Citation
Risk Perceptions of and Acceptance Capacity for the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) in South Florida

Material Information

Title:
Risk Perceptions of and Acceptance Capacity for the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) in South Florida
Creator:
SMITHEM, JODIE LYNN
Copyright Date:
2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Alligators ( jstor )
Crocodiles ( jstor )
Pets ( jstor )
Population growth ( jstor )
Population trends ( jstor )
Psychological attitudes ( jstor )
Questionnaires ( jstor )
Species ( jstor )
Wildlife ( jstor )
Wildlife management ( jstor )
Miami metropolitan area ( local )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Jodie Lynn Smithem. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Embargo Date:
7/30/2007
Resource Identifier:
71376117 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

smithem_j ( .pdf )

smithem_j_Page_57.txt

smithem_j_Page_19.txt

smithem_j_Page_60.txt

smithem_j_Page_62.txt

smithem_j_Page_02.txt

smithem_j_Page_37.txt

smithem_j_Page_34.txt

smithem_j_Page_74.txt

smithem_j_Page_30.txt

smithem_j_Page_56.txt

smithem_j_Page_15.txt

smithem_j_Page_71.txt

smithem_j_Page_23.txt

smithem_j_Page_31.txt

smithem_j_Page_24.txt

smithem_j_Page_61.txt

smithem_j_Page_38.txt

smithem_j_Page_76.txt

smithem_j_Page_46.txt

smithem_j_Page_66.txt

smithem_j_Page_55.txt

smithem_j_Page_22.txt

smithem_j_Page_45.txt

smithem_j_Page_42.txt

smithem_j_Page_17.txt

smithem_j_Page_08.txt

smithem_j_Page_01.txt

smithem_j_Page_72.txt

smithem_j_Page_36.txt

smithem_j_Page_58.txt

smithem_j_Page_40.txt

smithem_j_Page_25.txt

smithem_j_Page_10.txt

smithem_j_Page_12.txt

smithem_j_Page_77.txt

smithem_j_Page_69.txt

smithem_j_Page_03.txt

smithem_j_Page_26.txt

smithem_j_Page_32.txt

smithem_j_Page_53.txt

smithem_j_Page_52.txt

smithem_j_Page_20.txt

smithem_j_Page_16.txt

smithem_j_Page_49.txt

smithem_j_Page_29.txt

smithem_j_Page_21.txt

smithem_j_Page_43.txt

smithem_j_Page_04.txt

smithem_j_Page_44.txt

smithem_j_Page_75.txt

smithem_j_Page_41.txt

smithem_j_Page_35.txt

smithem_j_Page_64.txt

smithem_j_Page_33.txt

smithem_j_Page_70.txt

smithem_j_Page_47.txt

smithem_j_Page_68.txt

smithem_j_Page_39.txt

smithem_j_Page_18.txt

smithem_j_Page_73.txt

smithem_j_Page_51.txt

smithem_j_Page_05.txt

smithem_j_Page_07.txt

smithem_j_Page_63.txt

smithem_j_Page_28.txt

smithem_j_Page_59.txt

smithem_j_Page_65.txt

smithem_j_Page_11.txt

smithem_j_Page_09.txt

smithem_j_Page_27.txt

smithem_j_pdf.txt

smithem_j_Page_67.txt

smithem_j_Page_50.txt

smithem_j_Page_48.txt

smithem_j_Page_06.txt

smithem_j_Page_14.txt

smithem_j_Page_54.txt

smithem_j_Page_13.txt


Full Text












RISK PERCEPTIONS OF AND ACCEPTANCE CAPACITY FOR
THE AMERICAN CROCODILE (Crocodylus acutus) IN
SOUTH FLORIDA














By

JODIE LYNN SMITHEM


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005

































Copyright 2005

by

Jodie Lynn Smithem















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I first want to thank my committee members, Frank Mazzotti, Glenn Israel, and

Janas Sinclair, for providing invaluable assistance and advice for this study. I would also

like to acknowledge my friends in the Vero Beach office for their encouragement and

support. I will forever be grateful to Shawn J. Riley for his human dimensions study on

mountain lions. His study truly inspired and directed me to seek similar information for

the American crocodile. I also have great respect for Stephen R. Kellert, Daniel J.

Decker, and all the other pioneers of human dimensions work. Thanks go to Black Point

Marina, Homestead Bayfront Park, and Ocean Reef Club for use of their property as

study sites. Jocie Graham and Alicia Weinstein were instrumental in compiling the

questionnaires used in this study. Alicia Dunne assisted with data collection at Black

Point Marina and Valerie Morgan assisted with data collection at Homestead Bayfront

Park. Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge provided housing during data collection

at Ocean Reef Club. I thank the University of Florida and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service for providing project support. Finally, I would like to thank my family and

friends for their love and support. I would also like to thank my dog, Casey, for being by

my side and making me smile through it all.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iii

LIST OF TABLES .................................. ........... ............................ vi

LIST OF FIGURES .. ................... ............ ......... .............. vii

INTRODUCTION ....................................... ........... ...............................

Stakeholder C considerations .................. ............................................................2......
C onceptual F ram ew ork ... ...................................................................... ...............5...
Study Purpose .............. .......................................................................................7

M E T H O D S ........................................................................... .................................... . 9

Q questionnaire D evelopm ent ......................................... ........................ ...............9...
Q questionnaire C ontent .. ...................................................................... ............... 10
Q questionnaire A dm inistration ....................................... ...................... ............... 14
Statistical Procedures ... .. ................................. ............................. ............ 16

R E SU L T S .......................................................................................................... ........ .. 19

S u rv ey R esp o n se ...................................................................... .............. .. ... ............ 19
Involvement with Wildlife and American Crocodiles.......................................... 19
C rocodile K now ledge .............. ................... ............................................... 25
Inform action A venues ................................................................................ ............ ... 26
Attitudes Towards American Crocodiles.................................................... 27
A acceptance of M anagem ent Tools ...................................................... .................. 31
Perceptions of Recent American Crocodile Population Trends ...............................32
Risk B eliefs about A m erican Crocodiles............................................... ................ 34
Subjective Risk Perceptions of American Crocodiles...........................................37
Factors Affecting Risk Beliefs about American Crocodiles ..................................... 38
Preferences for Future American Crocodile Population Trends...............................38
Factors Affecting Preferences for American Crocodile Populations ......................41

D IS C U S S IO N .................................................................................................................. .. 4 3









APPENDIX


A THE INFORMED CONSENT PROCESS USED FOR INDIVIDUALS
PARTICIPATING IN THE PRELIMINARY INTERVIEWS .................................48

B THE INFORMED CONSENT PROCESS USED FOR INDIVIDUALS
COM PLETING THE QUESTIONNAIRE ........................................... ................ 49

C THE SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE USED FOR INQUIRY INTO
THE BELIEFS, ATTITUDES, RISK PERCEPTIONS, AND CROCODILE
POPULATION PREFERENCES OF STAKEHOLDERS IN SOUTH FLORIDA .. 50

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S .................................................. ........................................... 63

BIO GR APH ICAL SK ETCH .................................................................... ................ 68















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

1 Principal component analysis for response of questionnaire participants to
semantic differential items related to risks from American crocodiles in south
F lo rid a .................................................................. ............................................... ... 1 3

2 Principal component analysis for response of questionnaire participants to belief
statements regarding American crocodiles in south Florida ...............................14

3 Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents,
seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that indicated they participate
in various outdoor and wildlife-related activities................................ ................ 20

4 Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents,
seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that indicated they had various
involvement with American crocodiles in south Florida. ...................................22

5 Pearson correlation coefficients for the six main questionnaire variables ............24

6 Pearson correlation coefficients between the six main questionnaire variables
and age, education, income, and community involvement. ................................25

7 Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated they heard or saw various
amounts of information about the American crocodile and American alligator
from different sources. .............. ............ .............................................. 28

8 Response of questionnaire participants to belief statements regarding American
crocodiles in south F lorida ....................................... ....................... ................ 30

9 Response of questionnaire participants to semantic differential items related to
risks from American crocodiles in south Florida................................ ................ 36

10 Response of questionnaire participants to the likelihood of experiencing various
risks versus being attacked by an American crocodile .......................................37

11 Regression model for prediction of risk perceptions of American crocodiles.........39

12 Logisitc regression model for prediction of desired future American crocodile
population trends ....................... ....................................... 42















LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

1 Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents,
seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida with various levels of
involved ent with Am erican crocodiles..................................................... 23

2 Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated relocation to be an
acceptable or unacceptable management tool for American crocodiles involved
in various scenarios. ............................ ............................................ 32

3 Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated euthanasia to be an
acceptable or unacceptable management tool for American crocodiles involved
in various scenarios. ............................ ............................................ 33

4 Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents,
seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that believed the American
crocodile population in south Florida either increased, decreased, or remained
the sam e during 1998-2003 ...................................... ....................... ................ 34

5 Path diagram for risk perceptions of American crocodiles (RBELIEF), with path
coefficients added ....................... ........... .........................39

6 Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents,
seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that revealed preferences for a
smaller, larger, or similar American crocodile population in south Florida for
2 0 0 4 -2 0 0 9 ............................................................................................................... .. 4 0















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

RISK PERCEPTIONS OF AND ACCEPTANCE CAPACITY FOR
THE AMERICAN CROCODILE (Crocodylus acutus) IN
SOUTH FLORIDA

By

Jodie Lynn Smithem

August 2005

Chair: Frank Mazzotti
Major Department: Interdisciplinary Ecology

The Florida population of the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) has been

increasing in numbers since 1975. Human-crocodile interactions are also rising, which

presents new challenges to wildlife managers and biologists working to recover this

endangered species. This study investigated factors affecting stakeholders' risk

perceptions of and acceptance capacity for the American crocodile in south Florida to

enhance conservation and recovery efforts for this species. Results from this study could

also formulate strategy for an educational program to increase understanding of and

acceptance for crocodiles and encourage positive, proactive attitudes about crocodile

conservation.

A self-administered questionnaire (n = 249) was used to measure stakeholder

involvement with American crocodiles, knowledge of American crocodiles, risk beliefs

associated with crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current population









trends, and preferences for future population trends. Attitudes toward crocodiles formed

the most parsimonious model to predict risk perceptions of crocodiles in a model that

explained 23.0% of the variance. People who expressed negative attitudes towards

crocodiles had the greatest probability of considering crocodiles a high risk to humans.

Knowledge of crocodiles is not a significant predictor of risk perceptions, but may have

an indirect effect on risk perceptions of crocodiles through attitudes towards crocodiles.

A 2-variable model including risk perceptions of crocodiles and attitudes toward

crocodiles correctly predicted respondents' desired future crocodile population trends

94.0% of the time. Respondents who believed crocodiles presented a low risk to humans

and expressed positive attitudes towards crocodiles had the greatest probability of

preferring a stable or increased future crocodile population. Demographic variables such

as age, gender, level of formal education, income level, children in household, and

community involvement did not significantly affect risk perceptions of or acceptance

capacity for American crocodiles.

This study suggests developing educational programs that teach appropriate

behavior in the presence of crocodiles, address risks and benefits of crocodiles, increase

knowledge of crocodiles, and reveal that south Florida residents, visitors, and experts

perceive low risks from crocodiles. Programs that incorporate the above

recommendations will be most effective for decreasing risk perceptions of and increasing

positive attitudes towards and acceptance capacity for crocodiles.















INTRODUCTION

The Florida population of the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) was

federally listed as endangered in 1975 (Federal Register 40: 44149) and has been

increasing in numbers ever since (Mazzotti and Cherkiss 2003). The human population

of south Florida has also been increasing during this time (United States Census Bureau

2003), and as crocodiles reoccupy parts of their historic range now inhabited by people,

increased human-crocodile interactions are occurring. These interactions have led to an

increase in crocodile-related complaints (T. Regan, Florida Fish and Wildlife

Conservation Commission, personal communication 2002) and present new challenges to

wildlife managers and biologists working to recover this endangered species.

Managing endangered species can be difficult because of both real and perceived

restrictions under the Endangered Species Act. Negative attitudes often result if the

presence of an endangered species is believed to restrict private property rights (Drake

and Jones 2002) or limit access to and use of natural resources (Reading and Kellert

1993). If anti-conservation attitudes prevail, measures to protect or enhance the species

could become difficult. Socioeconomic considerations address these concerns and are

crucial for effective recovery programs, yet are often ignored or insufficiently considered

in endangered species management efforts (Kellert 1985a, Reading and Kellert 1993).

This study seeks to understand public perceptions of and preferences for the American

crocodile to enhance conservation and recovery efforts for this species.









Stakeholder Considerations

Wildlife management during most of the twentieth century was executed solely by

wildlife biologists. Although management decisions typically used input from selected

stakeholders (e.g., hunters, farmers, landowners), managers rarely sought participation

from them or other members of the public in actual decision-making (Decker and Chase

1997). Towards the end of the twentieth century, the array of stakeholders in wildlife

management diversified and their expectations for involvement in decisions increased

(Riley et al. 2002). The use of biological knowledge for wildlife management will

always be essential, but it may no longer be sufficient to use expert authority as the

exclusive basis for practicing wildlife management. Many wildlife managers are

increasingly integrating biological knowledge with information on human dimensions in

management processes (Riley et al. 2002) as stakeholders become a central component of

contemporary wildlife management (Decker et al. 1996).

Decker and Purdy (1988) introduced the concept of wildlife acceptance capacity

(WAC) to explain how human beliefs and preferences affect decisions on the

management of wildlife population levels. Wildlife acceptance capacity is an estimate of

the maximum wildlife population level that is acceptable to people in a given area.

Unlike biological carrying capacity, which theoretically has one value for a specific

wildlife population in a defined area at a defined moment in time, there can be many

WAC levels for a particular wildlife population at a given point in time. This is due to

different key constituency groups simultaneously possessing different acceptance levels.

Carpenter et al. (2000) expanded the concept of wildlife acceptance capacity to

describe wildlife stakeholder acceptance capacity (WSAC). WSAC can describe

people's unwillingness to accept scarcity or extinction of important or popular species, as









well as people's unwillingness to accept overabundance or increases of nuisance or

unpopular species. Determinants of WSAC are thought to include perceived positive and

negative impacts of the species, characteristics of the species (e.g., aesthetic appeal,

phylogenetic relatedness of the species to humans, economic value of the species),

situational specifics (e.g., management actions, proximity of human populations and

activities to animal populations), past experiences, beliefs and attitudes about the species,

risk tolerance of stakeholders, and perceptions of population trends (Craven et al. 1992,

Carpenter et al. 2000, Zinn et al. 2000). Understanding factors affecting acceptance

capacity for the crocodile will help wildlife managers select standards for population

levels and management actions that meet public approval, which may help avoid or

reduce conflict over management decisions (Zinn et al. 2000).

Risk perceptions of potentially dangerous wildlife are of great interest since such

perceptions often influence management policy (Riley and Decker 2000a). Far less

dread, fear, or worry is typically associated with risks accepted voluntarily, particularly

those from familiar events, than risks that are new or for which persons do not have a

sense of control (Slovic 1987). An encounter, or even the potential for an encounter, with

an American crocodile could represent the type of low probability-high consequence

event that leads to dread and elevated risk perceptions (Slovic 1987), which could

subsequently lower WSAC for this species (Riley and Decker 2000a). Identifying factors

that affect risk perceptions of crocodiles could help wildlife agencies design tailored

educational programs to increase understanding of and acceptance for crocodiles among

different stakeholder groups.









Managers' judgments about public perceptions of wildlife are not always accurate

(Miller and McGee 2001), and managing risks should be guided by facts, not

"undisciplined speculation about the beliefs or motivations of other people" (Fischhoff

1995, p. 144). Managers need to recognize and understand differences between objective

and subjective risk perceptions and between experts' and lay persons' perceptions of risk

(McClelland et al. 1990, Fischhoff 1995). Experts and lay people may agree about the

number of fatalities associated with an action or hazard (i.e., objective risk), but disagree

about its degree of risk (i.e., subjective risk). Lay people often place greater weight on

catastrophic potential and unfamiliar risks (Fischhoff 1995, Slovic 1987), resulting in

discrepancies between perceived risks and fatality estimates (von Winterfeldt et al. 1981).

Researching public risk perceptions of crocodiles can confirm or reject assumptions

about stakeholders (Butler et al. 2001) and result in better, more-informed management

decisions (Decker 1994).

Demographics can play a significant role in risk perceptions of large predators and

beliefs and attitudes towards animals in general. Women (Kellert and Berry 1987, Miller

and McGee 2000, Zinn and Pierce 2002), elderly individuals (Kellert 1985b, Kleiven et

al. 2004), and people with limited education (Kellert et al. 1996, Riley and Decker 2000a)

often exhibit greater risk perceptions of and more negative attitudes toward large

predators. Zinn and Pierce (2002) found individuals with children under 18 years of age

living in the home were more likely to fear attack by a mountain lion than those without

young children at home, although Riley and Decker (2000b) discovered having children

at home did not significantly affect acceptance capacity for the mountain lion.

Understanding the influence of demographics on risk perceptions of and acceptance









capacity for the American crocodile will enable wildlife managers and policy makers to

more effectively target their audiences and make better management decisions.

Conceptual Framework

Since protecting endangered species such as the American crocodile often requires

public participation and cooperation, an important question is: What factors affect public

support for species conservation efforts, specifically acceptance capacity for potentially

dangerous species? Kempton (1991) argues that citizens' comprehension of scientific

and environmental issues is significant to the decision-making process since the public

often bears costs of environmental protection. In other words, stakeholders must possess

knowledge about the issue to make informed decisions. Bord et al. (2000) corroborate

this notion by showing accurate knowledge precedes concern for global warming and is

the strongest predictor of intentions to behave in ways that might lessen climate change

(e.g., drive less, choose vehicle with good gas mileage). In reference to species

preservation, Tisdell and Wilson (2004) found support for conservation of tree-kangaroos

(Dendrolagus sp.) in Australia increased with greater knowledge of the species.

The connection between environmental knowledge and environmental concern is

not always present, however. The National Environmental Education and Training

Foundation (NEETF) rated the American public very high on attitudes toward

environmental support, yet very low on level of environmental knowledge (NEETF

1999). Hunter and Rinner (2004) found that environmental perspectives, not

environmental knowledge, are associated with support for local species preservation.

Knowledge was suggested to supplement, not supplant, environmental perspectives for

affecting interest in species preservation. Hunter and Rinner (2004) suggest

incorporating importance of ecological integrity and biological diversity, not just









information specific to certain species, into outreach efforts to increase public support for

species diversity.

Riley and Decker (2000b) discovered individuals who believed mountain lion

populations had decreased, expressed positive attitudes toward mountain lions, and

perceived low risk perceptions of mountain lions possessed higher acceptance capacities

for the species. In addition, stakeholders with lower education levels had higher risk

perceptions of mountain lions (Riley and Decker 2000a). Understanding the connection

between stakeholders' knowledge of, perceptions of, and preferences for other potentially

dangerous animals, such as the American crocodile, will help identify effective means for

communicating about and conserving such species.

Several frameworks have been developed to measure the connection between

attitudes and behaviors for environmental concern. The Environmental Concern Scale

emerged as a "brief, easy-to-use research tool capable of examining the correlates and

determinants of attitudinal concern about environmental quality, longitudinal change in

public attitudes, and the attitudinal impact of environmentally oriented policies,

legislation, and educational efforts" (Weigel and Weigel 1978, p. 12). The New

Environmental Paradigm (Dunlap and Van Liere 1978), now termed the New Ecological

Paradigm to reflect a more sophisticated perspective toward human relationships to the

natural world, has been used by researchers in a variety of arenas and cultural contexts

(Dunlap et al. 2000). The New Ecological Paradigm scale is designed to assess values,

attitudes, and beliefs toward ecological concepts such as balance of nature, limits to

growth, and human domination of nature (Dunlap et al. 2000). Ideas from both the

Environmental Concern Scale and New Ecological Paradigm can be used to test the link









between stakeholders' knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and acceptance capacity for the

American crocodile.

Study Purpose

The goals for this study were to understand stakeholders' risk perceptions of and

acceptance capacity for the American crocodile in south Florida. Previous studies

examining acceptance levels for wildlife have generally focused on large mammalian

species, such as deer (Odocoileus virginianus, Stout et al. 1997), mountain lions (Puma

concolor, Riley and Decker 2000b), and black bears (Ursus americanus, Siemer and

Decker 2003). Researching perceptions of and acceptance capacities for large reptilian

species, such as crocodiles, will broaden the information base available to wildlife

managers and decision makers and advance the body of human dimensions research for

wildlife management in general. Of particular interest for this study was whether

variables that best predict risk perceptions of and preferences for crocodile populations

would be similar to those for mammalian species.

To achieve the goals for this study, the following research questions were

investigated:

1. Does involvement with crocodiles, knowledge of crocodiles, attitudes towards
crocodiles, perceptions of current crocodile population trends, or socioeconomic
variables affect risk perceptions of crocodiles?

2. Does involvement with crocodiles, knowledge of crocodiles, risk perceptions of
crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current crocodile population
trends, or socioeconomic variables affect preferences for future crocodile population
trends?

Results from this study could also formulate strategy for an educational program

aimed at south Florida residents and visitors who live and recreate near crocodile habitat.

Public education can provide the foundation for developing positive, proactive attitudes






8


about crocodile conservation (United States Fish and Wildlife Service 1999). An

informed, supportive public is vital for the continued growth and recovery of south

Florida's American crocodile population.















METHODS

Questionnaire Development

Personal interviews were conducted during fall 2003 to obtain preliminary

information on local perceptions and involvement regarding American crocodiles in

south Florida. Three interviews were conducted on October 1, 2003 at Black Point

Marina and three interviews were conducted on October 2, 2003 at Ocean Reef Club.

Participants were asked permission to audio tape record the interview. Information

regarding the surveyor, the surveyor's connection to the University of Florida, and the

scientific reason for conducting the study were given to the participant (Appendix A).

Basic questions concerning the individual's interactions with crocodiles, knowledge of

crocodiles, perceptions of crocodiles, and attitudes toward crocodiles were asked. Four

males and two females participated in the interviews. The primary purpose of the

interviews was to aid development of a questionnaire that could quantitatively assess

factors affecting stakeholder perceptions of and preferences for crocodile populations in

south Florida.

Design of the questionnaire was adapted from Riley (1998) and reflected

information gained from preliminary interviews. Pilot tests involving two draft versions

of the questionnaire were conducted at Ocean Reef Club, Black Point Marina, and

Everglades National Park (an initial study site) on October 28-30, 2003, respectively, to

evaluate the survey design. Individuals at each of the three sites were informed of the

research agenda, guaranteed privacy, invited to participate, and hand-delivered a









questionnaire (Appendix B). Participants returned the questionnaire to the surveyor upon

completion. Seven individuals participated in the pilot study at Ocean Reef Club, nine at

Black Point Marina, and ten at Everglades National Park. The final version of the

questionnaire was completed on December 11, 2003.

Questionnaire Content

The questionnaire formed a 12-page booklet and contained six primary subject

areas: involvement with American crocodiles, knowledge of American crocodiles, risk

beliefs associated with crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current

population trends, and preferences for future population trends (Appendix C). Questions

about wildlife-related activities and information sources preceded questions regarding the

topics of primary interest. Respondents were also asked to indicate acceptability of

management tools, reveal subjective risk judgments regarding crocodiles, and provide

information regarding resident status, age, gender, race, number of children and pets in

household, level of formal education, income level, and community involvement. Space

at the end of the questionnaire provided respondents the opportunity to make additional

comments regarding crocodiles or the survey.

Involvement with American crocodiles was assessed using a continuum of potential

experiences for respondents that ranged from no interaction, to observing a crocodile in

the wild, to knowing a friend or family member who had an encounter with a crocodile,

to being personally threatened by a crocodile or having pets or livestock threatened. Five

additional experiences were vicarious in that the respondent only read or heard about

crocodiles being threatened or killed by people, about people or pets being threatened or

attacked by a crocodile, or about crocodiles raiding fish or crab traps. Respondents were

asked to indicate which type of interaction with American crocodiles they or members of









their household had experienced. The experiences were classified into 5 levels (adapted

from Riley and Decker 2000b):

* very high (respondent or family member personally threatened by a crocodile),

* high (respondent or family member had a friend, pet, or livestock threatened by a
crocodile),

* moderate (respondent observed a crocodile in the wild or read/heard about people
being threatened by a crocodile),

* low (family member observed a crocodile in the wild or read/heard about people
being threatened by a crocodile, or participant or family member read/heard about
crocodiles being threatened or killed by humans, about pets being threatened or
attacked by a crocodile, or about crocodiles raiding fish or crab traps), and

* none (no experience with listed items).

Very few respondents (3.6%) were classified as having a very high involvement

level and were therefore grouped with respondents in the high involvement category to

form the variable INVOLVE, which had 4 levels: high, moderate, low, and none.

Five questions regarding the status, habitat, and behavior of crocodiles assessed

respondents' knowledge level. Respondents were asked to circle the answer they

believed correct for each of the questions. A team of experts confirmed one correct

answer for each of the five questions. The number of correct answers for the five

questions was summed for each respondent (adapted from Sinclair et al. 2003). Very few

respondents (1.2%) answered all questions correctly and were therefore grouped with

respondents who answered 4 questions correctly to form the variable KNOWLEDGE,

which had 5 levels: no questions answered correctly, 1 question answered correctly, 2

questions answered correctly, 3 questions answered correctly, and 4 or 5 questions

answered correctly.









Risk beliefs were measured using a 5-point semantic differential scale with

adjective pairs as endpoints (Alreck and Settle 1995). The adjective pairs originated from

Riley (1998), but were modified for relevance to crocodiles. A "Don't Know" option

was provided for all questions. Factor analysis (Manly 1986) indicated two components

with one main factor: beliefs related to risks (RBELIEF), which encompassed personal

and community risk, ability to live with risks, and voluntariness of risk acceptance (Table

1). Responses to the four items were averaged to create the variable RBELIEF (adapted

from Sinclair et al. 2003). Respondents who answered "Don't Know" to one or more of

the six items (n = 61, 24%) did not receive a score for RBELIEF.

A 5-point Likert scale (Alreck and Settle 1995) ranging from disagree strongly to

agree strongly assessed respondents' attitudes towards crocodiles. Participants were

asked to circle the number that represented their level of agreement or disagreement to a

series of nine belief statements concerning crocodiles. A "No Opinion" option was

provided for all questions. "No Opinion" responses were believed comparable to neither

agreeing nor disagreeing with the statement and were recorded to the mid-point value on

the 5-point progressive scale. Factor analysis indicated statements regarding economic

considerations of crocodiles did not relate to the remaining belief statements. Subsequent

factor analysis, excluding economic statements, produced two components with one main

factor: attitudes related to the symbolism, benefits, rights, and threats of crocodiles

(ATTITUDE, Table 2). The second component was an artifact of reverse coded

statements. Responses to the seven items were averaged (weighted using factor loadings)

to create the variable ATTITUDE (adapted from Jacobson and Marynowski 1997).









Table 1. Principal component analysis for response of questionnaire participants to
semantic differential items related to risks from American crocodiles in south
Florida.
Component 1 Component 2
Eigenvalue 3.125 1.368
Percent Variance 40.181 17.104
Factor Loadings
Do you believe the community is at no risk or
great risk? 0.799a -0.252
People will be able or unable to learn to live
with the risks associated with crocodiles? 0.786a -0.251
Do you believe that you are personally at no
risk or great risk? 0.753a -0.289
Risks from American crocodiles are accepted
voluntarily or involuntarily? 0.749a -0.110
The risks from having crocodiles in Florida are
well or not well understood by experts? 0.556 0.202
The benefits and risks of American crocodiles
to people are matched or mismatched? 0.541 0.217
Are encounters between American crocodiles
and people a new event or an old event? 0.255 0.790
Are crocodile-human encounters increasing or
decreasing in south Florida? 0.405 0.659
a Values for items used to form the variable RBELIEF.

Perceptions of current American crocodile population trends and preferences for

future crocodile population trends were measured on 5-point progressive scales that

ranged from decreased) greatly to increased) greatly. A "No Opinion" option was

provided for all questions. Variables were created from perceptions of American

crocodile population trends during 1998-2003 (CPOP) and preferences for crocodile

population trends during 2004-2009 (FPOP). Both variables treated decreasing responses

and stable or increasing responses as two separate categories (Riley and Decker 2000b).









Respondents who answered "No Opinion" did not receive a score for that variable (n =

72, 29% for CPOP and n = 49, 20% for FPOP).

Table 2. Principal component analysis for response of questionnaire participants to belief
statements regarding American crocodiles in south Florida.
Component 1 Component 2
Eigenvalues 2.594 1.097
Percent Variance 37.053 15.668
Factor Loadings
The presence of crocodiles in Florida
increases my overall quality of life 0.749a -0.128
The presence of crocodiles near my home
increases my overall quality of life 0.692a 0.047
The presence of crocodiles is a sign of a
healthy environment 0.638a -0.239
Crocodiles should have the right to exist
wherever they may occur 0.561a -0.265
I think the crocodile is a likable species 0.536a -0.485
Crocodiles are an unacceptable threat to
humans and pets 0.546a 0.603b
Crocodiles threaten people's livelihoods by
raiding fish and crab traps 0.496a 0.594b
a Values for items used to form the variable ATTITUDE.
b Reverse coded items.

Questionnaire Administration

Three locations in south Florida were used for this study: Homestead Bayfront

Park, Black Point Marina, and Ocean Reef Club. Homestead Bayfront Park and Black

Point Marina provide recreational opportunities for permanent Florida residents, seasonal

Florida residents, and visitors to Florida. Ocean Reef Club is an affluent community

comprised mainly of seasonal residents. These sites were chosen because results from

this study intend to be applicable to south Florida residents and visitors who effect, are

affected by, or are concerned with crocodile management or recovery efforts. Individuals









who reside or recreate in the study areas have the potential to encounter an American

crocodile and likely characterize the conceptual population for this study.

Homestead Bayfront Park is a 97-acre Miami-Dade County Park adjacent to south

Biscayne Bay in Homestead, Florida (250 27.8' N, 800 19.2' W). American crocodiles are

occasionally spotted in the waters surrounding the park. Black Point Marina is a 52-acre

Miami-Dade County Park located in Cutler Ridge, Florida (250 31.5' N, 800 17.9' W). A

resident American crocodile inhabits the waters surrounding Black Point Marina and has

been encountered by marina patrons. Ocean Reef Club is a private community located in

north Key Largo, Florida. It was founded in 1945 as a private fishing club and has grown

to include deluxe private homes, vacation rentals, and a private marina. Ocean Reef Club

members and employees periodically observe American crocodiles on community

grounds.

A modified version of the hand-delivery method presented in Dillman et al. (1995)

was utilized for adult patrons at Black Point Marina and Homestead Bayfront Park.

Individuals over the age of 18 at each site were chosen indiscriminately to provide the

best representative sample possible of adults visiting the area at the time of data

collection. Upon the researcher's arrival to each of the study sites, the first individual

over the age of 18 encountered by the researcher was approached and informed of the

research agenda, guaranteed privacy, and invited to participate in the study (Appendix B).

If the individual rejected the invitation to participate, the researcher thanked the

individual for his time and then asked the next adult encountered to participate in the

study. If the individual accepted the invitation to participate, the researcher hand-

delivered a self-administered questionnaire to the individual. Upon completion of the









questionnaire, the researcher collected the survey from the participant and then asked the

next adult encountered to participate in the study. Individuals over the age of 18 were

approached as encountered, without regard to race, sex, or disabilities.

A modified version of the drop-off/pick-up method (Steele et al. 2001) was utilized

for residents of Ocean Reef Club. Residents were hand-delivered self-administered

questionnaires at a town hall meeting and asked to return completed surveys to the main

office within one week.

Sampling periods consisted of at least one weekday and one weekend day at Black

Point Marina and Homestead Bayfront Park. Sampling began in the morning and

concluded early in the evening at each site on the days of data collection. Black Point

Marina was sampled from December 27-31, 2003, and Homestead Bayfront Park was

sampled from January 1-3, 16-18, and 23, 2004. Questionnaires were hand-delivered to

Ocean Reef Club residents on January 16, 2004. Completed questionnaires were

collected the following week from the main office.

Questionnaires were presented to 213, 226, and 114 individuals at Black Point

Marina, Homestead Bayfront Park, and Ocean Reef Club, respectively. The overall

response rate was 45% (n = 249), with individual return rates equaling 50.2% (n = 107),

45.6% (n = 103), and 45% (n = 39) for Black Point Marina, Homestead Bayfront Park,

and Ocean Reef Club, respectively. The most frequent explanations given by

respondents for not participating in the survey included inability to speak English,

leaving to go boating, and time constraints.

Statistical Procedures

All data were analyzed using SPSS Graduate Pack 12.0 for Windows (SPSS Inc.

2003). Missing data were excluded listwise for regression analyses and pairwise for all









other analyses. "Don't Know" and "No Opinion" responses were excluded for

descriptive statistics.

Multiple regression was used to construct a model that best predicted risk

perceptions of crocodiles (adapted from Sinclair et al. 2003). Independent variables

selected a priori included involvement with crocodiles, knowledge of crocodiles,

attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current crocodile population trends, and six

demographic variables: age, gender, formal education (6 levels ranging from some high

school to graduate degree or beyond), income (6 levels ranging from under $20,000 to

over $500,000), children in household (yes or no), and community involvement (4 levels

ranging from participation in no local organizations to participation in 3 or 4

organizations).

Logistic regression was used to construct a model that best predicted preferences

for future crocodile population trends, a measure of wildlife stakeholder acceptance

capacity for the American crocodile (Decker and Purdy 1988, Riley and Decker 2000b).

Independent variables selected a priori included involvement with crocodiles, knowledge

of crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current crocodile population

trends, risk perceptions of crocodiles, and six demographic variables: age, gender, formal

education (6 levels ranging from some high school to graduate degree or beyond), income

(6 levels ranging from under $20,000 to over $500,000), children in household (yes or

no), and community involvement (4 levels ranging from participation in no local

organizations to participation in 3 or 4 organizations).

Chi-square statistics were used to test for differences in proportions between

variables, Pearson product-moment correlations were used to measure relationships






18


between variables, and differences between multiple means were tested using one-way

Analysis of Variance.















RESULTS

Survey Response

The majority of respondents were male (64.3%), white (88.8%), and permanent

Florida residents (75.1%). Respondents of Hispanic or Latino origin (22.2%) were likely

under-represented in the sample population. The proportions of seasonal Florida

residents (13.7%) and visitors to Florida (11.2%) were approximately equal.

Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 89, with a median age of 48. Formal education

attainment was normally distributed, with 61.6% of respondents having completed some

college or obtained a college degree. Most respondents did not have children at home

(66.7%) and either had no pets (40.2%) or a dog (30.9%). More respondents belonged to

religious (36.5%) or civic (21%) organizations than to environmental (14.9%) or school-

based (12.9%) organizations.

Involvement with Wildlife and American Crocodiles

Wildlife-related TV programs, videos, or movies were reported as the most

common activities that bring people into contact with wildlife (Table 3). Over half of

respondents indicated they visit zoos or aquariums, boat or fish in south Florida natural

areas, or read about wildlife. Most respondents who boat or fish in south Florida natural

areas are permanent or seasonal Florida residents. Nearly half of respondents observe or

study wildlife outdoors and less hike or bike in south Florida natural areas or bird watch.

Snorkeling and scuba diving were the most common self-reported activities by permanent












Table 3. Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida
that indicated they participate in various outdoor and wildlife-related activities.
Permanent Seasonal Visitor Combined
y (n = 187) (n = 34) (n = 28) (n = 249)
Watch wildlife TV programs, videos, or movies 80.7 82.4 75.0 80.3
Visit zoos or aquariums 69.0 76.5 53.6 68.3
Boat in south Florida natural areas 66.8 61.8 17.9 60.6
Fish in south Florida natural areas 65.8 55.9 7.1 57.8
Read about wildlife 55.1 61.8 60.7 56.6
Observe or study wildlife outdoors 46.0 44.1 50.0 46.2
Hike in south Florida natural areas 34.2 35.3 28.6 33.7
Bird watch 31.0 35.3 39.3 32.5
Bike in south Florida natural areas 27.3 17.6 25.0 25.7
Work on a farm or ranch 3.7 11.8 14.3 6.0
Other activities 9.6 14.7 4.6 9.6
a Includes golfing, sailing, horseback riding, drag racing, snorkeling, scuba diving, hunting, playing music, surfing, and creating art.









Florida residents and golfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving were the most common self-

reported activities by seasonal Florida residents.

Observing a crocodile in the wild was the most common type of involvement with

American crocodiles experienced by respondents (Table 4). Though 63.5% of

respondents indicated they had observed a crocodile in the wild, fewer than 4% reported

a threatening experience. Permanent and seasonal Florida residents were more likely to

have read or heard about crocodile interactions with pets, people, and automobiles and

were twice as likely to know a friend or family member who had an encounter with a

crocodile than visitors to Florida. Few respondents indicated having pets or livestock

threatened or attacked by a crocodile.

The majority of respondents (53.4%) were classified as having a moderate level of

involvement with American crocodiles (Figure 1). Visitors to Florida had a higher

proportion of respondents in the no involvement category and a lower proportion of

respondents in the moderate category than permanent or seasonal Florida residents.

Visitors to Florida had no respondents in the very high category. Seasonal Florida

residents had a greater proportion of respondents in the moderate and very high

categories and a lower proportion of respondents in the no involvement and low

categories than permanent Florida residents. Permanent Florida residents, seasonal

Florida residents, and visitors to Florida had approximately equal proportions of

respondents in the high involvement category. The mean level of involvement for

respondents was 1.71 (SE = 0.062).












Table 4. Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida
that indicated they had various involvement with American crocodiles in south Florida.
Involvement Permanent Seasonal Visitor Combined
(n = 187) (n = 34) (n = 28) (n = 249)
Observed a crocodile in the wild 64.2 79.4 39.3 63.5
Read or heard of a crocodile being threatened or 28.9 35.3 28.6 29.7
attacked by people
Read or heard about pets being threatened or 24.1 32.4 21.4 24.9
attacked by a crocodile
Read or heard about other people being threatened 19.8 14.7 10.7 18.1
or attacked by a crocodile
Read or heard about a crocodile being killed by an 17.6 26.5 0.0 16.9
automobile
Know a friend, neighbor, or family member who 14.4 14.7 7.1 13.7
had an encounter with a crocodile
Observed, read, or heard about fish or crab traps 8.6 14.7 7.1 9.2
being raided by crocodiles
Have been personally threatened by a crocodile 3.7 5.9 0.0 3.6
Had a pet threatened or attacked by a crocodile 2.7 0.0 3.6 2.4
Had livestock threatened or attacked by a crocodile 2.1 2.9 3.6 2.4
Other types of experiences 2.1 2.9 0.0 2.0
a Includes observing a crocodile on television or in captivity.












10000-

9000%

80% -

70%-

60%0 [1ae Very High
0 High
50o% Moderate
2 Low
4000 O None

30O% -

20O%-

1000%

00%
Permanent Seasonal Visitor Combined
Florida Status


Figure 1. Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents,
seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida with various levels of
involvement with American crocodiles.

Correlations among variables are presented in Table 5 and correlations between


variables and demographics are presented in Table 6. Involvement with crocodiles had a


significant positive correlation with risk perceptions of crocodiles, income, and


community involvement. Permanent Florida residents (F2,246 = 4.070, p = 0.040) and


seasonal Florida residents (F2,246 = 4.070, p = 0.029) had higher levels of involvement


with crocodiles than visitors to Florida. Involvement with crocodiles did not differ


significantly between permanent Florida residents and seasonal Florida residents,


between males and females, or between respondents with and without children at home.












Table 5. Pearson correlation coefficients for the six main questionnaire variables.


Variablea


INVOLVE


INVOLVE


KNOWLEDGE


RELIEF

ATTITUDE


CPOP


FPOP


KNOWLEDGE RELIEF


0.043


0.147*


-0.160*


ATTITUDE


-0.028


0.241**


-0.454**


a INVOLVE = involvement with crocodiles, KNOWLEDGE = knowledge of crocodiles, RBELIEF = risk perceptions of crocodiles,
ATTITUDE = attitudes towards crocodiles, CPOP = perceptions of current crocodile population trends, and FPOP = preferences for
future crocodile population trends.
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).


CPOP

0.095


0.157*


0.104


0.000


FPOP


0.010


0.061


-0.461**


0.425**


-0.076









Table 6. Pearson correlation coefficients between the six main questionnaire variables
and age, education, income, and community involvement.

Community
Variablea Age Education Income involvement
INVOLVE 0.039 -0.023 0.139* 0.179**


KNOWLEDGE 0.080 0.087 0.113 0.082


RBELIEF -0.011 -0.049 0.044 0.035


ATTITUDE -0.209** 0.087 -0.081* -0.061


CPOP 0.204** 0.040 0.022 -0.086


FPOP -0.067 0.045 -0.108 0.002

a INVOLVE = involvement with crocodiles, KNOWLEDGE = knowledge of crocodiles,
RBELIEF = risk perceptions of crocodiles, ATTITUDE = attitudes towards crocodiles,
CPOP = perceptions of current crocodile population trends, and FPOP = preferences for
future crocodile population trends.
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Crocodile Knowledge

Nearly all respondents (91.2%) knew American crocodiles existed in Florida and

many (58.1%) were aware that the crocodile is federally-listed as endangered. Few

respondents (14.9%) thought the American crocodile is neither a threatened nor

endangered federally-listed species. Half of respondents (51.4%) believed the crocodile

occurs in Florida, Central America, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Only 18.0% knew the

crocodile occurs in both Florida and Central America. Most respondents (82.7%)

correctly identified that American crocodiles are found in brackish or saltwater estuaries.









Few (14.1%) thought crocodiles live in freshwater streams or lakes and almost none

(0.8%) thought crocodiles live in the open ocean.

The majority of respondents (60.2%) did not know if there has been a documented

American crocodile attack on a human in south Florida. Nearly one-fourth (22.9%)

believed there has been a documented attack and fewer (16.9%) proclaimed there has not

been one. The greatest proportion of people (40.2%) believed American crocodiles are

more aggressive than American alligators. One-fourth of respondents (24.4%) thought

the crocodile is less aggressive than the alligator and one-third (35.4%) believed the two

species to be equally aggressive.

The majority of respondents answered 1 (27.3%) or 2 (39.8%) of the 5 questions

regarding the status, habitat, and behavior of crocodiles correctly and 18.1% correctly

answered 3 questions. Few respondents (9.2%) answered 4 or 5 questions correctly and

less (5.6%) answered no questions correctly. The mean level of knowledge for

respondents was 1.98 (SE = 0.065). Knowledge of crocodiles had a significant negative

correlation with risk perceptions of crocodiles and a significant positive correlation with

attitudes towards crocodiles and perceptions of current crocodile population trends.

Knowledge of crocodiles did not differ significantly between permanent Florida

residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida, between males and females,

or between respondents with and without children at home.

Information Avenues

Overall, more people reported receiving information regarding American

crocodiles and American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from newspapers or

television news stations than state or federal agencies, non-profit organizations, or the

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during the six months prior to completing the









questionnaire (Table 7). Respondents were more than twice as likely to have obtained a

great deal of information regarding American crocodiles and American alligators from

newspapers or TV news stations than federal or state government or non-profit

organizations. The highest percentage of people indicated receiving a great amount of

information about American crocodiles from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Over

half of respondents reported hearing or seeing no information about the American

crocodile or American alligator from federal and state government, non-profit

organizations, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The mean level of information received by respondents from all sources was higher

for the American alligator than American crocodile for the six month period prior to

completing the questionnaire (Table 7). There is a significant difference in mean amount

of information received for the two species from newspapers or TV news stations (t =

2.74, p = .006) and from the federal government (t = 2.4, p = .014).

Most respondents indicated they would utilize wildlife television programs

(71.5%), the internet (67.5%), and books, magazines, or journals (62.2%) to learn more

about the American crocodile. A smaller number of respondents reported they would use

newspaper articles (21.3%) to find information on crocodiles and few indicated they

would seek information from non-profit organizations (12.9%) or government agencies

(12.4%).

Attitudes Towards American Crocodiles

Few respondents lacked an opinion on whether crocodiles could benefit the local

economy (6.4%), should have the right to exist wherever they may occur (4.4%), are an

unacceptable threat (6.0%), or are a likable species (7.6%). More respondents lacked an

opinion on whether the presence of crocodiles in Florida (18.5%) or near their home












Table 7. Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated they heard or saw various amounts of information about the American
crocodile and American alligator from different sources during the six months prior to completing the questionnaire.

Species Source None Little Moderate Considerable Great Meanb SE

Newspapers or TV news station 44.9 21.8 20.2 6.2 7.0 2.03 0.079
Federal government 66.7 17.0 6.5 3.0 1.3 1.44 0.056
American crocodile State government 62.8 22.5 8.2 3.5 3.0 1.62 0.065

Non-profit organization 59.4 18.8 12.4 6.8 2.6 1.70 0.070
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 53.6 19.2 12.1 6.7 8.4 1.91 0.084


American alligator


Newspapers or TV news station
Federal government
State government
Non-profit organization
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


31.1 24.6
61.0 20.3
57.8 19.1
56.2 18.9
50.6 18.7


25.4
12.6
13.5
14.6
17.0


2.34 0.080
1.64 0.064
1.77 0.072 0


1.80 0.074
1.94 0.082


a Date presented in this table should be interpreted with caution, because accurate steps were not taken to ensure respondents clearly
remembered or comprehended whether crocodiles or alligators (species similar in appearance) were represented in the media or other
information avenues.
b Scores were derived from a 5-point progressive scale, with 1 indicating no information received to 5 indicating a great deal of
information received.









(11.6%) increased quality of life or whether the presence of crocodiles signals a healthy

environment (10.8%) or decreases property value (13.7%). Nearly one-fourth (23.3%) of

respondents had no opinion on whether crocodiles threaten people's livelihoods by

raiding fish and crab traps.

Visitors to Florida were more likely to answer "No Opinion" to 5 or more questions

regarding attitudes towards crocodiles than permanent or seasonal Florida residents (X22

= 20.099, p < .001). Age, gender, children in household, education level, income level,

and community involvement did not affect the number of "No Opinion" responses to

questions regarding attitudes towards crocodiles.

Attitudes towards American crocodiles were generally favorable among

respondents who offered an opinion. Based upon a progressive scale from 1 to 5, where

1 was a very negative attitude and 5 was a very positive attitude, the mean score was

greater than 3.0 for eight of nine belief statements regarding American crocodiles in

south Florida (Table 8). Most respondents (72.5%) believed the presence of crocodiles

signals a healthy environment and many indicated having crocodiles in Florida increased

their quality of life. The majority of respondents (58.1%) did not consider crocodiles an

unacceptable threat to humans or pets and nearly half (46.7%) thought crocodiles should

have the right to exist wherever they may occur. However, over half (53.2%) expressed

concern about living close to crocodiles by disagreeing with the idea that overall quality

of life would increase if crocodiles resided near their home, and responses were divided

on whether the crocodile is a likable species and whether the presence of crocodiles

decreases property value. Most respondents (59.1%) did not believe crocodiles threaten












Table 8. Response of questionnaire participants to belief statements regarding American crocodiles in south Florida.
% response
Belief Statementsa Disagree Neither Agree Mean SE
The presence of crocodiles is a sign of a healthy environment 6.8 20.7 72.5 4.05 0.068
The presence of crocodiles in Florida increases my overall quality 19.2 36.9 43.9 3.37 0.083
of life
The presence of crocodiles near my home increases my overall
quality of life
The presence of crocodiles decreases property value 44.1 25.6 30.3 2.71b 0.091
Crocodiles could benefit the local economy by being a tourism 19.3 26.2 54.5 3.54 0.085
attraction
Crocodiles should have the right to exist wherever they may occur 29.4 23.9 46.7 3.32 0.091
Crocodiles are an unacceptable threat to humans and pets 58.1 21.4 20.5 2.41c 0.087
I think the crocodile is a likable species 27.4 31.3 41.3 3.20 0.085
Crocodiles threaten people's livelihoods by raiding fish and crab 59.1 26.2 14.7 d 0.092
traps
a Scores were derived from a 5-point progressive scale, where 1 indicated strong disagreement, 5 strong agreement, and 3 neither
agreement nor disagreement with the statement.
b,c,d Reverse coded values equal 3.29, 3.59, and 3.76, respectively.









people's livelihoods by raiding fish or crab traps and many (54.5%) supported the idea

that crocodiles could benefit the local economy by being a tourism attraction.

Attitudes towards crocodiles had a significant positive correlation with knowledge

of crocodiles and preferences for future crocodile population trends and a significant

negative correlation with risk perceptions of crocodiles, age, and income. Males (t247

2.414, p = 0.016) had more positive attitudes than females. Permanent Florida residents

had more positive attitudes towards crocodiles than seasonal Florida residents (F2,246

3.529, p = 0.037). Attitudes towards crocodiles did not differ significantly between

permanent Florida residents and visitors to Florida, between seasonal Florida residents

and visitors to Florida, or between respondents with and without children at home.

Acceptance of Management Tools

Most respondents deemed it acceptable to relocate an American crocodile if

discovered on a golf course (69.2%), on school property (80.5%), or in a swimming pool

(81.3%), but only 31% indicated relocation as acceptable if a crocodile is found where

people boat (Figure 2). Very few respondents considered euthanasia an acceptable

management tool for an American crocodile found on a golf course (4.5%), on school

property (11.4%), in a swimming pool (7.8%), or where people boat (6.1%, Figure 3).

Over half of respondents believed relocating a crocodile to be acceptable if the crocodile

kills or injures a pet or human, but fewer considered euthanasia an acceptable

management tool for crocodiles that kill or injure humans or pets.












10000

9000% -

8000% -

7000 -

6000% -
0 No Opinion
a 50%0 Unacceptable
U Acceptable
4000% -

3000% -

2000% -

1000% -

0%
Golf Course School Pool Boating Injures Pet Injures Kills Pet Kills Human
Area Human
Scenario

Figure 2. Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated relocation to be an
acceptable or unacceptable management tool for American crocodiles
involved in various scenarios.

Perceptions of Recent American Crocodile Population Trends

The greatest proportion of respondents (38.6%) believed the American crocodile


population in south Florida had increased during 1998-2003 (Figure 4). Over one-fourth


of respondents (28.9%) indicated they did not know what the population trend had been


over the previous 5 years and 22.1% believed the population had decreased. Few


respondents (10.4%) thought the American crocodile population had remained the same


from 1998-2003.


An equal proportion of permanent Florida residents and visitors to Florida believed


the American crocodile population had remained stable during the previous 5 years.


Visitors to Florida had nearly twice the proportion of respondents who did not know what


the population trend had been during 1998-2003 and approximately half the proportion of











100% -

900% -

800% -

7000% -

600o
O 0 No Opinion
50b% Unacceptable
Acceptable
400% -

300% -

20% -

10% -


Golf Course School Pool Boating Injures Pet Injures Kills Pet Kills Human
Area Human
Scenario

Figure 3. Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated euthanasia to be an
acceptable or unacceptable management tool for American crocodiles
involved in various scenarios.

respondents who believed the crocodile population had increased than permanent and


seasonal Florida residents. Permanent Florida residents and seasonal Florida residents


had roughly equal proportions of respondents who did not know what the population


trend had been or believed the population had increased over the previous five years.


Fewer proportion of visitors believed the American crocodile population had decreased


during 1998-2203 than permanent or seasonal Florida residents.


Perceptions of current crocodile population trends had a significant positive


correlation with knowledge of crocodiles and age and a significant association with


gender (21 = 5.829, p = 0.016). There was no significant association between


perceptions of current crocodile population trends and permanent Florida residents,











seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida or between perceptions of current


crocodile population trends and respondents with and without children at home.


1000%

9000%

8000%

70%

6000%
E Don't Know
P a S Increased
50% -
S0 Remained the Same
0 Decreased
4000% -

3000% -

2000 -

10% -


Permanent Seasonal Visitor Combined
Florida Status

Figure 4. Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents,
seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that believed the American
crocodile population in south Florida either increased, decreased, or remained
the same during 1998-2003.

Risk Beliefs about American Crocodiles

The proportions of respondents that answered "Don't Know" for questions about


personal risk (9.7%), community risk (11.3%), ability to live with risk (12.1%), and


voluntariness of risk (16.9%) were less than the proportions for questions regarding


knowledge of experts (27.4%) and association of benefits and risks (37.5%) from


American crocodiles. Some respondents were also unsure if encounters between


American crocodiles and humans are a new or an old event (27.4%) or if encounters are


increasing or decreasing (35.5%).









Older individuals (r = .217, p = .001) and those engaged in low community

involvement (r = -. 137, p = .031) were more likely to answer "Don't Know" to 5 or more

questions regarding risk beliefs of crocodiles than younger respondents or those engaged

in high community involvement. Residency status, gender, children in household,

education level, and income level did not affect the number of "Don't Know" responses

to questions regarding risk beliefs of crocodiles.

The majority of respondents who answered along the progressive scale did not

consider encounters between American crocodiles and people as something new, and

many did not perceive encounters to be increasing (Table 9). Very few respondents

believed they were personally at risk or that communities were at risk from American

crocodiles. Most respondents indicated they could learn to live with the risks and that

risks from crocodiles were generally accepted voluntarily. Many respondents felt that

experts adequately understood risks from crocodiles. A slight discrepancy existed

concerning people who benefit from American crocodiles and those who are exposed to

potential risks.

Risk perceptions of crocodiles had a significant positive correlation with

involvement with crocodiles and a significant negative correlation with knowledge of

crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, and preferences for future crocodile population

trends. Risk perceptions of crocodiles did not differ significantly between permanent

Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida, between males and

females, or between respondents with and without children at home.












Table 9. Response of questionnaire participants to semantic differential items related to risks from American crocodiles in south
Florida.
a Scaleb Semantic
Semantic Differential Item 1 2 3 4 5 Differential Itema Mean SE
1 2 3 4 5 Differential Itema Mean SE


Encounters between American crocodiles and
people are... New
The frequency of human-crocodile encounters
are... Increasing
You are personally at... No Risk
The community is at.... No Risk
You are... Able to
live with the risks associated with crocodiles
The risks from American crocodiles are
accepted... Voluntarily
The risks from crocodiles... Are
well understood by experts
The benefits and risks of American crocodiles to
people are... Matched


7.8 8.9 24.4 20.6 38.3


17.5
63.8
40.9
50.5



42.7
34.4


28.1
15.6
35.0
23.9



22.3
25.6


23.8
14.3
17.3
12.8



18.9
21.1


21.3
2.2
3.2
4.6


7.8 8.3
10.0 8.9


27.1 18.1 29.7 11.0 14.2


Old


3.73 0.095


Decreasing
Great Risk
Great Risk
Unable to


2.89
1.65
1.93
1.93


Involuntarily
Are not



Mismatched


2.17
2.33


0.110
0.068
0.068
0.079



0.090
0.096


2.67 0.109


a Respondents indicated the number between two words that best represented their opinion.
b Values given are percent response for each step along the progressive 1-5 scale.









Subjective Risk Perceptions of American Crocodiles

Subjective risk perceptions of American crocodiles were generally low. Nearly all

respondents believed getting into a motorcycle accident (82.7%), getting into a car

accident (81.1%), getting injured while working for a timber company (77.0%), and

dying as a result of cancer (70.8%) were more likely to occur than being attacked by an

American crocodile in south Florida (Table 10). Responses were divided on the

possibility of being attacked by an alligator versus a crocodile and 46.5% of respondents

felt getting attacked by a shark was more likely to occur than getting attacked by a

crocodile. Most respondents felt the likelihood of having an accident while driving a

tractor (69.1%) or becoming a murder victim (60.9%) was greater than being attacked by

an American crocodile in south Florida, and nearly one-half of respondents (46.1%)

considered getting into a commercial airline crash more likely to occur than being

attacked by a crocodile.

Table 10. Response of questionnaire participants to the likelihood of experiencing
various risks versus being attacked by an American crocodile.
% response
Risk More Likely Less Likely Unsure
Getting into an accident if you ride a
motorcycle
Getting into a car accident 81.1 13.6 5.3
Getting injured if you work for a timber
company
Dying as a result of cancer 70.8 16.4 12.8

Having an accident if you drive a tractor 69.1 18.6 12.3
Becoming a murder victim 60.9 19.3 19.8
Getting attacked by a shark 46.5 28.4 25.1

Getting into a commercial airline crash 46.1 34.1 19.8
Being attacked by an alligator 33.3 30.5 36.2









Factors Affecting Risk Beliefs about American Crocodiles

Regression analysis indicated attitudes toward crocodiles had a significant effect on

risk perceptions of crocodiles, in a model that explained 26.0% of the variance (Table

11). Since knowledge of crocodiles is not a significant predictor of risk perceptions, but

is negatively correlated with risk perceptions and is a significant predictor of attitudes

towards crocodiles (B = .102, p < .001), knowledge of crocodiles may have an indirect

effect on risk perceptions of crocodiles through attitudes towards crocodiles (Figure 5).

Next, a stepwise regression (p < 0.05 cutoff value) was run to identify variables

with maximum predictive power. Attitudes toward crocodiles formed the most

parsimonious model to predict risk perceptions of crocodiles, in a model that explained

23.0% of the variance. The coefficients for the regression equation, with SE in

parentheses, were RBELIEF(predicted) = 3.592 (0.301) 0.860 (0.142) ATTITUDE. People

who expressed negative attitudes towards crocodiles had the greatest probability of

considering crocodiles a high risk to humans.

Preferences for Future American Crocodile Population Trends

The greatest proportion of respondents (42.6%) indicated they wanted American

crocodile populations to increase over the next five years (Figure 6). Only 8.8%

expressed a preference for fewer crocodiles and over one-fourth of respondents (28.9%)

wanted populations to remain the same. Nearly 20% of respondents did not care whether

crocodile populations increased, decreased, or remained stable from 2004-2009.










Table 11. Regression model for prediction of risk perceptions of American crocodiles
RELIEFEF.
Variablea (R2 = .260, p< .001) B SEB p
INVOLVE 0.024 0.071 0.029
KNOWLEDGE 0.013 0.069 0.017
ATTITUDE -0.920 0.160 -0.513*
CPOP 0.196 0.157 0.109
Age -0.008 0.005 -0.156
Gender -0.029 0.150 -0.016
Education -0.014 0.053 -0.022
Children -0.039 0.150 -0.022
Income 0.005 0.053 0.008
Community involvement 0.061 0.058 0.067
a INVOLVE = involvement with crocodiles, KNOWLEDGE = knowledge of crocodiles,
ATTITUDE = attitudes towards crocodiles, and CPOP = perceptions of current crocodile
population trends.
p < .001.














.241 -.454
KNOWLEDGE .4 ATTITUDE -44 RELIEFF





Figure 5. Path diagram for risk perceptions of American crocodiles (RBELIEF), with
path coefficients added. KNOWLEDGE = knowledge of crocodiles and
ATTITUDE = attitudes towards crocodiles.







40



100%

9000% -

8000% -

7000% -

6000 -
El Don't Know
5 Increase
rEl Remain the Same
0 Decrease
4000

3000% -

2000% -

1000% -

00%
Permanent Seasonal Visitor Combined
Florida Status

Figure 6. Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents,
seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that revealed preferences for
a smaller, larger, or similar American crocodile population in south Florida
for 2004-2009.

Permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida had


nearly equal proportions of respondents who wanted American crocodile populations to


remain the same over the next five years. The proportion of people who preferred a


decrease in the crocodile population was greatest for seasonal Florida residents and least


for visitors to Florida. A greater proportion of permanent Florida residents desired a


larger crocodile population than seasonal Florida residents or visitors to Florida.


Seasonal Florida residents and visitors to Florida were more than twice as likely to lack


an opinion regarding future crocodile populations than permanent Florida residents.


Overall, 44.5% of respondents indicated it was important to them personally that


the actual American crocodile population trend match their expressed preference.









Approximately equal proportions of respondents did not have an opinion (19.7%) or

indicated it was unimportant (16.5%) to them that their preferences were not realized.

Permanent Florida residents (46.6%) and seasonal Florida residents (44.1%) were more

concerned that their preferred population trend matches the actual trend than visitors to

Florida (32.1%).

Factors Affecting Preferences for American Crocodile Populations

Logistic regression analysis indicated risk perceptions of crocodiles and attitudes

towards crocodiles had a significant effect on desired future crocodile population trends

in a model that predicted 94.0% of respondents' preference for future crocodile

population trends (Table 12). A stepwise regression (p < 0.05 cutoff value) was run to

identify variables with maximum predictive power. Risk perceptions of crocodiles and

attitudes toward crocodiles formed the most parsimonious model to predict desired future

crocodile population trends. The coefficients for the logistic regression equation, in

stepwise order with SE in parentheses, were log(P,)/(1- P,) = -0.706 (2.499) 1.502

(0.453) RBELIEF + 3.184 (1.297) ATTITUDE, where P, = probability that a respondent

will desire a stable or larger crocodile population.

The equation correctly predicted the desired future population trend for 53.3% of

respondents who chose a smaller crocodile population and 99.0% of respondents who

chose a stable or larger crocodile population. Overall, the equation predicted 94.0% of

respondents' preference for future crocodile population trends. People who believed

crocodiles presented a low risk to humans and expressed positive attitudes towards

crocodiles had the greatest probability of preferring a stable or increased future crocodile

population.









Table 12. Logisitc regression model for prediction of desired future American crocodile
population trends (FPOP).
Variablea (Nagelkerke R2 =.571, p < .001) B SE B Wald
INVOLVE -0.357 0.478 0.556
KNOWLEDGE 0.423 0.510 0.688
RBELIEF -1.652 0.505 10.701**
ATTITUDE 3.487 1.450 5.783*
CPOP 0.647 0.946 0.468
Age 0.032 0.032 1.006
Gender 0.420 1.007 0.174
Education -0.102 0.297 0.118
Children -0.496 0.896 0.307
Income -0.278 0.317 0.765
Community involvement 0.217 0.496 0.191
a INVOLVE = involvement with crocodiles, KNOWLEDGE = knowledge of crocodiles,
RBELIEF = risk perceptions of crocodiles, ATTITUDE = attitudes towards crocodiles,
and CPOP = perceptions of current crocodile population trends.
* p< .05. ** p .001.















DISCUSSION

South Florida residents and visitors generally have low risk perceptions of and

favorable attitudes towards American crocodiles. Many people perceive benefits from

crocodiles as indicated by the common response that crocodiles signify a healthy

environment and increase overall quality of life in Florida. Although over half of

respondents expressed concern about crocodiles living near their home, most did not feel

personally threatened by crocodiles. The acceptance capacity for crocodiles expressed by

many respondents was high. However, continued human population growth and

residential development in south Florida will increase potential for human-crocodile

encounters near human habitation. Effective methods for resolving these interactions, as

well as crocodile-related complaints, need to be developed.

Attitudes towards American crocodiles significantly influenced both risk

perceptions of and acceptance capacity for crocodiles. Ability to influence attitudes is a

complex and debated subject (Gardner and Stern 1996, Hines et al. 1986, Hungerford and

Volk 1990, Trumbo 1999). Simply providing more facts will not necessarily result in

more favorable attitudes (Reading and Kellert 1993). However, comprehensive

knowledge is a necessary condition for stable beliefs (Fischhoff 1995). Results from this

study indicate that high knowledge of crocodiles corresponds with positive attitudes

towards crocodiles. People with positive attitudes towards crocodiles were more likely to

have lower risk perceptions of and higher acceptance capacities for crocodiles. Overall

knowledge of crocodiles and information received regarding crocodiles was rather low,









indicating opportunity for outreach efforts to increase such knowledge. Most respondents

revealed they would utilize internet sources to learn more about American crocodiles.

The internet is very cost effective and likely the best method for presenting information

regarding crocodiles to a large number of people. Communication targeted towards

increasing knowledge of, and thus favorable attitudes towards, crocodiles will likely

reduce risk perceptions of and increase acceptance capacity for the crocodile (Knuth et al.

1992).

To further increase acceptance of American crocodiles, education campaigns need

to address risks of crocodiles as well as benefits crocodiles provide (Fischhoff 1995,

Knuth et al. 1992). Simply explaining that risks from crocodiles are low compared to

other generally accepted high risk activities, such as driving automobiles, will be

ineffective unless benefits from crocodiles are also represented (Fischhoff 1995). People

accept risks from driving automobiles because benefits received from the act are high.

To willingly accept low risks from crocodiles, people need to be aware of and appreciate

benefits from crocodiles. Results from this study are encouraging because the majority of

respondents consider risks from crocodiles to be low and benefits from crocodiles to be

rather high. A base of conservation-oriented values exists on which to build more

positive attitudes towards American crocodiles.

A "Not in my backyard!" attitude was detected though when respondents were

asked about quality of life regarding crocodiles near their home. Many respondents were

unaware there has never been a documented American crocodile attack on a human in

south Florida and believed crocodiles were more aggressive than alligators, which may

have contributed to concern for crocodiles near their home. Wildlife management has









traditionally used translocation to separate a potentially dangerous animal from situations

that may result in heightened concern among stakeholders (Riley et al. 1994). Most

respondents indicated translocation as an acceptable tool for American crocodiles found

near human habitation. Given the potential for injury or distress during relocation,

however, American crocodiles present a challenge to wildlife managers since federally-

listed species cannot be harmed under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Florida

residents, accustomed to having alligators promptly removed from private property, can

become alarmed if similar procedures are not applied to crocodiles.

Modification of human behaviors offers managers an alternative to direct removal

or relocation of crocodiles. Appropriate personal decisions can reduce personal risk far

greater than any government actions (Keeney 1995, Zeckhauser and Viscusi 1990). Just

as life can never be risk free, risks from crocodiles can not be eliminated (Keeney 1995).

There are, however, steps that can be taken to reduce personal risks from crocodiles (e.g.,

never feed crocodiles, do not discard fish scraps at boat ramps or near water's edge, do

not swim where crocodiles live, fencing). Educational programs aimed at teaching

appropriate behavior in the presence of crocodiles can lead to feelings of empowerment

and a sense of security, subsequently reducing risk perceptions of crocodiles. Effort

directed towards ameliorating voluntary risks (Zeckhauser and Viscusi 1990) can have

more impact than removing or relocating crocodiles.

Respondents indicated receiving more information regarding American crocodiles

from newspapers or television news stations than any other information source provided.

Mass media influence is an important consideration for forming attitudes and risk

perceptions (Coleman 1993, Park et al. 2001). Television reports that convey negative or









dangerous events can result in increased levels of fear among some audience members

(Coleman 1993). Negative events carry greater weight, are more visible or noticeable,

and are more likely to have a powerful effect than positive events (Slovic 1993). Given

that most of what the media reports is negative (Slovic 1993), and that respondents

obtained most of their information about crocodiles from mass media sources, concern

for negative mass media messages producing negative attitudes towards crocodiles exists.

The current study did not confirm if information received by respondents was

positive or negative, however. Future studies clearly testing the effects of negative media

messages on risk perceptions of crocodiles, or other potentially dangerous animals, would

enhance findings of this study. Since some individuals use expert opinion and perceived

social consensus to make risk judgments (Trumbo 1999), and respondents indicated a

high level of trust in expert opinion, media reports and education campaigns that reveal

south Florida residents, visitors, and experts low risk judgments of crocodiles could

combat negative media messages and decrease risk perceptions of crocodiles.

Findings from this study are consistent with Riley and Decker (2000b) who studied

acceptance capacity for mountain lions. Risk perceptions and attitudes were significant

predictors of desired future population trends in both studies. This study, however, did

not find a correlation between perceptions of current population trends and acceptance

capacity for the crocodile. Demographic variables can significantly affect perceptions of

and attitudes towards large predators (Kellert 1985b, Kellert and Berry 1987, Kleiven et

al. 2004). Riley and Decker (2000b), however, found children in household, gender, and

level of formal education did not significantly contribute to acceptance capacity for

mountain lions. Demographic variables did not affect risk perceptions of or acceptance









capacity for the crocodile. Males, younger persons, and those with lower incomes

expressed more positive attitudes towards crocodiles.

This study provides initial insights into factors affecting risk perceptions of and

acceptance capacity for the American crocodile in south Florida. Educational programs

that teach appropriate behavior in the presence of crocodiles, address risks and benefits of

crocodiles, increase knowledge of crocodiles, and reveal that south Florida residents,

visitors, and experts perceive low risks from crocodiles will be most effective for

increasing positive attitudes towards crocodiles. Individuals with favorable attitudes

towards American crocodiles will more likely support measures to recover and protect

this endangered species than those possessing negative attitudes (Hungerford and Volk

1990, Stern 2000). Education campaigns should be delivered not only to adults, but to

children as well, since life-long attitudes and behaviors towards animals are largely based

on childhood experiences (Kidd and Kidd 1985). Children must be better taught to value

all life, especially wild animal life, if biodiversity is to be maintained and if endangered

species are to be adequately protected (Kidd and Kidd 1996). An education campaign

targeted at reducing risk perceptions of and increasing acceptance capacity for the

American crocodile in south Florida needs to be designed, implemented, and assessed to

better understand effects of communication and to further promote conservation and

recovery of this endangered species.














APPENDIX A
THE INFORMED CONSENT PROCESS USED FOR INDIVIDUALS
PARTICIPATING IN THE PRELIMINARY INTERVIEWS.

Hello, my name is Jodie Smithem. I am a graduate student at the University of

Florida working with Dr. Frank Mazzotti. We hope to understand public knowledge,

attitudes, and perceptions of the American crocodile in South Florida through information

obtained by participants filling out a questionnaire. To aid in the questionnaire

development, preliminary interviews will be conducted. The interview takes

approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. Your participation in this study is completely

voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. You have the right to withdraw from

the study at any time without consequence. You do not have to answer any question you

do not wish to answer. You will not be compensated for participating in this study and

we do not anticipate that you will benefit or be harmed directly by participating in this

study. Your identity will be kept completely confidential. We do not ask for your name

at any time during the interview and, therefore, your name will not be associated with

your responses. If you have any questions regarding the study, you may contact Dr.

Frank Mazzotti at the Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, 3205 College

Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314, phone number 954-577-6304. If you have any

questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant in the study, you may

contact the University of Florida's Institutional Review Board at PO Box 112250,

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, phone number 352-392-0433. Would you

like to participate in the study by being interviewed?














APPENDIX B
THE INFORMED CONSENT PROCESS USED FOR INDIVIDUALS
COMPLETING THE QUESTIONNAIRE.

Hello, my name is Jodie Smithem. I am a graduate student at the University of

Florida working with Dr. Frank Mazzotti. We hope to understand public knowledge,

attitudes, and perceptions of the American crocodile in South Florida through information

obtained by participants filling out a questionnaire. The questionnaire takes

approximately 15 minutes to complete. Your participation in this study is completely

voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. You have the right to withdraw from

the study at any time without consequence. You do not have to answer any question you

do not wish to answer. You will not be compensated for participating in this study and

we do not anticipate that you will benefit or be harmed directly by participating in this

study. Your identity will be kept completely confidential. We do not ask for your name

anywhere on the questionnaire and, therefore, your name will not be associated with your

responses. If you have any questions regarding the study, you may contact Dr. Frank

Mazzotti at the address or phone number listed on the questionnaire. If you have any

questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant in the study, you may

contact the University of Florida's Institutional Review Board at the address or phone

number listed on the questionnaire. Would you like to participate in the study by

completing a questionnaire?














APPENDIX C
THE SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE USED FOR INQUIRY INTO THE
BELIEFS, ATTITUDES, RISK PERCEPTIONS, AND CROCODILE POPULATION
PREFERENCES OF STAKEHOLDERS IN SOUTH FLORIDA BY JODIE L.
SMITHEM FOR HER 2003-2004 MASTER'S THESIS.









Interviewer
Location
Date



American Crocodiles in South Florida:


A Survey of Your Views


American crocodile


American alligator


Your responses will remain anonymous
and will never be associated with your name.



This questionnaire is part of a study to assist biologists and wildlife managers with
making decisions about American crocodiles in south Florida. Your views are very
important to us and will contribute to how American crocodile management and recovery
efforts are conducted. The questionnaire should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.




THANK YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE!













American Crocodiles in South Florida:


A Survey of Your Views



This survey is conducted by:


University of Florida
School of Natural Resources and Environment
103 Black Hall, PO Box 116455
Gainesville, FL 32611

and

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
South Florida Field Office
1339 20th Street
Vero Beach, FL 32960


Research Participant Rights

If you have any questions regarding this survey, please write Frank J. Mazzotti, Associate
Professor, University of Florida, Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, 3205
College Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 33314, or call him at 954-577-6304.

If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant in this
study, please write the University of Florida's Institutional Review Board at PO Box
112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, or call 352-392-0433.









WILDLIFE AND YOU:

1. The following is a list of some activities that bring people into contact with
wildlife. Please indicate which of the following activities you, or members of your
household, participate in regularly. (Please check [/] ALL statements that apply.)


Yourself


a. B ird w atch .................................................
b. Read about wildlife ..................... .................
c. Watch wildlife TV programs, videos, or movies ....
d. Visit zoos or aquariums ...... .. .......
e. Hike in south Florida natural areas ............
f. Bike in south Florida natural areas ...............
g. Boat in south Florida natural areas ...............
h. Observe or study wildlife outdoors ............
i. Work on a farm or ranch ...... .. .......
j. Fish in south Florida natural areas ........... ...
k. Other activities


Others in your
household
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]


2. How much information about the American crocodile have you seen or heard
during the last six months from each of the following? (Please circle a number for
each source.)


Newspapers or TV news stations?
The federal government?
State government?
Non-profit organizations?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?


Absolutely none
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3


A great deal
5
5
5
5
5


3. How much information about the American alligator have you seen or heard
during the last six months from each of the following? (Please circle a number for
each source.)


Newspapers or TV news stations?
The federal government?
State government?
Non-profit organizations?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?


Absolutely none
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3


A great deal
5
5
5
5
5









4. If you wanted to learn more about the American crocodile, which of the following
sources would you utilize to find information? (Please check [/] ALL that apply.)


Books, magazines, or journals ...... [ ]
Newspaper articles ................. [ ]
Wildlife TV programs ............. [ ]


The internet ................. [ ]
Government agencies ........ [ ]
Non-profit organizations .... [ ]


WILDLIFE KNOWLEDGE:

5. Before receiving this questionnaire, did you know that American crocodiles live
in south Florida?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No


6. Please circle the answer that you believe is correct for each of the following
questions.

A. The American crocodile is a federally-listed:
a) endangered species
b) threatened species
c) neither endangered nor threatened species

B. The American crocodile occurs in Florida and:
a) Central America
b) Louisiana
c) Mississippi
d) all of the above
e) none of the above


C. Generally, American crocodiles are
a) more aggressive than
b) less aggressive than
c) just as aggressive as


American alligators.









D. Typically, American crocodiles are found in:
a) the open ocean
b) freshwater streams or lakes
c) brackish or saltwater estuaries
d) none of the above


E. Has there been a documented American crocodile attack on a human in south Florida?
a) Yes
b) No
c) Don't Know


CROCODILES AND YOU:

7. Please indicate which, if any, of the following types of interactions with American
crocodiles you or members of your household have experienced. (Please check [/]
ALL that apply.)

Yourself Others in your
household
a. Observed a crocodile in the wild (i.e., anywhere
other than captivity) ...................... [ ] [ ]
b. Read or heard of a crocodile being threatened or
attacked by people ....................................... .[ ] [ ]
c. Had a pet threatened or attacked by a crocodile ...... [ ] [ ]
d. Had livestock threatened or attacked by a
crocodile ................. . ..... ........ .[ ] [ ]
e. Have been personally threatened by a crocodile ...... [ ] [ ]
f. Read or heard about pets being threatened or
attacked by a crocodile ......................... ........ [ ] [ ]
g. Observed, read, or heard about fish or crabs traps
being raided by crocodiles ............ ... ....... [ ] [ ]
h. Read or heard about other people being threatened
or attacked by a crocodile .............................. [ ] [ ]
i. Know a friend, neighbor, or family member who
had an encounter with a crocodile ........... ...... [ ] [ ]
j. Read or heard about a crocodile being killed by
an autom obile ............... ......... ........ [ ] [ ]
k. Other types of experiences: [ ] [ ]










8. Encounters between American crocodiles and people carry some level of risk to
people, pets, or livestock. The following questions are designed to help us better
understand your opinions about crocodile-human encounters in south Florida.


On a scale from 1-to-5 please circle the number between the two words in each row that
most closely represents your opinion. DK = Don't Know

a. Are encounters between American crocodiles and people a new event, or an old event
that has been occurring for a long time in south Florida?


A new event


1 2 3 4 5 An old event


b. Are crocodile-human encounters increasing or decreasing in south Florida?


Increasing


1 2 3 4 5 Decreasing


c. To what extent do you believe that you are personally at risk from American
crocodiles?


I am at no risk


1 2 3 4 5 I am at great risk


d. To what extent do you believe that American crocodiles pose a risk to communities?


Community is at
no risk


1 2 3 4 5 Community is at
great risk


e. Are the risks associated with American crocodiles something people will be able to
learn to live with, or are the risks something people will be unable to learn to live with
over time?


Able to learn to
live with the risks


1 2 3 4 5 Unable to learn to
live with the risks


f. Are the risks from American crocodiles generally accepted voluntarily that is, can
people make choices about being exposed to the risks or are the risks accepted
involuntarily?


Risks accepted
voluntarily


1 2 3 4 5 Risks accepted
involuntarily









g. To what extent are the risks associated with having crocodiles in Florida understood
by experts?


Not well
understood


1 2 3 4 5 Well understood


h. Are the people who benefit from American crocodiles the same people who are
exposed to the potential risks of living with American crocodiles?


Benefits and risks
are matched


1 2 3 4 5 Benefits and risks
are mismatched


9. For each of the following scenarios, please indicate if you believe relocating
(i.e., moving) American crocodiles would be an acceptable or an unacceptable
management tool. Acceptable Unacceptable No
Tool Tool Opinion
Crocodile is found on a golf course .......... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile is found on school property ...... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile is found in a swimming pool ..... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile is found where people boat....... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile attacks and injures a pet .......... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile attacks and injures a human ...... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile attacks and kills a pet ............ [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile attacks and kills a human ......... [ ] [ ] [ ]


10. For each of the following scenarios, please indicate if you believe euthanizing
(i.e., killing) American crocodiles would be an acceptable or an unacceptable
management tool. Acceptable Unacceptable No
Tool Tool Opinion
Crocodile is found on a golf course .......... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile is found on school property ...... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile is found in a swimming pool ..... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile is found where people boat...... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile attacks and injures a pet .......... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile attacks and injures a human ...... [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile attacks and kills a pet ............ [ ] [ ] [ ]
Crocodile attacks and kills a human ......... [ ] [ ] [ ]






58



11. People in Florida have many different opinions about American crocodiles. To
what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? (Please
circle the number that best represents your response to each statement.)


1 = Disagree Strongly
2 = Disagree


3 = Neither Agree nor Disagree
4 = Agree


5 = Agree Strongly
6 = No Opinion


a. The presence of crocodiles is a sign
of a healthy environment ................

b. The presence of crocodiles in Florida
increases my overall quality of life .....

c. The presence of crocodiles near my
home increases my overall quality
of life ............................. ........

d. The presence of crocodiles decreases
property value .............................

e. Crocodiles could benefit the local
economy by being a tourism attraction ..

f. Crocodiles should have the right to
exist wherever they may occur .........

g. Crocodiles are an unacceptable threat
to humans and pets ................. ...

h. I think the crocodile is a likable
species ............................ .......

i. Crocodiles threaten people's
livelihoods by raiding fish and
crab traps ...............................


Disagree Agree
Strongly Strongly

1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5



1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5


No
Opinion











12. This question is designed to help us better understand your perceptions about
the possibility of you being attacked by an American crocodile while living in or
visiting south Florida. Do you believe each of the following is more likely or less
likely to occur to you than being attacked by an American crocodile in south
Florida? (Please circle only ONE response for each item.)



Example: A person was asked to indicate if she thought the possibility of getting struck by lightning was
more or less likely to occur to her than being attacked by an American crocodile in south Florida. She
thought the possibility of getting struck by lightning was more likely to occur to her than being attacked by
an American crocodile, so she circled "More Likely."


The possibility of..


... is...


Getting into a car accident Likely Likely Unsure

Getting injured if you work for a timber More Less
company Likely Likely Unsure

Getting into an accident if you ride a More Less
motorcycle Likely Likely Unsure

More Less
Being attacked by an alligator Likely Likely Unsure

More Less
Having an accident if you drive a tractor Likely Likely Unsure
LkMore Less

Getting into a commercial airline crash Likre Likelyss Unsure
More Less
Getting attacked by a shark Likely Likely Unsure

SMore Less Unsure
Dying as a result of cancer Likely Likely Unsure


Becoming a murder victim Unsure


More
Likely


Less
Likely


... to occur to you than the
possibility of being attacked by
an American crocodile in
south Florida.


Becoming a murder victim


Unsure








CROCODILE POPULATIONS:

Please answer the following questions based on your opinion.

13. How has the American crocodile population in south Florida changed during
the past five years? (Please check [/] only ONE of the following statements.)

[ ] Decreased Greatly
[ ] Decreased Somewhat
[ ] Remained the Same
[ ] Increased Somewhat
[ ] Increased Greatly
[ ] No Opinion


14. Do you want the American crocodile population in south Florida to increase,
decrease, or remain at its current level over the next five years? (Please check [V]
only ONE of the following statements.)

[ ] Decrease Greatly
[ ] Decrease Somewhat
[ ] Remain at its Current Level
[ ] Increase Somewhat
[ ] Increase Greatly
[ ] No Opinion


15. How important is it to you personally that the American crocodile population
trend match your response to question 14? (Please check [/] only ONE of the
following statements.)

[ ] Very Unimportant
[ ] Somewhat Unimportant
[ ] Neither Important nor Unimportant
[ ] Somewhat Important
[ ] Very Important
[ ] No Opinion










BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

16a. Are you a: Permanent Florida resident [ ]
Seasonal Florida resident [ ]
Visitor to Florida [ ]

16b. If you are a permanent Florida resident, how many years have you lived in
Florida? __ years

16c. If you are a seasonal Florida resident or a visitor to Florida, what is your
permanent residence?
city state country
17. Are you: [ ] Male
[ ] Female

18. What is your age?

19. Are you Hispanic or Latino? (Please check [/] only ONE.)
Yes Hispanic or Latino
No Not Hispanic or Latino

20. What is your race? (Please check [V] one or more races to indicate what you
consider yourself to be. Please leave blank if you feel none apply to you.)
[ ] American Indian or Alaska Native [ ] Native Hawaiian or other Pacific
[ ] Asian Islander
[ ] Black or African American [ ] White

21. What is your highest level of formal education? (Please check [/] only ONE.)
[ ] Some high school [ ] College graduate
[ ] High school diploma or equivalent [ ] Some graduate school
[ ] Some college [ ] Graduate degree or beyond


22. How many children under the age of 18 currently live in your household?
(Please indicate the age of each child.)


23. Do you have any pets at home? If yes, please list the number and type of pets.








24. Please indicate your household average income in 2003 before taxes. (Please
check [V] only ONE.)
[ ] Under $20,000 [ ] $60,000 $99,999
[ ] $20,000 $39,999 [ ] $100,000 $500,000
[ ] $40,000 $59,999 [ ] Over $500,000


25. What is your occupation?


26. What types of local organizations do you belong to? (Please check [/] ALL that
apply.)
[ ] Civic or social (Example: Rotary Club)
[ ] Church or religious
[ ] Environmental (Example: Audubon Society)
[ ] School-based (Example: PTA)

27. Please use the space below for any additional comments you wish to make
regarding crocodiles or this survey.


THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND HELP!















LIST OF REFERENCES


Alreck, P.L. and R.B. Settle. 1995. The survey research handbook: Guidelines and
strategies for conducting a survey. Second edition. Irwin, Chicago, Illinois.

Bord, R.J., R.E. O'Connor, and A. Fisher. 2000. In what sense does the public need to
understand global climate change? Public Understanding of Science 9(3):205-
218.

Butler, J.S., J.E. Shanahan, and D.J. Decker. 2001. Wildlife attitudes and values: A
trend analysis. Human Dimensions Research Unit, Series No. 01-4. Department
of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

Carpenter, L.H., Decker, D.J., and J.F. Lipscomb. 2000. Stakeholder acceptance
capacity in wildlife management. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 5:5-19.

Coleman, C.L. 1993. The influence of mass media and interpersonal communication on
societal and personal risk judgments. Communication Research 20(4):611-628.

Craven, S.R., D.J. Decker, W.F. Siemer, and S.E. Hygnstrom. 1992. Survey use and
landowner tolerance in wildlife damage management. Transactions of the North
American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference 57:75-88.

Decker, D.J. 1994. What are we learning from human dimensions studies in
controversial wildlife situations? Occasional Paper Series No. 21, Colorado
Division of Wildlife, Denver, Colorado.

Decker, D.J. and K.G. Purdy. 1988. Toward a concept of wildlife acceptance capacity in
wildlife management. Wildlife Society Bulletin 16:53-57.

Decker, D. J., C. C. Krueger, R. A. Baer Jr., B. A. Knuth, and M E. Richmond. 1996.
From clients to stakeholders: a philosophical shift for fish and wildlife
management. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 1:70-82.

Decker, D.J. and L.C. Chase. 1997. Human dimensions of living with wildlife-a
management challenge for the 21st century. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25(4):788-
795.

Dillman, D.A., D.E. Dolsen, and G.E. Machlis. 1995. Increasing response to personally-
delivered mail-back questionnaires by combining foot-in-door and social
exchange methods. Journal of Official Statistics 11(2): 129-139.









Drake, D. and E.J. Jones. 2002. Forest management decisions of North Carolina
landowners relative to the red-cockaded woodpecker. Wildlife Society Bulletin
30(1): 121-130.

Dunlap, R.E. and K.D. Van Liere. 1978. The New Environmental Paradigm: A
proposed measuring instrument and preliminary results. Journal of
Environmental Education 9(4): 10-19.

Dunlap, R.E., K.D. Van Liere, A.G. Mertig, and R.E. Jones. 2000. Measuring
endorsement of the New Ecological Paradigm: A revised NEP scale. Journal of
Social Issues 56(3):425-442.

Fischhoff, B. 1995. Risk perception and communication unplugged: Twenty years of
process. Risk Analysis 15(2):137-145.

Federal Register 40:44149. 1975. Lists of endangered and threatened fauna.

Gardner, G.T. and P.C. Stern. 1996. Environmental problems and human behavior.
Allyn and Bacon, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Hines, J.M., H.R. Hungerford, and A.N. Tomera. 1986/87. Analysis and synthesis of
research on responsible environmental behavior: A meta-analysis. Journal of
Environmental Education 18(2): 1-8.

Hungerford, H.R. and T.L. Volk. 1990. Changing learner behavior through
environmental education. Journal of Environmental Education 21(3): 8-22.

Hunter, L.M. and L. Rinner. 2004. The association between environmental perspective
and knowledge and concern with species diversity. Society and Natural
Resources 17:517-532.

Jacobson, S.K. and S.B. Marynowski. 1997. Public attitudes and knowledge about
ecosystem management on Department of Defense land in Florida. Conservation
Biology 11(3):770-781.

Keeney, R.L. 1995. Understanding life-threatening risks. Risk Analysis 15(6):627-637.

Kellert, S.R. 1985a. Social and perceptual factors in endangered species management.
Journal of Wildlife Management 49(2):528-536.

Kellert, S.R. 1985b. Public perceptions of predators, particularly the wolf and coyote.
Biological Conservation 31:167-189.

Kellert, S.R. and J.K. Berry. 1987. Attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors toward wildlife
as affected by gender. Wildlife Society Bulletin 15:363-371.









Kellert, S.R., Black, M., Rush, C.R., and A.J. Bath. 1996. Human culture and large
carnivore conservation in North America. Conservation Biology 10(4):977-990.

Kempton, W. 1991. Lay perspectives on global climate change. Global Environmental
Change 1(3):183-209.

Kidd, A.H. and R.M. Kidd. 1985. Children's attitudes toward their pets. Psychological
Reports 57:15-31.

Kidd, A.H. and R.M. Kidd. 1996. Developmental factors leading to positive attitudes
toward wildlife and conservation. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 47:119-125.

Kleiven, J., T. Bjerke, and B.P. Kaltenborn. 2004. Factors influencing the social
acceptability of large carnivore behaviours. Biodiversity and Conservation
13:1647-1658.

Knuth, B.A., R.J. Stout, W.F. Siemer, D.J. Decker, and R.C. Stedman. 1992. Risk
management concepts for improving wildlife population decisions and public
communication strategies. Transactions of the North American Wildlife and
Natural Resources Conference 57:63-74.

Manly, B.F.J. 1986. Multivariate statistical methods: A primer. Chapman and Hall,
New York, New York.

Mazzotti, F.J. and M.S. Cherkiss. 2003. Status and Conservation of the American
Crocodile in Florida: Recovering an Endangered Species While Restoring an
Endangered Ecosystem. Technical Report. 41 pp.

McClelland, G.H., W.D. Schulze, and B. Hurd. 1990. The effect of risk beliefs on
property values: A case study of a hazardous waste site. Risk Analysis 10(4):485-
497.

Miller, K.K. and T.K. McGee. 2000. Sex differences in values and knowledge of
wildlife in Victoria, Australia. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 5(2):54-68.

Miller, K.K. and T.K. McGee. 2001. Toward incorporating human dimensions
information into wildlife management decision-making. Human Dimensions of
Wildlife 6:205-221.

National Environmental Education and Training Foundation (NEETF). 1999. The eighth
annual national report card on environmental attitudes, knowledge, and behavior.
Roper-Starch Worldwide, Washington, D.C., USA.

Park, E., C.W. Scherer, and C.J. Glynn. 2001. Community involvement and risk
perception at personal and societal levels. Health, Risk, and Society 3(3):281-
292.









Reading, R.P. and S.R. Kellert. 1993. Attitudes toward a proposed reintroduction of
black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes). Conservation Biology 7(3):569-580.

Riley, S.J. 1998. Integration of environmental, biological, and human dimensions for
management of cougars (Puma concolor) in Montana. PhD Dissertation, Cornell
University, Ithaca, New York.

Riley, S. J. and D.J. Decker. 2000a. Risk perception as a factor in wildlife stakeholder
acceptance capacity for cougars in Montana. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 5:
50-62.

Riley, S. J. and D.J. Decker. 2000b. Wildlife stakeholder acceptance capacity for
cougars in Montana. Wildlife Society Bulletin 28(4):931-939.

Riley, S.J., R.D. Mace, and M. Madel. 1994. Translocation of nuisance grizzly bears in
northwestern Montana. International Conference on Bear Research and
Management 9(1):567-573.

Riley, S. J., D.J. Decker, L.H. Carpenter, J.F. Organ, W.F. Siemer, G.F. Mattfeld, and G.
Parsons. 2002. The essence of wildlife management. Wildlife Society Bulletin
30(2):585-593.

Siemer, W.F. and D.J. Decker. 2003. 2002 New York State black bear management
survey: Study overview and findings highlight. Human Dimensions Research
Unit, Series No. 03-6. Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University,
Ithaca, New York.

Sinclair, J., F. Mazzotti, and J. Graham. 2003. Motives to seek threatened and
endangered species information for land-use decisions. Science Communication
25(1):39-55.

Slovic, P. 1987. Perception of risk. Science 236:280-285.

Slovic, P. 1993. Perceived risk, trust, and democracy. Risk Analysis 13(6):675-682.

Steele. J., L. Bourke, A.E. Luloff, P.S. Liao, G.L. Theodori, and R.S. Krannich. 2001.
The drop-off/pick-up method for household survey research. Journal of the
Community Development Society 32(2):238-250.

Stern, P.C. 2000. Toward a coherent theory of environmentally significant behavior.
Journal of Social Issues 56(3):407-424.

Stout, R. J., B. A. Knuth, and P. D. Curtis. 1997. Preferences of suburban landowners
for deer management techniques: a step towards better communication. Wildlife
Society Bulletin 25:348-359.









Tisdell, C. and C. Wilson. 2004. The public's knowledge of and support for
conservation of Australia's tree-kangaroos and other animals. Biodiversity and
Conservation 13:2339-2359.

Trumbo, C.W. 1999. Heuristic-systematic information processing and risk judgment.
Risk Analysis 19(3):391-400.

U.S. Census Bureau. 2003. http://www.census.gov. Last accessed March 2005.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1999. South Florida multi-species recovery plan.
Atlanta, Georgia. 2172 pp.

von Winterfeldt, D., R.S. John, and K. Borcherding. 1981. Cognitive components of risk
ratings. Risk Analysis 1(4):277-287.

Weigel, R. and J. Weigel. 1978. Environmental concern: The development of a measure.
Environment and Behavior 10(1):3-15.

Zeckhauser, R.J. and W.K. Viscusi. 1990. Risk within reason. Science 248:559-248.

Zinn, H.C. and C.L. Pierce. 2002. Values, gender, and concern about potentially
dangerous wildlife. Environment and Behavior 34(2): 239-256.

Zinn, H.C., M.J. Manfredo, and J.J. Vaske. 2000. Social psychological bases for
stakeholder acceptance capacity. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 5:20-33.















BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Jodie Lynn Smithem was born June 28, 1979, in Gaylord, Michigan, to Michael

Craig Smithem and Beth Eileen Smithem. She spent her formative years in Naples,

Florida, graduating from Barron Collier High School in 1997. Jodie earned her

bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology and conservation from the University of Florida in

2001. She then worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Vero Beach, Florida,

until August 2002. After spending one semester at Florida Atlantic University, Jodie

returned to the University of Florida in January of 2003 to pursue graduate studies.




Full Text

PAGE 1

RISK PERCEPTIONS OF AND ACCEPTANCE CAPACITY FOR THE AMERICAN CROCODILE ( Crocodylus acutus) IN SOUTH FLORIDA By JODIE LYNN SMITHEM A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

PAGE 2

Copyright 2005 by Jodie Lynn Smithem

PAGE 3

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I first want to thank my committee members, Frank Mazzotti, Glenn Israel, and Janas Sinclair, for providing invaluable assistance and advice for this study. I would also like to acknowledge my friends in the Vero Beach office for their encouragement and support. I will forever be grateful to Shawn J. Riley for his human dimensions study on mountain lions. His study truly inspired and directed me to seek similar information for the American crocodile. I also have great respect for Stephen R. Kellert, Daniel J. Decker, and all the other pioneers of human dimensions work. Thanks go to Black Point Marina, Homestead Bayfront Park, and Ocean Reef Club for use of their property as study sites. Jocie Graham and Alicia Weinstein were instrumental in compiling the questionnaires used in this study. Alicia Dunne assisted with data collection at Black Point Marina and Valerie Morgan assisted with data collection at Homestead Bayfront Park. Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge provided housing during data collection at Ocean Reef Club. I thank the University of Florida and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for providing project support. Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for their love and support. I would also like to thank my dog, Casey, for being by my side and making me smile through it all. iii

PAGE 4

TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES .............................................................................................................vi LIST OF FIGURES ..........................................................................................................vii INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................................1 Stakeholder Considerations ..........................................................................................2 Conceptual Framework .................................................................................................5 Study Purpose ...............................................................................................................7 METHODS ..........................................................................................................................9 Questionnaire Development .........................................................................................9 Questionnaire Content ................................................................................................10 Questionnaire Administration .....................................................................................14 Statistical Procedures ..................................................................................................16 RESULTS ..........................................................................................................................19 Survey Response .........................................................................................................19 Involvement with Wildlife and American Crocodiles ................................................19 Crocodile Knowledge .................................................................................................25 Information Avenues ..................................................................................................26 Attitudes Towards American Crocodiles ....................................................................27 Acceptance of Management Tools .............................................................................31 Perceptions of Recent American Crocodile Population Trends .................................32 Risk Beliefs about American Crocodiles ....................................................................34 Subjective Risk Perceptions of American Crocodiles ................................................37 Factors Affecting Risk Beliefs about American Crocodiles .......................................38 Preferences for Future American Crocodile Population Trends .................................38 Factors Affecting Preferences for American Crocodile Populations .........................41 DISCUSSION ....................................................................................................................43 iv

PAGE 5

APPENDIX A THE INFORMED CONSENT PROCESS USED FOR INDIVIDUALS PARTICIPATING IN THE PRELIMINARY INTERVIEWS .................................48 B THE INFORMED CONSENT PROCESS USED FOR INDIVIDUALS COMPLETING THE QUESTIONNAIRE ................................................................49 C THE SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE USED FOR INQUIRY INTO THE BELIEFS, ATTITUDES, RISK PERCEPTIONS, AND CROCODILE POPULATION PREFERENCES OF STAKEHOLDERS IN SOUTH FLORIDA ..50 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................63 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................68 v

PAGE 6

LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 Principal component analysis for response of questionnaire participants to semantic differential items related to risks from American crocodiles in south Florida......................................................................................................................13 2 Principal component analysis for response of questionnaire participants to belief statements regarding American crocodiles in south Florida....................................14 3 Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that indicated they participate in various outdoor and wildlife-related activities.....................................................20 4 Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that indicated they had various involvement with American crocodiles in south Florida.........................................22 5 Pearson correlation coefficients for the six main questionnaire variables...............24 6 Pearson correlation coefficients between the six main questionnaire variables and age, education, income, and community involvement......................................25 7 Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated they heard or saw various amounts of information about the American crocodile and American alligator from different sources..............................................................................................28 8 Response of questionnaire participants to belief statements regarding American crocodiles in south Florida.......................................................................................30 9 Response of questionnaire participants to semantic differential items related to risks from American crocodiles in south Florida.....................................................36 10 Response of questionnaire participants to the likelihood of experiencing various risks versus being attacked by an American crocodile............................................37 11 Regression model for prediction of risk perceptions of American crocodiles.........39 12 Logisitc regression model for prediction of desired future American crocodile population trends......................................................................................................42 vi

PAGE 7

LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida with various levels of involvement with American crocodiles....................................................................23 2 Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated relocation to be an acceptable or unacceptable management tool for American crocodiles involved in various scenarios..................................................................................................32 3 Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated euthanasia to be an acceptable or unacceptable management tool for American crocodiles involved in various scenarios..................................................................................................33 4 Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that believed the American crocodile population in south Florida either increased, decreased, or remained the same during 1998-2003......................................................................................34 5 Path diagram for risk perceptions of American crocodiles (RBELIEF), with path coefficients added.....................................................................................................39 6 Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that revealed preferences for a smaller, larger, or similar American crocodile population in south Florida for 2004-2009.................................................................................................................40 vii

PAGE 8

Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science RISK PERCEPTIONS OF AND ACCEPTANCE CAPACITY FOR THE AMERICAN CROCODILE (Crocodylus acutus) IN SOUTH FLORIDA By Jodie Lynn Smithem August 2005 Chair: Frank Mazzotti Major Department: Interdisciplinary Ecology The Florida population of the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) has been increasing in numbers since 1975. Human-crocodile interactions are also rising, which presents new challenges to wildlife managers and biologists working to recover this endangered species. This study investigated factors affecting stakeholders risk perceptions of and acceptance capacity for the American crocodile in south Florida to enhance conservation and recovery efforts for this species. Results from this study could also formulate strategy for an educational program to increase understanding of and acceptance for crocodiles and encourage positive, proactive attitudes about crocodile conservation. A self-administered questionnaire (n = 249) was used to measure stakeholder involvement with American crocodiles, knowledge of American crocodiles, risk beliefs associated with crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current population viii

PAGE 9

trends, and preferences for future population trends. Attitudes toward crocodiles formed the most parsimonious model to predict risk perceptions of crocodiles in a model that explained 23.0% of the variance. People who expressed negative attitudes towards crocodiles had the greatest probability of considering crocodiles a high risk to humans. Knowledge of crocodiles is not a significant predictor of risk perceptions, but may have an indirect effect on risk perceptions of crocodiles through attitudes towards crocodiles. A 2-variable model including risk perceptions of crocodiles and attitudes toward crocodiles correctly predicted respondents desired future crocodile population trends 94.0% of the time. Respondents who believed crocodiles presented a low risk to humans and expressed positive attitudes towards crocodiles had the greatest probability of preferring a stable or increased future crocodile population. Demographic variables such as age, gender, level of formal education, income level, children in household, and community involvement did not significantly affect risk perceptions of or acceptance capacity for American crocodiles. This study suggests developing educational programs that teach appropriate behavior in the presence of crocodiles, address risks and benefits of crocodiles, increase knowledge of crocodiles, and reveal that south Florida residents, visitors, and experts perceive low risks from crocodiles. Programs that incorporate the above recommendations will be most effective for decreasing risk perceptions of and increasing positive attitudes towards and acceptance capacity for crocodiles. ix

PAGE 10

INTRODUCTION The Florida population of the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) was federally listed as endangered in 1975 (Federal Register 40: 44149) and has been increasing in numbers ever since (Mazzotti and Cherkiss 2003). The human population of south Florida has also been increasing during this time (United States Census Bureau 2003), and as crocodiles reoccupy parts of their historic range now inhabited by people, increased human-crocodile interactions are occurring. These interactions have led to an increase in crocodile-related complaints (T. Regan, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, personal communication 2002) and present new challenges to wildlife managers and biologists working to recover this endangered species. Managing endangered species can be difficult because of both real and perceived restrictions under the Endangered Species Act. Negative attitudes often result if the presence of an endangered species is believed to restrict private property rights (Drake and Jones 2002) or limit access to and use of natural resources (Reading and Kellert 1993). If anti-conservation attitudes prevail, measures to protect or enhance the species could become difficult. Socioeconomic considerations address these concerns and are crucial for effective recovery programs, yet are often ignored or insufficiently considered in endangered species management efforts (Kellert 1985a, Reading and Kellert 1993). This study seeks to understand public perceptions of and preferences for the American crocodile to enhance conservation and recovery efforts for this species. 1

PAGE 11

2 Stakeholder Considerations Wildlife management during most of the twentieth century was executed solely by wildlife biologists. Although management decisions typically used input from selected stakeholders (e.g., hunters, farmers, landowners), managers rarely sought participation from them or other members of the public in actual decision-making (Decker and Chase 1997). Towards the end of the twentieth century, the array of stakeholders in wildlife management diversified and their expectations for involvement in decisions increased (Riley et al. 2002). The use of biological knowledge for wildlife management will always be essential, but it may no longer be sufficient to use expert authority as the exclusive basis for practicing wildlife management. Many wildlife managers are increasingly integrating biological knowledge with information on human dimensions in management processes (Riley et al. 2002) as stakeholders become a central component of contemporary wildlife management (Decker et al. 1996). Decker and Purdy (1988) introduced the concept of wildlife acceptance capacity (WAC) to explain how human beliefs and preferences affect decisions on the management of wildlife population levels. Wildlife acceptance capacity is an estimate of the maximum wildlife population level that is acceptable to people in a given area. Unlike biological carrying capacity, which theoretically has one value for a specific wildlife population in a defined area at a defined moment in time, there can be many WAC levels for a particular wildlife population at a given point in time. This is due to different key constituency groups simultaneously possessing different acceptance levels. Carpenter et al. (2000) expanded the concept of wildlife acceptance capacity to describe wildlife stakeholder acceptance capacity (WSAC). WSAC can describe peoples unwillingness to accept scarcity or extinction of important or popular species, as

PAGE 12

3 well as peoples unwillingness to accept overabundance or increases of nuisance or unpopular species. Determinants of WSAC are thought to include perceived positive and negative impacts of the species, characteristics of the species (e.g., aesthetic appeal, phylogenetic relatedness of the species to humans, economic value of the species), situational specifics (e.g., management actions, proximity of human populations and activities to animal populations), past experiences, beliefs and attitudes about the species, risk tolerance of stakeholders, and perceptions of population trends (Craven et al. 1992, Carpenter et al. 2000, Zinn et al. 2000). Understanding factors affecting acceptance capacity for the crocodile will help wildlife managers select standards for population levels and management actions that meet public approval, which may help avoid or reduce conflict over management decisions (Zinn et al. 2000). Risk perceptions of potentially dangerous wildlife are of great interest since such perceptions often influence management policy (Riley and Decker 2000a). Far less dread, fear, or worry is typically associated with risks accepted voluntarily, particularly those from familiar events, than risks that are new or for which persons do not have a sense of control (Slovic 1987). An encounter, or even the potential for an encounter, with an American crocodile could represent the type of low probability-high consequence event that leads to dread and elevated risk perceptions (Slovic 1987), which could subsequently lower WSAC for this species (Riley and Decker 2000a). Identifying factors that affect risk perceptions of crocodiles could help wildlife agencies design tailored educational programs to increase understanding of and acceptance for crocodiles among different stakeholder groups.

PAGE 13

4 Managers judgments about public perceptions of wildlife are not always accurate (Miller and McGee 2001), and managing risks should be guided by facts, not undisciplined speculation about the beliefs or motivations of other people (Fischhoff 1995, p. 144). Managers need to recognize and understand differences between objective and subjective risk perceptions and between experts and lay persons perceptions of risk (McClelland et al. 1990, Fischhoff 1995). Experts and lay people may agree about the number of fatalities associated with an action or hazard (i.e., objective risk), but disagree about its degree of risk (i.e., subjective risk). Lay people often place greater weight on catastrophic potential and unfamiliar risks (Fischhoff 1995, Slovic 1987), resulting in discrepancies between perceived risks and fatality estimates (von Winterfeldt et al. 1981). Researching public risk perceptions of crocodiles can confirm or reject assumptions about stakeholders (Butler et al. 2001) and result in better, more-informed management decisions (Decker 1994). Demographics can play a significant role in risk perceptions of large predators and beliefs and attitudes towards animals in general. Women (Kellert and Berry 1987, Miller and McGee 2000, Zinn and Pierce 2002), elderly individuals (Kellert 1985b, Kleiven et al. 2004), and people with limited education (Kellert et al. 1996, Riley and Decker 2000a) often exhibit greater risk perceptions of and more negative attitudes toward large predators. Zinn and Pierce (2002) found individuals with children under 18 years of age living in the home were more likely to fear attack by a mountain lion than those without young children at home, although Riley and Decker (2000b) discovered having children at home did not significantly affect acceptance capacity for the mountain lion. Understanding the influence of demographics on risk perceptions of and acceptance

PAGE 14

5 capacity for the American crocodile will enable wildlife managers and policy makers to more effectively target their audiences and make better management decisions. Conceptual Framework Since protecting endangered species such as the American crocodile often requires public participation and cooperation, an important question is: What factors affect public support for species conservation efforts, specifically acceptance capacity for potentially dangerous species? Kempton (1991) argues that citizens comprehension of scientific and environmental issues is significant to the decision-making process since the public often bears costs of environmental protection. In other words, stakeholders must possess knowledge about the issue to make informed decisions. Bord et al. (2000) corroborate this notion by showing accurate knowledge precedes concern for global warming and is the strongest predictor of intentions to behave in ways that might lessen climate change (e.g., drive less, choose vehicle with good gas mileage). In reference to species preservation, Tisdell and Wilson (2004) found support for conservation of tree-kangaroos (Dendrolagus sp.) in Australia increased with greater knowledge of the species. The connection between environmental knowledge and environmental concern is not always present, however. The National Environmental Education and Training Foundation (NEETF) rated the American public very high on attitudes toward environmental support, yet very low on level of environmental knowledge (NEETF 1999). Hunter and Rinner (2004) found that environmental perspectives, not environmental knowledge, are associated with support for local species preservation. Knowledge was suggested to supplement, not supplant, environmental perspectives for affecting interest in species preservation. Hunter and Rinner (2004) suggest incorporating importance of ecological integrity and biological diversity, not just

PAGE 15

6 information specific to certain species, into outreach efforts to increase public support for species diversity. Riley and Decker (2000b) discovered individuals who believed mountain lion populations had decreased, expressed positive attitudes toward mountain lions, and perceived low risk perceptions of mountain lions possessed higher acceptance capacities for the species. In addition, stakeholders with lower education levels had higher risk perceptions of mountain lions (Riley and Decker 2000a). Understanding the connection between stakeholders knowledge of, perceptions of, and preferences for other potentially dangerous animals, such as the American crocodile, will help identify effective means for communicating about and conserving such species. Several frameworks have been developed to measure the connection between attitudes and behaviors for environmental concern. The Environmental Concern Scale emerged as a brief, easy-to-use research tool . capable of examining the correlates and determinants of attitudinal concern about environmental quality, longitudinal change in public attitudes, and the attitudinal impact of environmentally oriented policies, legislation, and educational efforts (Weigel and Weigel 1978, p. 12). The New Environmental Paradigm (Dunlap and Van Liere 1978), now termed the New Ecological Paradigm to reflect a more sophisticated perspective toward human relationships to the natural world, has been used by researchers in a variety of arenas and cultural contexts (Dunlap et al. 2000). The New Ecological Paradigm scale is designed to assess values, attitudes, and beliefs toward ecological concepts such as balance of nature, limits to growth, and human domination of nature (Dunlap et al. 2000). Ideas from both the Environmental Concern Scale and New Ecological Paradigm can be used to test the link

PAGE 16

7 between stakeholders knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and acceptance capacity for the American crocodile. Study Purpose The goals for this study were to understand stakeholders risk perceptions of and acceptance capacity for the American crocodile in south Florida. Previous studies examining acceptance levels for wildlife have generally focused on large mammalian species, such as deer (Odocoileus virginianus, Stout et al. 1997), mountain lions (Puma concolor, Riley and Decker 2000b), and black bears (Ursus americanus, Siemer and Decker 2003). Researching perceptions of and acceptance capacities for large reptilian species, such as crocodiles, will broaden the information base available to wildlife managers and decision makers and advance the body of human dimensions research for wildlife management in general. Of particular interest for this study was whether variables that best predict risk perceptions of and preferences for crocodile populations would be similar to those for mammalian species. To achieve the goals for this study, the following research questions were investigated: 1. Does involvement with crocodiles, knowledge of crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current crocodile population trends, or socioeconomic variables affect risk perceptions of crocodiles? 2. Does involvement with crocodiles, knowledge of crocodiles, risk perceptions of crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current crocodile population trends, or socioeconomic variables affect preferences for future crocodile population trends? Results from this study could also formulate strategy for an educational program aimed at south Florida residents and visitors who live and recreate near crocodile habitat. Public education can provide the foundation for developing positive, proactive attitudes

PAGE 17

8 about crocodile conservation (United States Fish and Wildlife Service 1999). An informed, supportive public is vital for the continued growth and recovery of south Floridas American crocodile population.

PAGE 18

METHODS Questionnaire Development Personal interviews were conducted during fall 2003 to obtain preliminary information on local perceptions and involvement regarding American crocodiles in south Florida. Three interviews were conducted on October 1, 2003 at Black Point Marina and three interviews were conducted on October 2, 2003 at Ocean Reef Club. Participants were asked permission to audio tape record the interview. Information regarding the surveyor, the surveyors connection to the University of Florida, and the scientific reason for conducting the study were given to the participant (Appendix A). Basic questions concerning the individuals interactions with crocodiles, knowledge of crocodiles, perceptions of crocodiles, and attitudes toward crocodiles were asked. Four males and two females participated in the interviews. The primary purpose of the interviews was to aid development of a questionnaire that could quantitatively assess factors affecting stakeholder perceptions of and preferences for crocodile populations in south Florida. Design of the questionnaire was adapted from Riley (1998) and reflected information gained from preliminary interviews. Pilot tests involving two draft versions of the questionnaire were conducted at Ocean Reef Club, Black Point Marina, and Everglades National Park (an initial study site) on October 28-30, 2003, respectively, to evaluate the survey design. Individuals at each of the three sites were informed of the research agenda, guaranteed privacy, invited to participate, and hand-delivered a 9

PAGE 19

10 questionnaire (Appendix B). Participants returned the questionnaire to the surveyor upon completion. Seven individuals participated in the pilot study at Ocean Reef Club, nine at Black Point Marina, and ten at Everglades National Park. The final version of the questionnaire was completed on December 11, 2003. Questionnaire Content The questionnaire formed a 12-page booklet and contained six primary subject areas: involvement with American crocodiles, knowledge of American crocodiles, risk beliefs associated with crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current population trends, and preferences for future population trends (Appendix C). Questions about wildlife-related activities and information sources preceded questions regarding the topics of primary interest. Respondents were also asked to indicate acceptability of management tools, reveal subjective risk judgments regarding crocodiles, and provide information regarding resident status, age, gender, race, number of children and pets in household, level of formal education, income level, and community involvement. Space at the end of the questionnaire provided respondents the opportunity to make additional comments regarding crocodiles or the survey. Involvement with American crocodiles was assessed using a continuum of potential experiences for respondents that ranged from no interaction, to observing a crocodile in the wild, to knowing a friend or family member who had an encounter with a crocodile, to being personally threatened by a crocodile or having pets or livestock threatened. Five additional experiences were vicarious in that the respondent only read or heard about crocodiles being threatened or killed by people, about people or pets being threatened or attacked by a crocodile, or about crocodiles raiding fish or crab traps. Respondents were asked to indicate which type of interaction with American crocodiles they or members of

PAGE 20

11 their household had experienced. The experiences were classified into 5 levels (adapted from Riley and Decker 2000b): very high (respondent or family member personally threatened by a crocodile), high (respondent or family member had a friend, pet, or livestock threatened by a crocodile), moderate (respondent observed a crocodile in the wild or read/heard about people being threatened by a crocodile), low (family member observed a crocodile in the wild or read/heard about people being threatened by a crocodile, or participant or family member read/heard about crocodiles being threatened or killed by humans, about pets being threatened or attacked by a crocodile, or about crocodiles raiding fish or crab traps), and none (no experience with listed items). Very few respondents (3.6%) were classified as having a very high involvement level and were therefore grouped with respondents in the high involvement category to form the variable INVOLVE, which had 4 levels: high, moderate, low, and none. Five questions regarding the status, habitat, and behavior of crocodiles assessed respondents knowledge level. Respondents were asked to circle the answer they believed correct for each of the questions. A team of experts confirmed one correct answer for each of the five questions. The number of correct answers for the five questions was summed for each respondent (adapted from Sinclair et al. 2003). Very few respondents (1.2%) answered all questions correctly and were therefore grouped with respondents who answered 4 questions correctly to form the variable KNOWLEDGE, which had 5 levels: no questions answered correctly, 1 question answered correctly, 2 questions answered correctly, 3 questions answered correctly, and 4 or 5 questions answered correctly.

PAGE 21

12 Risk beliefs were measured using a 5-point semantic differential scale with adjective pairs as endpoints (Alreck and Settle 1995). The adjective pairs originated from Riley (1998), but were modified for relevance to crocodiles. A Dont Know option was provided for all questions. Factor analysis (Manly 1986) indicated two components with one main factor: beliefs related to risks (RBELIEF), which encompassed personal and community risk, ability to live with risks, and voluntariness of risk acceptance (Table 1). Responses to the four items were averaged to create the variable RBELIEF (adapted from Sinclair et al. 2003). Respondents who answered Dont Know to one or more of the six items (n = 61, 24%) did not receive a score for RBELIEF. A 5-point Likert scale (Alreck and Settle 1995) ranging from disagree strongly to agree strongly assessed respondents attitudes towards crocodiles. Participants were asked to circle the number that represented their level of agreement or disagreement to a series of nine belief statements concerning crocodiles. A No Opinion option was provided for all questions. No Opinion responses were believed comparable to neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the statement and were recoded to the mid-point value on the 5-point progressive scale. Factor analysis indicated statements regarding economic considerations of crocodiles did not relate to the remaining belief statements. Subsequent factor analysis, excluding economic statements, produced two components with one main factor: attitudes related to the symbolism, benefits, rights, and threats of crocodiles (ATTITUDE, Table 2). The second component was an artifact of reverse coded statements. Responses to the seven items were averaged (weighted using factor loadings) to create the variable ATTITUDE (adapted from Jacobson and Marynowski 1997).

PAGE 22

13 Table 1. Principal component analysis for response of questionnaire participants to semantic differential items related to risks from American crocodiles in south Florida. Component 1 Component 2 Eigenvalue 3.125 1.368 Percent Variance 40.181 17.104 Factor Loadings Do you believe the community is at no risk or great risk? 0.799 a -0.252 People will be able or unable to learn to live with the risks associated with crocodiles? 0.786 a -0.251 Do you believe that you are personally at no risk or great risk? 0.753 a -0.289 Risks from American crocodiles are accepted voluntarily or involuntarily? 0.749 a -0.110 The risks from having crocodiles in Florida are well or not well understood by experts? 0.556 0.202 The benefits and risks of American crocodiles to people are matched or mismatched? 0.541 0.217 Are encounters between American crocodiles and people a new event or an old event? 0.255 0.790 Are crocodile-human encounters increasing or decreasing in south Florida? 0.405 0.659 a Values for items used to form the variable RBELIEF. Perceptions of current American crocodile population trends and preferences for future crocodile population trends were measured on 5-point progressive scales that ranged from decrease(d) greatly to increase(d) greatly. A No Opinion option was provided for all questions. Variables were created from perceptions of American crocodile population trends during 1998-2003 (CPOP) and preferences for crocodile population trends during 2004-2009 (FPOP). Both variables treated decreasing responses and stable or increasing responses as two separate categories (Riley and Decker 2000b).

PAGE 23

14 Respondents who answered No Opinion did not receive a score for that variable (n = 72, 29% for CPOP and n = 49, 20% for FPOP). Table 2. Principal component analysis for response of questionnaire participants to belief statements regarding American crocodiles in south Florida. Component 1 Component 2 Eigenvalues 2.594 1.097 Percent Variance 37.053 15.668 Factor Loadings The presence of crocodiles in Florida increases my overall quality of life 0.749 a -0.128 The presence of crocodiles near my home increases my overall quality of life 0.692 a 0.047 The presence of crocodiles is a sign of a healthy environment 0.638 a -0.239 Crocodiles should have the right to exist wherever they may occur 0.561 a -0.265 I think the crocodile is a likable species 0.536 a -0.485 Crocodiles are an unacceptable threat to humans and pets 0.546 a 0.603 b Crocodiles threaten peoples livelihoods by raiding fish and crab traps 0.496 a 0.594 b a Values for items used to form the variable ATTITUDE. b Reverse coded items. Questionnaire Administration Three locations in south Florida were used for this study: Homestead Bayfront Park, Black Point Marina, and Ocean Reef Club. Homestead Bayfront Park and Black Point Marina provide recreational opportunities for permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida. Ocean Reef Club is an affluent community comprised mainly of seasonal residents. These sites were chosen because results from this study intend to be applicable to south Florida residents and visitors who effect, are affected by, or are concerned with crocodile management or recovery efforts. Individuals

PAGE 24

15 who reside or recreate in the study areas have the potential to encounter an American crocodile and likely characterize the conceptual population for this study. Homestead Bayfront Park is a 97-acre Miami-Dade County Park adjacent to south Biscayne Bay in Homestead, Florida (25 27.8' N, 80 19.2' W). American crocodiles are occasionally spotted in the waters surrounding the park. Black Point Marina is a 52-acre Miami-Dade County Park located in Cutler Ridge, Florida (25 31.5' N, 80 17.9' W). A resident American crocodile inhabits the waters surrounding Black Point Marina and has been encountered by marina patrons. Ocean Reef Club is a private community located in north Key Largo, Florida. It was founded in 1945 as a private fishing club and has grown to include deluxe private homes, vacation rentals, and a private marina. Ocean Reef Club members and employees periodically observe American crocodiles on community grounds. A modified version of the hand-delivery method presented in Dillman et al. (1995) was utilized for adult patrons at Black Point Marina and Homestead Bayfront Park. Individuals over the age of 18 at each site were chosen indiscriminately to provide the best representative sample possible of adults visiting the area at the time of data collection. Upon the researchers arrival to each of the study sites, the first individual over the age of 18 encountered by the researcher was approached and informed of the research agenda, guaranteed privacy, and invited to participate in the study (Appendix B). If the individual rejected the invitation to participate, the researcher thanked the individual for his time and then asked the next adult encountered to participate in the study. If the individual accepted the invitation to participate, the researcher hand-delivered a self-administered questionnaire to the individual. Upon completion of the

PAGE 25

16 questionnaire, the researcher collected the survey from the participant and then asked the next adult encountered to participate in the study. Individuals over the age of 18 were approached as encountered, without regard to race, sex, or disabilities. A modified version of the drop-off/pick-up method (Steele et al. 2001) was utilized for residents of Ocean Reef Club. Residents were hand-delivered self-administered questionnaires at a town hall meeting and asked to return completed surveys to the main office within one week. Sampling periods consisted of at least one weekday and one weekend day at Black Point Marina and Homestead Bayfront Park. Sampling began in the morning and concluded early in the evening at each site on the days of data collection. Black Point Marina was sampled from December 27-31, 2003, and Homestead Bayfront Park was sampled from January 1-3, 16-18, and 23, 2004. Questionnaires were hand-delivered to Ocean Reef Club residents on January 16, 2004. Completed questionnaires were collected the following week from the main office. Questionnaires were presented to 213, 226, and 114 individuals at Black Point Marina, Homestead Bayfront Park, and Ocean Reef Club, respectively. The overall response rate was 45% (n = 249), with individual return rates equaling 50.2% (n = 107), 45.6% (n = 103), and 45% (n = 39) for Black Point Marina, Homestead Bayfront Park, and Ocean Reef Club, respectively. The most frequent explanations given by respondents for not participating in the survey included inability to speak English, leaving to go boating, and time constraints. Statistical Procedures All data were analyzed using SPSS Graduate Pack 12.0 for Windows (SPSS Inc. 2003). Missing data were excluded listwise for regression analyses and pairwise for all

PAGE 26

17 other analyses. Dont Know and No Opinion responses were excluded for descriptive statistics. Multiple regression was used to construct a model that best predicted risk perceptions of crocodiles (adapted from Sinclair et al. 2003). Independent variables selected a priori included involvement with crocodiles, knowledge of crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current crocodile population trends, and six demographic variables: age, gender, formal education (6 levels ranging from some high school to graduate degree or beyond), income (6 levels ranging from under $20,000 to over $500,000), children in household (yes or no), and community involvement (4 levels ranging from participation in no local organizations to participation in 3 or 4 organizations). Logistic regression was used to construct a model that best predicted preferences for future crocodile population trends, a measure of wildlife stakeholder acceptance capacity for the American crocodile (Decker and Purdy 1988, Riley and Decker 2000b). Independent variables selected a priori included involvement with crocodiles, knowledge of crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, perceptions of current crocodile population trends, risk perceptions of crocodiles, and six demographic variables: age, gender, formal education (6 levels ranging from some high school to graduate degree or beyond), income (6 levels ranging from under $20,000 to over $500,000), children in household (yes or no), and community involvement (4 levels ranging from participation in no local organizations to participation in 3 or 4 organizations). Chi-square statistics were used to test for differences in proportions between variables, Pearson product-moment correlations were used to measure relationships

PAGE 27

18 between variables, and differences between multiple means were tested using one-way Analysis of Variance.

PAGE 28

RESULTS Survey Response The majority of respondents were male (64.3%), white (88.8%), and permanent Florida residents (75.1%). Respondents of Hispanic or Latino origin (22.2%) were likely under-represented in the sample population. The proportions of seasonal Florida residents (13.7%) and visitors to Florida (11.2%) were approximately equal. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 89, with a median age of 48. Formal education attainment was normally distributed, with 61.6% of respondents having completed some college or obtained a college degree. Most respondents did not have children at home (66.7%) and either had no pets (40.2%) or a dog (30.9%). More respondents belonged to religious (36.5%) or civic (21%) organizations than to environmental (14.9%) or school-based (12.9%) organizations. Involvement with Wildlife and American Crocodiles Wildlife-related TV programs, videos, or movies were reported as the most common activities that bring people into contact with wildlife (Table 3). Over half of respondents indicated they visit zoos or aquariums, boat or fish in south Florida natural areas, or read about wildlife. Most respondents who boat or fish in south Florida natural areas are permanent or seasonal Florida residents. Nearly half of respondents observe or study wildlife outdoors and less hike or bike in south Florida natural areas or bird watch. Snorkeling and scuba diving were the most common self-reported activities by permanent 19

PAGE 29

Table 3. Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that indicated they participate in various outdoor and wildlife-related activities. 20 Activity Permanent ( n = 187 ) Seasonal ( n = 34 ) Visitor ( n = 28 ) Combined ( n = 249 ) Watch wildlife TV programs, videos, or movies 80.7 82.4 75.0 80.3 Visit zoos or aquariums 69.0 76.5 53.6 68.3 Boat in south Florida natural areas 66.8 61.8 17.9 60.6 Fish in south Florida natural areas 65.8 55.9 7.1 57.8 Read about wildlife 55.1 61.8 60.7 56.6 Observe or study wildlife outdoors 46.0 44.1 50.0 46.2 Hike in south Florida natural areas 34.2 35.3 28.6 33.7 Birdwatch 31.0 35.3 39.3 32.5 Bike in south Florida natural areas 27.3 17.6 25.0 25.7 Work on a farm or ranch 3.7 11.8 14.3 6.0 Other activities a 9.6 14.7 4.6 9.6 a Includes golfing, sailing, horseback riding, drag racing, snorkeling, scuba diving, hunting, playing music, surfing, and creating art.

PAGE 30

21 Florida residents and golfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving were the most common self-reported activities by seasonal Florida residents. Observing a crocodile in the wild was the most common type of involvement with American crocodiles experienced by respondents (Table 4). Though 63.5% of respondents indicated they had observed a crocodile in the wild, fewer than 4% reported a threatening experience. Permanent and seasonal Florida residents were more likely to have read or heard about crocodile interactions with pets, people, and automobiles and were twice as likely to know a friend or family member who had an encounter with a crocodile than visitors to Florida. Few respondents indicated having pets or livestock threatened or attacked by a crocodile. The majority of respondents (53.4%) were classified as having a moderate level of involvement with American crocodiles (Figure 1). Visitors to Florida had a higher proportion of respondents in the no involvement category and a lower proportion of respondents in the moderate category than permanent or seasonal Florida residents. Visitors to Florida had no respondents in the very high category. Seasonal Florida residents had a greater proportion of respondents in the moderate and very high categories and a lower proportion of respondents in the no involvement and low categories than permanent Florida residents. Permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida had approximately equal proportions of respondents in the high involvement category. The mean level of involvement for respondents was 1.71 (SE = 0.062).

PAGE 31

Table 4. Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that indicated they had various involvement with American crocodiles in south Florida. 22 Involvement Permanent Seasonal (n = 187) (n = 34) Visitor (n = 28) Combined (n = 249) Observed a crocodile in the wild 64.2 79.4 39.3 63.5 Read or heard of a crocodile being threatened or attacked by people 28.9 35.3 28.6 29.7 Read or heard about pets being threatened or attacked by a crocodile 24.1 32.4 21.4 24.9 Read or heard about other people being threatened or attacked by a crocodile 19.8 14.7 10.7 18.1 Read or heard about a crocodile being killed by an automobile 17.6 26.5 0.0 16.9 Know a friend, neighbor, or family member who had an encounter with a crocodile 14.4 14.7 7.1 13.7 Observed, read, or heard about fish or crab traps being raided by crocodiles 8.6 14.7 7.1 9.2 Have been personally threatened by a crocodile 3.7 5.9 0.0 3.6 Had a pet threatened or attacked by a crocodile 2.7 0.0 3.6 2.4 Had livestock threatened or attacked by a crocodile 2.1 2.9 3.6 2.4 Other types of experiences a 2.1 2.9 0.0 2.0 a Includes observing a crocodile on television or in captivity.

PAGE 32

23 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%PermanentSeasonalVisitorCombinedFlorida StatusPercent Very High High Moderate Low None Figure 1. Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida with various levels of involvement with American crocodiles. Correlations among variables are presented in Table 5 and correlations between variables and demographics are presented in Table 6. Involvement with crocodiles had a significant positive correlation with risk perceptions of crocodiles, income, and community involvement. Permanent Florida residents (F 2,246 = 4.070, p = 0.040) and seasonal Florida residents (F 2,246 = 4.070, p = 0.029) had higher levels of involvement with crocodiles than visitors to Florida. Involvement with crocodiles did not differ significantly between permanent Florida residents and seasonal Florida residents, between males and females, or between respondents with and without children at home.

PAGE 33

Table 5. Pearson correlation coefficients for the six main questionnaire variables. 24 Variable a INVOLVE KNOWLEDGE RBELIEF ATTITUDE CPOP FPOP INVOLVE 1 0.043 0.147* -0.028 0.095 0.010 KNOWLEDGE 1 -0.160* 0.241** 0.157* 0.061 RBELIEF 1 -0.454** 0.104 -0.461** ATTITUDE 1 0.000 0.425** CPOP 1 -0.076 FPOP 1 a INVOLVE = involvement with crocodiles, KNOWLEDGE = knowledge of crocodiles, RBELIEF = risk perceptions of crocodiles, ATTITUDE = attitudes towards crocodiles, CPOP = perceptions of current crocodile population trends, and FPOP = preferences for future crocodile population trends. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

PAGE 34

25 Table 6. Pearson correlation coefficients between the six main questionnaire variables and age, education, income, and community involvement. a INVOLVE = involvement with crocodiles, KNOWLEDGE = knowledge of crocodiles, RBELIEF = risk perceptions of crocodiles, ATTITUDE = attitudes towards crocodiles, Variable a Age Education Income Community involvement INVOLVE 0.039 -0.023 0.139* 0.179** KNOWLEDGE 0.080 0.087 0.113 0.082 RBELIEF -0.011 -0.049 0.044 0.035 ATTITUDE -0.209** 0.087 -0.081* -0.061 CPOP 0.204** 0.040 0.022 -0.086 FPOP -0.067 0.045 -0.108 0.002 CPOP = perceptions of current crocodile population trends, and FPOP = preferences for future crocodile population trends. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Crocodile Knowledge Nearly all respondents (91.2%) knew American crocodiles existed in Florida and many (58.1%) were aware that the crocodile is federally-listed as endangered. Few respondents (14.9%) thought the American crocodile is neither a threatened nor endangered federally-listed species. Half of respondents (51.4%) believed the crocodile occurs in Florida, Central America, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Only 18.0% knew the crocodile occurs in both Florida and Central America. Most respondents (82.7%) correctly identified that American crocodiles are found in brackish or saltwater estuaries.

PAGE 35

26 Few (14.1%) thought crocodiles live in freshwater streams or lakes and almost none (0.8%) thought crocodiles live in the open ocean. The majority of respondents (60.2%) did not know if there has been a documented American crocodile attack on a human in south Florida. Nearly one-fourth (22.9%) believed there has been a documented attack and fewer (16.9%) proclaimed there has not been one. The greatest proportion of people (40.2%) believed American crocodiles are more aggressive than American alligators. One-fourth of respondents (24.4%) thought the crocodile is less aggressive than the alligator and one-third (35.4%) believed the two species to be equally aggressive. The majority of respondents answered 1 (27.3%) or 2 (39.8%) of the 5 questions regarding the status, habitat, and behavior of crocodiles correctly and 18.1% correctly answered 3 questions. Few respondents (9.2%) answered 4 or 5 questions correctly and less (5.6%) answered no questions correctly. The mean level of knowledge for respondents was 1.98 (SE = 0.065). Knowledge of crocodiles had a significant negative correlation with risk perceptions of crocodiles and a significant positive correlation with attitudes towards crocodiles and perceptions of current crocodile population trends. Knowledge of crocodiles did not differ significantly between permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida, between males and females, or between respondents with and without children at home. Information Avenues Overall, more people reported receiving information regarding American crocodiles and American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from newspapers or television news stations than state or federal agencies, non-profit organizations, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during the six months prior to completing the

PAGE 36

27 questionnaire (Table 7). Respondents were mo re than twice as likely to have obtained a great deal of information regarding American crocodiles and American alligators from newspapers or TV news stations than federal or state government or non-profit organizations. The highest percentage of people indicated receivi ng a great amount of information about American crocodiles from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Over half of respondents reported hearing or seeing no information about the American crocodile or American alligator from federal and state government, non-profit organizations, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The mean level of information received by respondents from all sources was higher for the American alligator than American crocodile for the six month period prior to completing the questionnaire (Table 7). There is a significant differe nce in mean amount of information received for the two species from newspapers or TV news stations (t = 2.74, p = .006) and from the federal government (t = 2.4, p = .014). Most respondents indicated they woul d utilize wildlife television programs (71.5%), the internet (67.5%), and books, magazines, or journals (62.2%) to learn more about the American crocodile. A smaller number of respondents reported they would use newspaper articles (21.3%) to find informa tion on crocodiles and few indicated they would seek information from non-profit organizations (12.9%) or government agencies (12.4%). Attitudes Towards American Crocodiles Few respondents lacked an opinion on whether crocodiles could benefit the local economy (6.4%), should have the right to exis t wherever they may occur (4.4%), are an unacceptable threat (6.0%), or are a likable sp ecies (7.6%). More respondents lacked an opinion on whether the presence of crocodile s in Florida (18.5%) or near their home

PAGE 37

28 a Date presented in this table should be interpreted with caution, because accurate steps were not taken to ensure respondents clearly remembered or comprehended whether crocodiles or alligators (species similar in appearance) were represented in the media or other information avenues. Species a Source None Little Moderate Considerable Great Mean b SE Newspapers or TV news station 44.9 21.8 20.2 6.2 7.0 2.03 0.079 Federal government 66.7 17.0 6.5 3.0 1.3 1.44 0.056 State government 62.8 22.5 8.2 3.5 3.0 1.62 0.065 Non-profit organization 59.4 18.8 12.4 6.8 2.6 1.70 0.070 American crocodile U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 53.6 19.2 12.1 6.7 8.4 1.91 0.084 Newspapers or TV news station 31.1 24.6 25.4 11.1 7.8 2.34 0.080 Federal government 61.0 20.3 12.6 4.3 1.7 1.64 0.064 State government 57.8 19.1 13.5 7.0 2.6 1.77 0.072 Non-profit organization 56.2 18.9 14.6 6.9 3.4 1.80 0.074 American alligator U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 50.6 18.7 17.0 5.8 7.9 1.94 0.082 Table 7. Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated they heard or saw various amounts of information about the American crocodile and American alligator from different sources during the six months prior to completing the questionnaire. b Scores were derived from a 5-point progressive scale, with 1 indicating no information received to 5 indicating a great deal of information received.

PAGE 38

29 (11.6%) increased quality of life or whether the presence of crocodiles signals a healthy environment (10.8%) or decreases property valu e (13.7%). Nearly one-fourth (23.3%) of respondents had no opinion on whether croc odiles threaten peoples livelihoods by raiding fish and crab traps. Visitors to Florida were more likely to an swer No Opinion to 5 or more questions regarding attitudes towards cr ocodiles than permanent or seasonal Florida residents ( 2 2 = 20.099, p < .001). Age, gender, children in hou sehold, education level, income level, and community involvement did not affect the number of No Opinion responses to questions regarding attit udes towards crocodiles. Attitudes towards American crocodiles were generally favorable among respondents who offered an opi nion. Based upon a progressive scale from 1 to 5, where 1 was a very negative attitude and 5 was a very positive attitude, the mean score was greater than 3.0 for eight of nine belief statements regarding American crocodiles in south Florida (Table 8). Mo st respondents (72.5%) believed the presence of crocodiles signals a healthy environment and many indicated having croc odiles in Florida increased their quality of life. The ma jority of respondents (58.1%) di d not consider crocodiles an unacceptable threat to humans or pets and nearly half (46.7%) thought crocodiles should have the right to exist wherever they may o ccur. However, over half (53.2%) expressed concern about living close to crocodiles by di sagreeing with the idea that overall quality of life would increase if crocodiles resided near their home, and responses were divided on whether the crocodile is a likable species and whether the presence of crocodiles decreases property value. Mo st respondents (59.1%) did not believe crocodiles threaten

PAGE 39

30 a Scores were derived from a 5-point progressive scale, where 1 indicated strong disagreement, 5 strong agreement, and 3 neither agreement nor disagreement with the statement. %response Belief Statements a Disagree Neither Agree Mean SE The presence of crocodiles is a sign of a healthy environment 6.8 20.7 72.5 4.05 0.068 The presence of crocodiles in Florida increases my overall quality of life 19.2 36.9 43.9 3.37 0.083 The presence of crocodiles near my home increases my overall quality of life 53.2 31.4 15.4 2.38 0.083 The presence of crocodiles decreases property value 44.1 25.6 30.3 2.71 b 0.091 Crocodiles could benefit the local economy by being a tourism attraction 19.3 26.2 54.5 3.54 0.085 Crocodiles should have the right to exist wherever they may occur 29.4 23.9 46.7 3.32 0.091 Crocodiles are an unacceptable threat to humans and pets 58.1 21.4 20.5 2.41 c 0.087 I think the crocodile is a likable species 27.4 31.3 41.3 3.20 0.085 Crocodiles threaten peoples livelihoods by raiding fish and crab traps 59.1 26.2 14.7 2.24 d 0.092 Table 8. Response of questionnaire participants to belief statements regarding American crocodiles in south Florida. b,c,d Reverse coded values equal 3.29, 3.59, and 3.76, respectively.

PAGE 40

31 peoples livelihoods by raiding fish or crab traps and many (54.5%) supported the idea that crocodiles could benefit the local economy by being a tourism attraction. Attitudes towards crocodiles had a significant positive correlation with knowledge of crocodiles and preferences for future crocodile population trends and a significant negative correlation with risk perceptions of crocodiles, age, and income. Males (t 247 = 2.414, p = 0.016) had more positive attitudes than females. Permanent Florida residents had more positive attitudes towards crocodiles than seasonal Florida residents (F 2,246 = 3.529, p = 0.037). Attitudes towards crocodiles did not differ significantly between permanent Florida residents and visitors to Florida, between seasonal Florida residents and visitors to Florida, or between respondents with and without children at home. Acceptance of Management Tools Most respondents deemed it acceptable to relocate an American crocodile if discovered on a golf course (69.2%), on school property (80.5%), or in a swimming pool (81.3%), but only 31% indicated relocation as acceptable if a crocodile is found where people boat (Figure 2). Very few respondents considered euthanasia an acceptable management tool for an American crocodile found on a golf course (4.5%), on school property (11.4%), in a swimming pool (7.8%), or where people boat (6.1%, Figure 3). Over half of respondents believed relocating a crocodile to be acceptable if the crocodile kills or injures a pet or human, but fewer considered euthanasia an acceptable management tool for crocodiles that kill or injure humans or pets.

PAGE 41

32 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Golf CourseSchoolPoolBoatingAreaInjures PetInjuresHumanKills PetKills HumanScenarioPercent No Opinion Unacceptable Acceptable Figure 2. Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated relocation to be an acceptable or unacceptable management tool for American crocodiles involved in various scenarios. Perceptions of Recent American Crocodile Population Trends The greatest proportion of respondents (38.6%) believed the American crocodile population in south Florida had increased during 1998-2003 (Figure 4). Over one-fourth of respondents (28.9%) indicated they did not know what the population trend had been over the previous 5 years and 22.1% believed the population had decreased. Few respondents (10.4%) thought the American crocodile population had remained the same from 1998-2003. An equal proportion of permanent Florida residents and visitors to Florida believed the American crocodile population had remained stable during the previous 5 years. Visitors to Florida had nearly twice the proportion of respondents who did not know what the population trend had been during 1998-2003 and approximately half the proportion of

PAGE 42

33 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Golf CourseSchoolPoolBoatingAreaInjures PetInjuresHumanKills PetKills HumanScenarioPercent No Opinion Unacceptable Acceptable Figure 3. Percent of questionnaire respondents that indicated euthanasia to be an acceptable or unacceptable management tool for American crocodiles involved in various scenarios. respondents who believed the crocodile population had increased than permanent and seasonal Florida residents. Permanent Florida residents and seasonal Florida residents had roughly equal proportions of respondents who did not know what the population trend had been or believed the population had increased over the previous five years. Fewer proportion of visitors believed the American crocodile population had decreased during 1998-2203 than permanent or seasonal Florida residents. Perceptions of current crocodile population trends had a significant positive correlation with knowledge of crocodiles and age and a significant association with gender ( 2 1 = 5.829, p = 0.016). There was no significant association between perceptions of current crocodile population trends and permanent Florida residents,

PAGE 43

34 seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida or between perceptions of current crocodile population trends and respondents with and without children at home. 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%PermanentSeasonalVisitorCombinedFlorida StatusPercent Don't Know Increased Remained the Same Decreased Figure 4. Percent of questionnaire respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that believed the American crocodile population in south Florida either increased, decreased, or remained the same during 1998-2003. Risk Beliefs about American Crocodiles The proportions of respondents that answered Dont Know for questions about personal risk (9.7%), community risk (11.3%), ability to live with risk (12.1%), and voluntariness of risk (16.9%) were less than the proportions for questions regarding knowledge of experts (27.4%) and association of benefits and risks (37.5%) from American crocodiles. Some respondents were also unsure if encounters between American crocodiles and humans are a new or an old event (27.4%) or if encounters are increasing or decreasing (35.5%).

PAGE 44

35 Older individuals (r = .217, p = .001) and those engaged in low community involvement (r = -.137, p = .031) were more likel y to answer Dont Know to 5 or more questions regarding risk belie fs of crocodiles than younger respondents or those engaged in high community involvement. Residency status, gender, children in household, education level, and income level did not affect the number of Dont Know responses to questions regarding risk beliefs of crocodiles. The majority of respondents who answered along the progressive scale did not consider encounters between American croc odiles and people as something new, and many did not perceive encounters to be increasing (Table 9). Very few respondents believed they were personally at risk or that communities were at risk from American crocodiles. Most respondents indicated they could learn to live with the risks and that risks from crocodiles were generally accep ted voluntarily. Many respondents felt that experts adequately understood risks from crocodiles. A slight discrepancy existed concerning people who benefit from American crocodiles and those who are exposed to potential risks. Risk perceptions of crocodiles had a significant positive correlation with involvement with crocodiles and a significan t negative correlation with knowledge of crocodiles, attitudes towards crocodiles, and preferences for future crocodile population trends. Risk perceptions of crocodiles did not differ significantly between permanent Florida residents, seasonal Fl orida residents, and visitors to Florida, between males and females, or between respondents with and without children at home.

PAGE 45

36 Table 9. Response of questionnaire participants to semantic differential items related to risks from American crocodiles in sou th Florida. Semantic Differential Item a Scale b 1 2 3 4 5 Semantic Differential Item a Mean SE Encounters between American crocodiles and people are New 7.8 8.9 24.4 20.6 38.3 Old 3.73 0.095 The frequency of human-crocodile encounters are Increasing 17.5 28.1 23.8 9.4 21.3 Decreasing 2.89 0.110 You are personally at No Risk 63.8 15.6 14.3 4.0 2.2 Great Risk 1.65 0.068 The community is at. No Risk 40.9 35.0 17.3 3.6 3.2 Great Risk 1.93 0.068 You are Able to live with the risks associated with crocodiles 50.5 23.9 12.8 8.3 4.6 Unable to 1.93 0.079 The risks from American crocodiles are accepted Voluntarily 42.7 22.3 18.9 7.8 8.3 Involuntarily 2.17 0.090 The risks from crocodiles Are well understood by experts 34.4 25.6 21.1 10.0 8.9 Are not 2.33 0.096 The benefits and risks of American crocodiles to people are Matched 27.1 18.1 29.7 11.0 14.2 Mismatched 2.67 0.109 a Respondents indicated the number between two words that best represented their opinion. b Values given are percent response for each step along the progressive 1-5 scale.

PAGE 46

37 Subjective Risk Perceptions of American Crocodiles Subjective risk perceptions of American crocodiles were generally low. Nearly all respondents believed getting into a motorcycle accident (82.7%), getting into a car accident (81.1%), getting injured while working for a timber company (77.0%), and dying as a result of cancer (70.8%) were more likely to occur than being attacked by an American crocodile in south Florida (Table 10). Responses were divided on the possibility of being attacked by an alligator versus a crocodile and 46.5% of respondents felt getting attacked by a shark was more likely to occur than getting attacked by a crocodile. Most respondents felt the likelihood of having an accident while driving a tractor (69.1%) or becoming a murder victim (60.9%) was greater than being attacked by an American crocodile in south Florida, and nearly one-half of respondents (46.1%) considered getting into a commercial airline crash more likely to occur than being attacked by a crocodile. Table 10. Response of questionnaire participants to the likelihood of experiencing various risks versus being attacked by an American crocodile. % response Risk More Likely Less Likely Unsure Getting into an accident if you ride a motorcycle 82.7 13.2 4.1 Getting into a car accident 81.1 13.6 5.3 Getting injured if you work for a timber company 77.0 13.5 9.5 Dying as a result of cancer 70.8 16.4 12.8 Having an accident if you drive a tractor 69.1 18.6 12.3 Becoming a murder victim 60.9 19.3 19.8 Getting attacked by a shark 46.5 28.4 25.1 Getting into a commercial airline crash 46.1 34.1 19.8 Being attacked by an alligator 33.3 30.5 36.2

PAGE 47

38 Factors Affecting Risk Beliefs about American Crocodiles Regression analysis indicated attitudes toward crocodiles had a significant effect on risk perceptions of crocodiles, in a model that explained 26.0% of the variance (Table 11). Since knowledge of crocodiles is not a significant predictor of risk perceptions, but is negatively correlated with risk perceptions and is a significant predictor of attitudes towards crocodiles (B = .102, p < .001), knowledge of crocodiles may have an indirect effect on risk perceptions of crocodiles through attitudes towards crocodiles (Figure 5). Next, a stepwise regression (p < 0.05 cutoff value) was run to identify variables with maximum predictive power. Attitudes toward crocodiles formed the most parsimonious model to predict risk perceptions of crocodiles, in a model that explained 23.0% of the variance. The coefficients for the regression equation, with SE in parentheses, were RBELIEF (predicted) = 3.592 (0.301) 0.860 (0.142) ATTITUDE. People who expressed negative attitudes towards crocodiles had the greatest probability of considering crocodiles a high risk to humans. Preferences for Future American Crocodile Population Trends The greatest proportion of respondents (42.6%) indicated they wanted American crocodile populations to increase over the next five years (Figure 6). Only 8.8% expressed a preference for fewer crocodiles and over one-fourth of respondents (28.9%) wanted populations to remain the same. Nearly 20% of respondents did not care whether crocodile populations increased, decreased, or remained stable from 2004-2009.

PAGE 48

39 Table 11. Regression model for prediction of risk perceptions of American crocodiles (RBELIEF). Variable a (R 2 = .260, p < .001) B SE B INVOLVE 0.024 0.071 0.029 KNOWLEDGE 0.013 0.069 0.017 ATTITUDE -0.920 0.160 -0.513* CPOP 0.196 0.157 0.109 Age -0.008 0.005 -0.156 Gender -0.029 0.150 -0.016 Education -0.014 0.053 -0.022 Children -0.039 0.150 -0.022 Income 0.005 0.053 0.008 Community involvement 0.061 0.058 0.067 a INVOLVE = involvement with crocodiles, KNOWLEDGE = knowledge of crocodiles, ATTITUDE = attitudes towards crocodiles, and CPOP = perceptions of current crocodile population trends. p < .001. .454 .241 KNOWLEDGE ATTITUDE RBELIEF Figure 5. Path diagram for risk perceptions of American crocodiles (RBELIEF), with path coefficients added. KNOWLEDGE = knowledge of crocodiles and ATTITUDE = attitudes towards crocodiles.

PAGE 49

40 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%PermanentSeasonalVisitorCombinedFlorida StatusPercent Don't Know Increase Remain the Same Decrease Figure 6. Percent of questionnai re respondents who are permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida that revealed preferences for a smaller, larger, or similar American crocodile population in south Florida for 2004-2009. Permanent Florida residents, seasonal Florida residents, and visitors to Florida had nearly equal proportions of respondents who wanted American crocodile populations to remain the same over the next five years. The proportion of people who preferred a decrease in the crocodile population was greatest for seasonal Florida residents and least for visitors to Florida. A greater proportion of permanent Florida residents desired a larger crocodile population than seasonal Florida residents or visitors to Florida. Seasonal Florida residents and visitors to Florida were more than twice as likely to lack an opinion regarding future crocodile populations than permanent Florida residents. Overall, 44.5% of respondents indicated it was important to them personally that the actual American crocodile population trend match their expressed preference.

PAGE 50

41 Approximately equal proportions of respondents did not have an opinion (19.7%) or indicated it was unimportant (16.5%) to them that their preferences were not realized. Permanent Florida residents (46.6%) and seasonal Florida residents (44.1%) were more concerned that their preferred population trend matches the actual trend than visitors to Florida (32.1%). Factors Affecting Preferences for American Crocodile Populations Logistic regression analysis indicated risk perceptions of crocodiles and attitudes towards crocodiles had a significant effect on desired future crocodile population trends in a model that predicted 94.0% of respondents preference for future crocodile population trends (Table 12). A stepwise regression (p < 0.05 cutoff value) was run to identify variables with maximum predictive power. Risk perceptions of crocodiles and attitudes toward crocodiles formed the most parsimonious model to predict desired future crocodile population trends. The coefficients for the logistic regression equation, in stepwise order with SE in parentheses, were log(P i )/(1P i ) = -0.706 (2.499) 1.502 (0.453) RBELIEF + 3.184 (1.297) ATTITUDE, where P i = probability that a respondent will desire a stable or larger crocodile population. The equation correctly predicted the desired future population trend for 53.3% of respondents who chose a smaller crocodile population and 99.0% of respondents who chose a stable or larger crocodile population. Overall, the equation predicted 94.0% of respondents preference for future crocodile population trends. People who believed crocodiles presented a low risk to humans and expressed positive attitudes towards crocodiles had the greatest probability of preferring a stable or increased future crocodile population.

PAGE 51

42 Table 12. Logisitc regression model for prediction of desired future American crocodile population trends (FPOP). Variable a (Nagelkerke R 2 = .571, p < .001) B SE B Wald INVOLVE -0.357 0.478 0.556 KNOWLEDGE 0.423 0.510 0.688 RBELIEF -1.652 0.505 10.701** ATTITUDE 3.487 1.450 5.783* CPOP 0.647 0.946 0.468 Age 0.032 0.032 1.006 Gender 0.420 1.007 0.174 Education -0.102 0.297 0.118 Children -0.496 0.896 0.307 Income -0.278 0.317 0.765 Community involvement 0.217 0.496 0.191 a INVOLVE = involvement with crocodiles, KNOWLEDGE = knowledge of crocodiles, RBELIEF = risk perceptions of crocodiles, ATTITUDE = attitudes towards crocodiles, and CPOP = perceptions of current crocodile population trends. p < .05. ** p < .001.

PAGE 52

DISCUSSION South Florida residents and visitors generally have low risk perceptions of and favorable attitudes towards American crocodiles. Many people perceive benefits from crocodiles as indicated by the common response that crocodiles signify a healthy environment and increase overall quality of life in Florida. Although over half of respondents expressed concern about crocodiles living near their home, most did not feel personally threatened by crocodiles. The acceptance capacity for crocodiles expressed by many respondents was high. However, continued human population growth and residential development in south Florida will increase potential for human-crocodile encounters near human habitation. Effective methods for resolving these interactions, as well as crocodile-related complaints, need to be developed. Attitudes towards American crocodiles significantly influenced both risk perceptions of and acceptance capacity for crocodiles. Ability to influence attitudes is a complex and debated subject (Gardner and Stern 1996, Hines et al. 1986, Hungerford and Volk 1990, Trumbo 1999). Simply providing more facts will not necessarily result in more favorable attitudes (Reading and Kellert 1993). However, comprehensive knowledge is a necessary condition for stable beliefs (Fischhoff 1995). Results from this study indicate that high knowledge of crocodiles corresponds with positive attitudes towards crocodiles. People with positive attitudes towards crocodiles were more likely to have lower risk perceptions of and higher acceptance capacities for crocodiles. Overall knowledge of crocodiles and information received regarding crocodiles was rather low, 43

PAGE 53

44 indicating opportunity for outreach efforts to increase such knowledge. Most respondents revealed they would utilize internet sources to learn more about American crocodiles. The internet is very cost effective and likely the best method for presenting information regarding crocodiles to a large number of people. Communication targeted towards increasing knowledge of, and thus favorable attitudes towards, crocodiles will likely reduce risk perceptions of and increase acceptance capacity for the crocodile (Knuth et al. 1992). To further increase acceptance of American crocodiles, education campaigns need to address risks of crocodiles as well as benefits crocodiles provide (Fischhoff 1995, Knuth et al. 1992). Simply explaining that risks from crocodiles are low compared to other generally accepted high risk activities, such as driving automobiles, will be ineffective unless benefits from crocodiles are also represented (Fischhoff 1995). People accept risks from driving automobiles because benefits received from the act are high. To willingly accept low risks from crocodiles, people need to be aware of and appreciate benefits from crocodiles. Results from this study are encouraging because the majority of respondents consider risks from crocodiles to be low and benefits from crocodiles to be rather high. A base of conservation-oriented values exists on which to build more positive attitudes towards American crocodiles. A Not in my backyard! attitude was detected though when respondents were asked about quality of life regarding crocodiles near their home. Many respondents were unaware there has never been a documented American crocodile attack on a human in south Florida and believed crocodiles were more aggressive than alligators, which may have contributed to concern for crocodiles near their home. Wildlife management has

PAGE 54

45 traditionally used translocation to separate a potentially dangerous animal from situations that may result in heightened concern among stakeholders (Riley et al. 1994). Most respondents indicated translocation as an acceptable tool for American crocodiles found near human habitation. Given the potential for injury or distress during relocation, however, American crocodiles present a challenge to wildlife managers since federally-listed species cannot be harmed under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Florida residents, accustomed to having alligators promptly removed from private property, can become alarmed if similar procedures are not applied to crocodiles. Modification of human behaviors offers managers an alternative to direct removal or relocation of crocodiles. Appropriate personal decisions can reduce personal risk far greater than any government actions (Keeney 1995, Zeckhauser and Viscusi 1990). Just as life can never be risk free, risks from crocodiles can not be eliminated (Keeney 1995). There are, however, steps that can be taken to reduce personal risks from crocodiles (e.g., never feed crocodiles, do not discard fish scraps at boat ramps or near waters edge, do not swim where crocodiles live, fencing). Educational programs aimed at teaching appropriate behavior in the presence of crocodiles can lead to feelings of empowerment and a sense of security, subsequently reducing risk perceptions of crocodiles. Effort directed towards ameliorating voluntary risks (Zeckhauser and Viscusi 1990) can have more impact than removing or relocating crocodiles. Respondents indicated receiving more information regarding American crocodiles from newspapers or television news stations than any other information source provided. Mass media influence is an important consideration for forming attitudes and risk perceptions (Coleman 1993, Park et al. 2001). Television reports that convey negative or

PAGE 55

46 dangerous events can result in increased levels of fear among some audience members (Coleman 1993). Negative events carry greater weight, are more visible or noticeable, and are more likely to have a powerful effect than positive events (Slovic 1993). Given that most of what the media reports is negative (Slovic 1993), and that respondents obtained most of their information about crocodiles from mass media sources, concern for negative mass media messages producing negative attitudes towards crocodiles exists. The current study did not confirm if information received by respondents was positive or negative, however. Future studies clearly testing the effects of negative media messages on risk perceptions of crocodiles, or other potentially dangerous animals, would enhance findings of this study. Since some individuals use expert opinion and perceived social consensus to make risk judgments (Trumbo 1999), and respondents indicated a high level of trust in expert opinion, media reports and education campaigns that reveal south Florida residents, visitors, and experts low risk judgments of crocodiles could combat negative media messages and decrease risk perceptions of crocodiles. Findings from this study are consistent with Riley and Decker (2000b) who studied acceptance capacity for mountain lions. Risk perceptions and attitudes were significant predictors of desired future population trends in both studies. This study, however, did not find a correlation between perceptions of current population trends and acceptance capacity for the crocodile. Demographic variables can significantly affect perceptions of and attitudes towards large predators (Kellert 1985b, Kellert and Berry 1987, Kleiven et al. 2004). Riley and Decker (2000b), however, found children in household, gender, and level of formal education did not significantly contribute to acceptance capacity for mountain lions. Demographic variables did not affect risk perceptions of or acceptance

PAGE 56

47 capacity for the crocodile. Males, younger persons, and those with lower incomes expressed more positive attitudes towards crocodiles. This study provides initial insights into factors affecting risk perceptions of and acceptance capacity for the American crocodile in south Florida. Educational programs that teach appropriate behavior in the presence of crocodiles, address risks and benefits of crocodiles, increase knowledge of crocodiles, and reveal that south Florida residents, visitors, and experts perceive low risks from crocodiles will be most effective for increasing positive attitudes towards crocodiles. Individuals with favorable attitudes towards American crocodiles will more likely support measures to recover and protect this endangered species than those possessing negative attitudes (Hungerford and Volk 1990, Stern 2000). Education campaigns should be delivered not only to adults, but to children as well, since life-long attitudes and behaviors towards animals are largely based on childhood experiences (Kidd and Kidd 1985). Children must be better taught to value all life, especially wild animal life, if biodiversity is to be maintained and if endangered species are to be adequately protected (Kidd and Kidd 1996). An education campaign targeted at reducing risk perceptions of and increasing acceptance capacity for the American crocodile in south Florida needs to be designed, implemented, and assessed to better understand effects of communication and to further promote conservation and recovery of this endangered species.

PAGE 57

APPENDIX A THE INFORMED CONSENT PROCESS USED FOR INDIVIDUALS PARTICIPATING IN THE PRELIMINARY INTERVIEWS. Hello, my name is Jodie Smithem. I am a graduate student at the University of Florida working with Dr. Frank Mazzotti. We hope to understand public knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of the American crocodile in South Florida through information obtained by participants filling out a questionnaire. To aid in the questionnaire development, preliminary interviews will be conducted. The interview takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence. You do not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer. You will not be compensated for participating in this study and we do not anticipate that you will benefit or be harmed directly by participating in this study. Your identity will be kept completely confidential. We do not ask for your name at any time during the interview and, therefore, your name will not be associated with your responses. If you have any questions regarding the study, you may contact Dr. Frank Mazzotti at the Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, 3205 College Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314, phone number 954-577-6304. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant in the study, you may contact the University of Floridas Institutional Review Board at PO Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, phone number 352-392-0433. Would you like to participate in the study by being interviewed? 48

PAGE 58

APPENDIX B THE INFORMED CONSENT PROCESS USED FOR INDIVIDUALS COMPLETING THE QUESTIONNAIRE. Hello, my name is Jodie Smithem. I am a graduate student at the University of Florida working with Dr. Frank Mazzotti. We hope to understand public knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of the American crocodile in South Florida through information obtained by participants filling out a questionnaire. The questionnaire takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence. You do not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer. You will not be compensated for participating in this study and we do not anticipate that you will benefit or be harmed directly by participating in this study. Your identity will be kept completely confidential. We do not ask for your name anywhere on the questionnaire and, therefore, your name will not be associated with your responses. If you have any questions regarding the study, you may contact Dr. Frank Mazzotti at the address or phone number listed on the questionnaire. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant in the study, you may contact the University of Floridas Institutional Review Board at the address or phone number listed on the questionnaire. Would you like to participate in the study by completing a questionnaire? 49

PAGE 59

APPENDIX C THE SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE USED FOR INQUIRY INTO THE BELIEFS, ATTITUDES, RISK PERCEPTIONS, AND CROCODILE POPULATION PREFERENCES OF STAKEHOLDERS IN SOUTH FLORIDA BY JODIE L. SMITHEM FOR HER 2003-2004 MASTERS THESIS.

PAGE 60

Interviewer ___________ Location ___________ Date ___________ American Crocodiles in South Florida: A Survey of Your Views American crocodile vs American alligator Your responses will remain anonymous and will never be associated with your name. This questionnaire is part of a study to assist biologists and wildlife managers with making decisions about American crocodiles in south Florida. Your views are very important to us and will contribute to how American crocodile management and recovery efforts are conducted. The questionnaire should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE! 51

PAGE 61

52 American Crocodiles in South Florida: A Survey of Your Views This survey is conducted by: University of Florida School of Natural Resources and Environment 103 Black Hall, PO Box 116455 Gainesville, FL 32611 and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service South Florida Field Office 1339 20 th Street Vero Beach, FL 32960 Research Participant Rights If you have any questions regarding this survey, please write Frank J. Mazzotti, Associate Professor, University of Florida, Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, 3205 College Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 33314, or call him at 954-577-6304. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant in this study, please write the University of Floridas Institutional Review Board at PO Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, or call 352-392-0433.

PAGE 62

53 WILDLIFE AND YOU: 1. The following is a list of some activities that bring people into contact with wildlife. Please indicate which of the following activities you, or members of your household, participate in regularly. (Please check [ ] ALL statements that apply.) Yourself Others in your household a. Bird watch [ ] [ ] b. Read about wildlife .. [ ] [ ] c. Watch wildlife TV programs, videos, or movies [ ] [ ] d. Visit zoos or aquariums [ ] [ ] e. Hike in south Florida natural areas ... [ ] [ ] f. Bike in south Florida natural areas .... [ ] [ ] g. Boat in south Florida natural areas [ ] [ ] h. Observe or study wildlife outdoors ... [ ] [ ] i. Work on a farm or ranch [ ] [ ] j. Fish in south Florida natural areas.. [ ] [ ] k. Other activities _____________________________ [ ] [ ] 2. How much information about the American crocodile have you seen or heard during the last six months from each of the following? (Please circle a number for each source.) Absolutely none A great deal Newspapers or TV news stations? 1 2 3 4 5 The federal government? 1 2 3 4 5 State government? 1 2 3 4 5 Non-profit organizations? 1 2 3 4 5 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? 1 2 3 4 5 3. How much information about the American alligator have you seen or heard during the last six months from each of the following? (Please circle a number for each source.) Absolutely none A great deal Newspapers or TV news stations? 1 2 3 4 5 The federal government? 1 2 3 4 5 State government? 1 2 3 4 5 Non-profit organizations? 1 2 3 4 5 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? 1 2 3 4 5

PAGE 63

54 4. If you wanted to learn more about the American crocodile which of the following sources would you utilize to find information? (Please check [ ] ALL that apply.) Books, magazines, or journals [ ] The internet [ ] Newspaper articles [ ] Government agencies .. [ ] Wildlife TV programs [ ] Non-profit organizations [ ] WILDLIFE KNOWLEDGE: 5. Before receiving this questionnaire, did you know that American crocodiles live in south Florida? [ ] Yes [ ] No 6. Please circle the answer that you believe is correct for each of the following questions. A. The American crocodile is a federally-listed: a) endangered species b) threatened species c) neither endangered nor threatened species B. The American crocodile occurs in Florida and: a) Central America b) Louisiana c) Mississippi d) all of the above e) none of the above C. Generally, American crocodiles are ________ American alligators. a) more aggressive than b) less aggressive than c) just as aggressive as

PAGE 64

55 D. Typically, American crocodiles are found in: a) the open ocean b) freshwater streams or lakes c) brackish or saltwater estuaries d) none of the above E. Has there been a documented American crocodile attack on a human in south Florida? a) Yes b) No c) Dont Know CROCODILES AND YOU: 7. Please indicate which, if any, of the following types of interactions with American crocodiles you or members of your household have experienced. (Please check [ ] ALL that apply.) Yourself Others in your household a. Observed a crocodile in the wild (i.e., anywhere other than captivity) [ ] [ ] b. Read or heard of a crocodile being threatened or attacked by people [ ] [ ] c. Had a pet threatened or attacked by a crocodile [ ] [ ] d. Had livestock threatened or attacked by a crocodile [ ] [ ] e. Have been personally threatened by a crocodile [ ] [ ] f. Read or heard about pets being threatened or attacked by a crocodile .. [ ] [ ] g. Observed, read, or heard about fish or crabs traps being raided by crocodiles [ ] [ ] h. Read or heard about other people being threatened or attacked by a crocodile [ ] [ ] i. Know a friend, neighbor, or family member who had an encounter with a crocodile [ ] [ ] j. Read or heard about a crocodile being killed by an automobile [ ] [ ] k. Other types of experiences: ____________________ [ ] [ ]

PAGE 65

56 8. Encounters between American crocodiles and people carry some level of risk to people, pets, or livestock. The following questions are designed to help us better understand your opinions about crocodile-human encounters in south Florida. On a scale from 1-to-5 please circle the number between the two words in each row that most closely represents your opinion DK = Dont Know a. Are encounters between American crocodiles and people a new event, or an old event that has been occurring for a long time in south Florida? A new event 1 2 3 4 5 An old event DK b. Are crocodile-human encounters increasing or decreasing in south Florida? Increasing 1 2 3 4 5 Decreasing DK c. To what extent do you believe that you are personally at risk from American crocodiles? I am at no risk 1 2 3 4 5 I am at great risk DK d. To what extent do you believe that American crocodiles pose a risk to communities? Community is at 1 2 3 4 5 Community is at DK no risk great risk e. Are the risks associated with American crocodiles something people will be able to learn to live with, or are the risks something people will be unable to learn to live with over time? Able to learn to 1 2 3 4 5 Unable to learn to DK live with the risks live with the risks f. Are the risks from American crocodiles generally accepted voluntarily that is, can people make choices about being exposed to the risks or are the risks accepted involuntarily? Risks accepted 1 2 3 4 5 Risks accepted DK voluntarily involuntarily

PAGE 66

57 g. To what extent are the risks associated with having crocodiles in Florida understood by experts? Not well 1 2 3 4 5 Well understood DK understood h. Are the people who benefit from American crocodiles the same people who are exposed to the potential risks of living with American crocodiles? Benefits and risks 1 2 3 4 5 Benefits and risks DK are matched are mismatched 9. For each of the following scenarios, please indicate if you believe relocating (i.e., moving) American crocodiles would be an acceptable or an unacceptable management tool. Acceptable Unacceptable No Tool Tool Opinion Crocodile is found on a golf course [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile is found on school property [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile is found in a swimming pool .. [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile is found where people boat [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile attacks and injures a pet .. [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile attacks and injures a human [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile attacks and kills a pet .. [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile attacks and kills a human [ ] [ ] [ ] 10. For each of the following scenarios, please indicate if you believe euthanizing (i.e., killing) American crocodiles would be an acceptable or an unacceptable management tool. Acceptable Unacceptable No Tool Tool Opinion Crocodile is found on a golf course [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile is found on school property [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile is found in a swimming pool .. [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile is found where people boat [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile attacks and injures a pet .. [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile attacks and injures a human [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile attacks and kills a pet .. [ ] [ ] [ ] Crocodile attacks and kills a human [ ] [ ] [ ]

PAGE 67

58 11. People in Florida have many different opinions about American crocodiles. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? (Please circle the number that best represents your response to each statement.) 1 = Disagree Strongly 3 = Neither Agree nor Disagree 5 = Agree Strongly 2 = Disagree 4 = Agree 6 = No Opinion Disagree Agree No Strongly Strongly Opinion a. The presence of crocodiles is a sign of a healthy environment .. 1 2 3 4 5 6 b. The presence of crocodiles in Florida increases my overall quality of life .. 1 2 3 4 5 6 c. The presence of crocodiles near my home increases my overall quality of life 1 2 3 4 5 6 d. The presence of crocodiles decreases property value ... 1 2 3 4 5 6 e. Crocodiles could benefit the local economy by being a tourism attraction .. 1 2 3 4 5 6 f. Crocodiles should have the right to exist wherever they may occur 1 2 3 4 5 6 g. Crocodiles are an unacceptable threat to humans and pets 1 2 3 4 5 6 h. I think the crocodile is a likable species 1 2 3 4 5 6 i. Crocodiles threaten peoples livelihoods by raiding fish and crab traps 1 2 3 4 5 6

PAGE 68

59 12. This question is designed to help us better understand your perceptions about the possibility of you being attacked by an American crocodile while living in or visiting south Florida. Do you believe each of the following is more likely or less likely to occur to you than being attacked by an American crocodile in south Florida? (Please circle only ONE response for each item.) Example: A person was asked to indicate if she thought the possibility of getting struck by lightning was more or less likely to occur to her than being attacked by an American crocodile in south Florida. She thought the possibility of getting struck by lightning was more likely to occur to her than being attacked by an American crocodile, so she circled More Likely. The possibility of is Getting into a car accident More Likely Less Likely Unsure Getting injured if you work for a timber company More Likely Less Likely Unsure Getting into an accident if you ride a motorcycle More Likely Less Likely Unsure Being attacked by an alligator More Likely Less Likely Unsure Having an accident if you drive a tractor More Likely Less Likely Unsure Getting into a commercial airline crash More Likely Less Likely Unsure Getting attacked by a shark More Likely Less Likely Unsure Dying as a result of cancer More Likely Less Likely Unsure Becoming a murder victim More Likely Less Likely Unsure to occur to you than the possibility of being attacked by an American crocodile in south Florida.

PAGE 69

60 CROCODILE POPULATIONS: Please answer the following questions based on your opinion. 13. How has the American crocodile population in south Florida changed during the past five years? (Please check [ ] only ONE of the following statements.) [ ] Decreased Greatly [ ] Decreased Somewhat [ ] Remained the Same [ ] Increased Somewhat [ ] Increased Greatly [ ] No Opinion 14. Do you want the American crocodile population in south Florida to increase, decrease, or remain at its current level over the next five years? (Please check [ ] only ONE of the following statements.) [ ] Decrease Greatly [ ] Decrease Somewhat [ ] Remain at its Current Level [ ] Increase Somewhat [ ] Increase Greatly [ ] No Opinion 15. How important is it to you personally that the American crocodile population trend match your response to question 14? (Please check [ ] only ONE of the following statements.) [ ] Very Un important [ ] Somewhat Un important [ ] Neither Important nor Unimportant [ ] Somewhat Important [ ] Very Important [ ] No Opinion

PAGE 70

61 BACKGROUND INFORMATION: 16a. Are you a: Permanent Florida resident [ ] Seasonal Florida resident [ ] Visitor to Florida [ ] 16b. If you are a permanent Florida resident, how many years have you lived in Florida? ____ years 16c. If you are a seasonal Florida resident or a visitor to Florida, what is your permanent residence? ______________ _______ __________ city state country 17. Are you: [ ] Male [ ] Female 18. What is your age? _______ 19. Are you Hispanic or Latino? (Please check [ ] only ONE.) ____ Yes Hispanic or Latino ____ No Not Hispanic or Latino 20. What is your race? (Please check [ ] one or more races to indicate what you consider yourself to be. Please leave blank if you feel none apply to you.) [ ] American Indian or Alaska Native [ ] Native Hawaiian or other Pacific [ ] Asian Islander [ ] Black or African American [ ] White 21. What is your highest level of formal education? (Please check [ ] only ONE.) [ ] Some high school [ ] College graduate [ ] High school diploma or equivalent [ ] Some graduate school [ ] Some college [ ] Graduate degree or beyond 22. How many children under the age of 18 currently live in your household? (Please indicate the age of each child.) ______________________________________________________________ 23. Do you have any pets at home? If yes, please list the number and type of pets. ______________________________________________________________

PAGE 71

62 24. Please indicate your household average income in 2003 before taxes. (Please check [ ] only ONE.) [ ] Under $20,000 [ ] $60,000 $99,999 [ ] $20,000 $39,999 [ ] $100,000 $500,000 [ ] $40,000 $59,999 [ ] Over $500,000 25. What is your occupation? _______________________ 26. What types of local organizations do you belong to? (Please check [ ] ALL that apply.) [ ] Civic or social (Example: Rotary Club) [ ] Church or religious [ ] Environmental (Example: Audubon Society) [ ] School-based (Example: PTA) 27. Please use the space below for any additional comments you wish to make regarding crocodiles or this survey. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND HELP!

PAGE 72

LIST OF REFERENCES Alreck, P.L. and R.B. Settle. 1995. The survey research handbook: Guidelines and strategies for conducting a survey. Second edition. Irwin, Chicago, Illinois. Bord, R.J., R.E. OConnor, and A. Fisher. 2000. In what sense does the public need to understand global climate change? Public Understanding of Science 9(3):205-218. Butler, J.S., J.E. Shanahan, and D.J. Decker. 2001. Wildlife attitudes and values: A trend analysis. Human Dimensions Research Unit, Series No. 01-4. Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Carpenter, L.H., Decker, D.J., and J.F. Lipscomb. 2000. Stakeholder acceptance capacity in wildlife management. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 5:5-19. Coleman, C.L. 1993. The influence of mass media and interpersonal communication on societal and personal risk judgments. Communication Research 20(4):611-628. Craven, S.R., D.J. Decker, W.F. Siemer, and S.E. Hygnstrom. 1992. Survey use and landowner tolerance in wildlife damage management. Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference 57:75-88. Decker, D.J. 1994. What are we learning from human dimensions studies in controversial wildlife situations? Occasional Paper Series No. 21, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver, Colorado. Decker, D.J. and K.G. Purdy. 1988. Toward a concept of wildlife acceptance capacity in wildlife management. Wildlife Society Bulletin 16:53-57. Decker, D. J., C. C. Krueger, R. A. Baer Jr., B. A. Knuth, and M E. Richmond. 1996. From clients to stakeholders: a philosophical shift for fish and wildlife management. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 1:70-82. Decker, D.J. and L.C. Chase. 1997. Human dimensions of living with wildlife-a management challenge for the 21 st century. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25(4):788-795. Dillman, D.A., D.E. Dolsen, and G.E. Machlis. 1995. Increasing response to personallydelivered mail-back questionnaires by combining foot-in-door and social exchange methods. Journal of Official Statistics 11(2):129-139. 63

PAGE 73

64 Drake, D. and E.J. Jones. 2002. Forest management decisions of North Carolina landowners relative to the red-cockaded woodpecker. Wildlife Society Bulletin 30(1): 121-130. Dunlap, R.E. and K.D. Van Liere. 1978. The New Environmental Paradigm: A proposed measuring instrument and preliminary results. Journal of Environmental Education 9(4):10-19. Dunlap, R.E., K.D. Van Liere, A.G. Mertig, and R.E. Jones. 2000. Measuring endorsement of the New Ecological Paradigm: A revised NEP scale. Journal of Social Issues 56(3):425-442. Fischhoff, B. 1995. Risk perception and communication unplugged: Twenty years of process. Risk Analysis 15(2):137-145. Federal Register 40:44149. 1975. Lists of endangered and threatened fauna. Gardner, G.T. and P.C. Stern. 1996. Environmental problems and human behavior. Allyn and Bacon, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Hines, J.M., H.R. Hungerford, and A.N. Tomera. 1986/87. Analysis and synthesis of research on responsible environmental behavior: A meta-analysis. Journal of Environmental Education 18(2):1-8. Hungerford, H.R. and T.L. Volk. 1990. Changing learner behavior through environmental education. Journal of Environmental Education 21(3):8-22. Hunter, L.M. and L. Rinner. 2004. The association between environmental perspective and knowledge and concern with species diversity. Society and Natural Resources 17:517-532. Jacobson, S.K. and S.B. Marynowski. 1997. Public attitudes and knowledge about ecosystem management on Department of Defense land in Florida. Conservation Biology 11(3):770-781. Keeney, R.L. 1995. Understanding life-threatening risks. Risk Analysis 15(6):627-637. Kellert, S.R. 1985a. Social and perceptual factors in endangered species management. Journal of Wildlife Management 49(2):528-536. Kellert, S.R. 1985b. Public perceptions of predators, particularly the wolf and coyote. Biological Conservation 31:167-189. Kellert, S.R. and J.K. Berry. 1987. Attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors toward wildlife as affected by gender. Wildlife Society Bulletin 15:363-371.

PAGE 74

65 Kellert, S.R., Black, M., Rush, C.R., and A.J. Bath. 1996. Human culture and large carnivore conservation in North America. Conservation Biology 10(4):977-990. Kempton, W. 1991. Lay perspectives on global climate change. Global Environmental Change 1(3):183-209. Kidd, A.H. and R.M. Kidd. 1985. Childrens attitudes toward their pets. Psychological Reports 57:15-31. Kidd, A.H. and R.M. Kidd. 1996. Developmental factors leading to positive attitudes toward wildlife and conservation. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 47:119-125. Kleiven, J., T. Bjerke, and B.P. Kaltenborn. 2004. Factors influencing the social acceptability of large carnivore behaviours. Biodiversity and Conservation 13:1647-1658. Knuth, B.A., R.J. Stout, W.F. Siemer, D.J. Decker, and R.C. Stedman. 1992. Risk management concepts for improving wildlife population decisions and public communication strategies. Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference 57:63-74. Manly, B.F.J. 1986. Multivariate statistical methods: A primer. Chapman and Hall, New York, New York. Mazzotti, F.J. and M.S. Cherkiss. 2003. Status and Conservation of the American Crocodile in Florida: Recovering an Endangered Species While Restoring an Endangered Ecosystem. Technical Report. 41 pp. McClelland, G.H., W.D. Schulze, and B. Hurd. 1990. The effect of risk beliefs on property values: A case study of a hazardous waste site. Risk Analysis 10(4):485-497. Miller, K.K. and T.K. McGee. 2000. Sex differences in values and knowledge of wildlife in Victoria, Australia. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 5(2):54-68. Miller, K.K. and T.K. McGee. 2001. Toward incorporating human dimensions information into wildlife management decision-making. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 6:205-221. National Environmental Education and Training Foundation (NEETF). 1999. The eighth annual national report card on environmental attitudes, knowledge, and behavior. Roper-Starch Worldwide, Washington, D.C., USA. Park, E., C.W. Scherer, and C.J. Glynn. 2001. Community involvement and risk perception at personal and societal levels. Health, Risk, and Society 3(3):281-292.

PAGE 75

66 Reading, R.P. and S.R. Kellert. 1993. Attitudes toward a proposed reintroduction of black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes). Conservation Biology 7(3):569-580. Riley, S.J. 1998. Integration of environmental, biological, and human dimensions for management of cougars (Puma concolor) in Montana. PhD Dissertation, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Riley, S. J. and D.J. Decker. 2000a. Risk perception as a factor in wildlife stakeholder acceptance capacity for cougars in Montana. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 5: 50-62. Riley, S. J. and D.J. Decker. 2000b. Wildlife stakeholder acceptance capacity for cougars in Montana. Wildlife Society Bulletin 28(4):931-939. Riley, S.J., R.D. Mace, and M. Madel. 1994. Translocation of nuisance grizzly bears in northwestern Montana. International Conference on Bear Research and Management 9(1):567-573. Riley, S. J., D.J. Decker, L.H. Carpenter, J.F. Organ, W.F. Siemer, G.F. Mattfeld, and G. Parsons. 2002. The essence of wildlife management. Wildlife Society Bulletin 30(2):585-593. Siemer, W.F. and D.J. Decker. 2003. 2002 New York State black bear management survey: Study overview and findings highlight. Human Dimensions Research Unit, Series No. 03-6. Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Sinclair, J., F. Mazzotti, and J. Graham. 2003. Motives to seek threatened and endangered species information for land-use decisions. Science Communication 25(1):39-55. Slovic, P. 1987. Perception of risk. Science 236:280-285. Slovic, P. 1993. Perceived risk, trust, and democracy. Risk Analysis 13(6):675-682. Steele. J., L. Bourke, A.E. Luloff, P.S. Liao, G.L. Theodori, and R.S. Krannich. 2001. The drop-off/pick-up method for household survey research. Journal of the Community Development Society 32(2):238-250. Stern, P.C. 2000. Toward a coherent theory of environmentally significant behavior. Journal of Social Issues 56(3):407-424. Stout, R. J., B. A. Knuth, and P. D. Curtis. 1997. Preferences of suburban landowners for deer management techniques: a step towards better communication. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25:348-359.

PAGE 76

67 Tisdell, C. and C. Wilson. 2004. The publics knowledge of and support for conservation of Australias tree-kangaroos and other animals. Biodiversity and Conservation 13:2339-2359. Trumbo, C.W. 1999. Heuristic-systematic information processing and risk judgment. Risk Analysis 19(3):391-400. U.S. Census Bureau. 2003. http://www.census.gov Last accessed March 2005. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1999. South Florida multi-species recovery plan. Atlanta, Georgia. 2172 pp. von Winterfeldt, D., R.S. John, and K. Borcherding. 1981. Cognitive components of risk ratings. Risk Analysis 1(4):277-287. Weigel, R. and J. Weigel. 1978. Environmental concern: The development of a measure. Environment and Behavior 10(1):3-15. Zeckhauser, R.J. and W.K. Viscusi. 1990. Risk within reason. Science 248:559-248. Zinn, H.C. and C.L. Pierce. 2002. Values, gender, and concern about potentially dangerous wildlife. Environment and Behavior 34(2): 239-256. Zinn, H.C., M.J. Manfredo, and J.J. Vaske. 2000. Social psychological bases for stakeholder acceptance capacity. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 5:20-33.

PAGE 77

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jodie Lynn Smithem was born June 28, 1979, in Gaylord, Michigan, to Michael Craig Smithem and Beth Eileen Smithem. She spent her formative years in Naples, Florida, graduating from Barron Collier High School in 1997. Jodie earned her bachelors degree in wildlife ecology and conservation from the University of Florida in 2001. She then worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Vero Beach, Florida, until August 2002. After spending one semester at Florida Atlantic University, Jodie returned to the University of Florida in January of 2003 to pursue graduate studies. 68