This is it!
This morning we ventured to town to collect surveys for the last time. We had responses from the world's leading Basking shark expert and from a former Basking shark hunter. We had several tourists and an abundance of locals.
Below are a few of the findings from the survey given out.
1. Did you know you can find Basking sharks in local waters?
This question was important in establishing whether or not there was public knowledge of Basking sharks. Of the 46 responses, 74% knew there were Basking sharks, and 26% said they were not aware.
2. Do you know what a Basking shark looks like?
69% said yes, 31% said no.
3. What do you think Basking Sharks eat? Check out the chart below to see the responses.
I was surprised to see how many people picked small fish. Although the majority of people picked the correct answers (micro animals and micro plants), it was interesting to get responses in the other categories.
4. On a scale of 0-10, how dangerous do you think Basking Sharks are?
This top row of this chart represents the scale 0-10, while the bottom represents the number of responses for each number.
5. Do you think reporting Basking Shark sightings could help with Basking Shark conservation? How likely?
This last question made me especially emotional when I started crunching the data. Even the person who said he thought Basking Sharks ate people said reporting the sightings could help conservation. It was such a cool feeling to see the support from strangers.
The findings of our survey were simple: people don't know much about Basking sharks. A lot of people weren't sure how large they are, where they can be found, what they eat, or how dangerous they are to people. This proves that there's a need for more communication about Basking sharks.
One thing I'd like to further research would be to see if there is a correlation between the people who thought Basking Sharks ate fish, seals, and other animals and how dangerous they thought basking sharks were.
This survey was such a fun way to break into the science field. It allowed me to combine my communication experience with my passion for science and sharks. It also helped me find a passion I didn't know I had for communicating science in a way anyone could understand.