Social Values of Biodiversity Conservation for the Endangered Loggerhead Turtle and Monk Seal
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) and the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) are two species on the priority list for conservation in Greece due to their dwindling populations worldwide. Hence the issue of estimating willingness to pay for their conservation is germane to any protection initiative. Zakynthos Island in Greece has created a marine park for the conservation of such species. We report the results of a survey of visitors and residents of this island who were asked about making one-time donations in the form of either a tax for residents or a plane landing fee for tourists. We find that all people were willing to pay to protect these species; however, residents were willing to pay more than tourists. We then tested whether there was a sequence or ordering effect if the seal questions came before the turtles as well as if the turtle questions came before the seals. Such effect was found when turtle questions were presented first, but not when seal questions were presented first. Due to the extensive interest, it is recommended that an increase in the airplane landing fee to Zakynthos could be used to contribute towards funds for loggerhead turtle and monk seal protection.
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