Survey data on public awareness, attitudes, and acceptance of potential Dalmatian pelican introduction and associated habitat management in the Somerset Levels and East Anglian Fens (2021)
Dataset of interview responses for 590 respondents (271 from the Somerset Levels and 319 from the East Anglian Fens). Data collected between 21 April and 4 July 2021.
Data were collected using a 15-minute online questionnaire on the Qualtrics platform, which contained a mix of closed and open questions. The questionnaire was distributed through a combination of purposive and snowball sampling approaches: it was shared to 142 local community groups on Facebook, emailed to parish clerks and district councillors in each study region, and advertised through the Zoological Society of London’s Facebook page, with recipients asked to share the questionnaire with their social networks. Written informed consent was obtained from all respondents before they could answer the questionnaire.
Information was first collected on respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics. Respondents were also asked whether they were members of hunting, angling, or local or national nature conservation organisations, and whether they took part in nature-related activities. Nature-relatedness was measured using a five-point Likert scale with six items using the NR-6 scale. Respondents were then asked whether they had heard of rewilding; to free-list any species they knew had become locally extinct, that they would like or dislike to be reintroduced locally, and that they knew had already been reintroduced locally; and their attitudes about these past reintroductions, measured using a five-point Likert scale (extremely good to extremely bad, with neutral midpoint).
Respondents were then asked about their knowledge and attitudes concerning Dalmatian pelican and five other large waterbird species present in the study areas now or in the past. They were shown a picture of each species, and asked to name them, choose whether they occur locally or have ever/always occurred there in the past, and rate their attitude to each species using a five-point Likert scale (strongly like to strongly dislike, with neutral midpoint).
Finally, after being informed that Dalmatian pelicans had been locally resident during prehistory, respondents were asked to list any benefits or concerns they saw about potential pelican reintroduction, whether they would support it (measured using a five-point Likert scale from very supportive to very unsupportive, with neutral midpoint), and what they might want to know about pelicans that could influence their opinion about the species’ reintroduction. They were then asked eight five-point Likert scale questions (strongly agree to strongly disagree, with neutral midpoint) about their attitudes toward different aspects or implications of wetland restoration, and a further question about whether they agreed with the statement “It doesn’t matter to me that much”, to capture their wider opinion about wetland restoration in general.