The Nai‘a Guide: An Ecological Conscience Guide to Spinner Dolphin Tourism in Hawai‘i
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Hawaiian spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris longirostris) rest in shallow bays off the Kona Coast of Hawai‘i Island. Tourism operations exploit this behavior, placing tourists into the water to swim, kayak, and paddleboard with the dolphins, often harassing them. These activities disrupt resting behavior and may lead to negative population level effects. Several strategies to protect the dolphins have been attempted in previous years. None however, have proven successful. Here, I illustrate the need for an outreach campaign to educate tourists visiting Hawai‘i. I have created a mobile application: The Nai‘a Guide. This application (app) serves as an ecological conscience guide to spinner dolphin tourism. It provides tourists with information, maps, photos, audio, and video explaining the dolphins’ ecology and the science of spinner dolphin research. The app offers direct connections to accredited tourism operations that adhere to a code of responsible practices recognized by the Dolphin SMART program. With funding provided by Dolphin SMART, I was able to work with an online company, Kleverbeast, to design and create the app and release The Nai‘a Guide on Apple’s iTunes App Store. To illustrate the potential of such a tool, I used an educational video accompanied by surveys to measure the change in perception of the consequences of human interaction with the dolphins. My findings indicate that multimedia tools on mobile devices have power for changing awareness and therefore changing action. I also explored the need for further development in mobile technology for conservation initiatives through a survey of apps that are currently available for download. The results shown here indicate that multimedia apps like The Nai‘a Guide are a viable but largely underused tool for increased conservation awareness. Future work should include the continued development of updated content, transforming The Nai‘a Guide for use on multiple mobile platforms, advertising, monitoring the app’s downloads, and assessing the app’s success, as well as the consideration of additional conservation initiatives that may benefit from mobile ecological conscience guides.
Fox, Demi (2013). The Nai‘a Guide: An Ecological Conscience Guide to Spinner Dolphin Tourism in Hawai‘i. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6675.
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