Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Impact of Samoan stray dogs on tourism

Beckman, M. (2015). Pilot study: influence of the Samoan dog population on visitors. SLU Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

A range of public health and animal welfare problems has been shown to be associated with free-roaming dogs. With a high density of free-roaming dogs and with a major tourism industry, Samoan tourists are likely to be influenced by the presence of the dogs. The tourists are mainly from the Oceanic region; with New Zealand and Australia as the biggest contributors. The aim of this study was to examine the potential impacts of dogs on visitors to Samoa.
A questionnaire was handed out to 281 visitors all over Samoa, collecting opinions and information on visitors’ experiences and behaviour regarding the Samoan dogs. The data were collected and analysed.
Almost all of the respondents in this study had seen free-roaming dogs in Samoa (269/274) and half of these respondents were negatively affected by the dogs’ presence (137/211). A vast majority of respondents thought that dogs required better management in Samoa (222/274). A majority also thought there were too many strays in Samoa (188/277) and that they did not look well fed (180/274) or healthy (194/274). A vast majority of respondents had ever avoided contact with dogs (235/272). About a fourth of the respondents had witnessed inappropriate behaviour against dogs according to their own definition (66/262). More dogs were seen in Apia, the capital of Samoa, where dogs also were more commonly perceived as a problem. Respondents in this study showed a support for humane population management methods such as sterilisation and registration. A majority were supportive of humane euthanasia, but a vast majority were unsupportive of poisoning of strays.
Compared to similar studies in other tourist areas, respondents in this study showed a high concern of dogs. The greater problems with free-roaming dogs in Apia have earlier been shown in other urban areas.
Free-roaming dogs are a problem for the tourism industry in Samoa. The findings of this study, along with previous findings, present the need of improvement of the Samoan dog situation. The problem seems to be more urgent in Apia than in the rest of Samoa.

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