Whale watcher’s feel a sense of privilege being in the whale’s own environment.
Whale watcher’s feel a sense of privilege being in the whale’s own environment.

Close encounters help environment

A CLOSE encounter with whales, dolphins and turtles inspires people to care about the environment, research has found.

University of Queensland School of Tourism researchers found up to seven per cent of people changed their environmental behaviour after whale-watching in Hervey Bay, visiting Mon Repos’ turtle rookery or going to Seaworld and Underwater World.

Senior research fellow Jan Packer said people became more conscious of disposing of plastic bags, not flushing waste down drains and recycling and were still acting on this awareness four months after their visits.

Those visiting Mon Repos and going whale watching were the most likely to still be thinking green after four months, Dr Packer said.

“At the sites where the animals are non-captive there was a more powerful response. People felt a sense of privilege being in the animal’s own environment,” she said.

“With whale watching, in particular, there was a bonding between the mammals and humans. People reported things like whales looking at them, being curious and approaching them. That had an emotional impact.”



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