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Residents’ and Tourists’ Knowledge of Sea Lions in the Galápagos

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Abstract This study examined knowledge of sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki) for both residents and tourists on San Cristóbal Island in the Galápagos, a famous nature tourism destination. Participants (N = 281) obtained through convenience and snowball sampling answered questionnaires about their knowledge of sea lions. Participants with higher education received higher overall scores, but participants’ education and age influenced answers on only a few questions. Residents and tourists obtained comparable overall scores, exhibiting extensive knowledge of sea lion behavior and life history. Whether participants were residents or tourists influenced answers to several questions, but when only participants with 13 years of education or more were examined, few differences in answers remained between residents or tourists. Participants’ broad knowledge of sea lions may be attributed to the items of knowledge tested, participants’ motivations for travel to the Galápagos, and the fact that sea lions are an engaging and ubiquitous animal.

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