. The study entailed surveys of three groups in Panama City, Florida: residents, visitors to the area, and local water-based and dolphin-related commercial businesses (alternately referred to as “businesses” or “business operators” in this report, depending on context).”
- “Large majorities of the three groups surveyed (residents, visitors, and business operators) say they are concerned about protecting wild dolphins, with respondents from each group most commonly saying they are very concerned.”
- “…among commercial businesses, water-related rentals (e.g., boats, jet skis, or kayaks) and guided tours or excursions (e.g., diving, wildlife viewing, dolphin tours) are the types of businesses most likely to be very concerned about protecting wild dolphins. Conversely, chartered fishing trip providers appear the least likely to indicate being concerned about protecting wild dolphins.”
- “Among the three respondent groups, residents are the least likely to have heard or read something that makes it seem that it is all right to swim with, touch, or pet dolphins in the wild, and business operators are the most likely to have heard or read something pertaining to this. (While 23% of residents have heard or read something that makes it seem that it is all right to swim with, touch, or pet dolphins in the wild, 29% of visitors and 38% of business operators say they same.)”
- “Regarding the legality of feeding dolphins, more than half of residents and business operators give the correct answer (that feeding dolphins in the wild is illegal and harmful), while visitors most commonly say that they do not know.”