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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 20:153-165 (2013)  -  DOI:

Effect of sea turtle rehabilitation centres in Queensland, Australia, on people’s perceptions of conservation

Alexandra D. Feck1,*, Mark Hamann2

1School of Marine and Tropical Biology, and 2School of Earth and Environmental Science, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia

ABSTRACT: Sea turtles are found worldwide, with all 7 species considered species of conservation concern. The public has seen sea turtle rehabilitation centres as an important tool for conserving sea turtle populations. However, educating the public regarding threats to sea turtles and how they can minimise these threats by making a change in their own lives may be more beneficial than rehabilitation alone, in terms of the ability to restore turtle numbers. In order to determine the educational role of rehabilitation centres, 245 surveys were distributed at several Australian-based rehabilitation centres. The survey was in 2 parts. The first part collected information about visitor’s knowledge of threats, their willingness to pay for conservation, and socio-economic information. The second part determined what threats visitors had learned about, whether visitors would make a change to help support sea turtle conservation, and whether they would be willing to pay more for conservation following their visit. Overall, results showed that all visitors to the sea turtle rehabilitation centres were willing to make a change in their lives to help protect sea turtles. Additionally, the majority of visitors were willing to donate annually to sea turtle conservation. The extra revenue raised could be used for conservation purposes and further research to address the threats sea turtles face. Combining the opportunity for visitors to observe sea turtles up close and learn about threats and how they can be minimised at rehabilitation centres will assist in increasing population sizes and protecting them into the future.

KEY WORDS: Rehabilitation · Sea turtles · Education · Conservation · Threats · Willingness-to-pay

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Cite this article as: Feck AD, Hamann M (2013) Effect of sea turtle rehabilitation centres in Queensland, Australia, on people’s perceptions of conservation. Endang Species Res 20:153-165.

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