What is wild? Framing “wild” in the context of wildlife conservation in Canada

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Cadger Maclean, Chantal
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As traditionally wild animal populations are being manipulated by humans, our conceptual understanding of wild is being brought into question. One outcome of the lack of understanding and consensus around wildness is the encumbering of conservation efforts across Canada. My research explored the current understanding of wildness in Canadian law and literature. Using this current understanding, I developed a framework around the parameters of wildness by undertaking a jurisdictional scan of relevant Canadian wildlife legislation, a case law review, and document analysis. The framework was further refined using semi-structured interviews with wildlife professionals. This research isolated various parameters that are commonly used to understand wildness, while providing context to their varied application across the country. The results of this research further identified inconsistences and gaps within the understanding of wildness and established that there is no universally agreed upon understanding of wildness in Canada. Further, the research revealed unexpected ways in which conservation efforts are hindered by this lack of understanding around wildness in Canada.
wildlife, wildness, Conservation in Canada