Attitudes of area residents and various interest groups toward the Riding Mountain National Park wolf, Canis lupus, population

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Ponech, Carla Nicol.
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This practicum explores knowledge of, and attitudes toward, the wolf (Canis lupus) population in the Riding Mountain National Park region of Manitoba. Data were collected from 649 individuals through a mail survey. Groups surveyed included: 800 randomly selected area residents, the 12 members of the Riding Mountain Landowners Association, 93 Manitoba members of the Sierra Club, 270 Manitoba members of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, 74 Manitoba Trappers, and 45 Manitoba Outfitters. In general, a positive attitude toward wolves was found across groups. All groups surveyed had a less than 50% correct knowledge score. There were significant differences in attitude and knowledge scores between groups. The most positive attitudes were expressed by members of the two environmental groups, the least positive attitudes by the Manitoba outfitters and trappers. Attitudes of area residents and livestock producers were midway between the other groups. The highest knowledge scores were obtained by Manitoba outfitters. This was significantly different from the lowest score, obtained by the area residents, but not significantly different from the other groups. Individuals who hunted in 1995 had significantly less positive attitudes toward wolves than individuals who did not hunt in 1995. Factors related to knowledge scores included: education level, age, and gender. There was a significant difference between individuals with an elementary school education and all other groups. Individuals in the 46-55 age group had the highest knowledge score and were significantly different from all other groups. People aged from 56 to over 85 had the lowest knowledge scores. Men's knowledge scores were significantly higher than women's. As peoples' attitudes became more positive, their willingness to have wolves in the region increased. Similarly, as the level of knowledge of wolf ecology increased, the willingness to have wolves in the region increased. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)