Canadian Forest Service Publications

Public perceptions of conservation of grizzly bears in the Foothills Model Forest: a survey of local and Edmonton residents. 2007. McFarlane, B.L.; Watson, D.O.; Stumpf-Allen, R.C.G. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, Alberta. Information Report NOR-X-413. 55 p.

Year: 2007

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 27361

Language: English

Series: Information Report (NoFC - Edmonton)

Availability: PDF (download)

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Abstract

The Foothills Model Forest (FtMF) initiated the Grizzly Bear Program in 1999 to examine the biological and ecological aspects of grizzly bear conservation. In 2004, the research was expanded to include some of the human dimensions of grizzly bear conservation. A study was undertaken to determine public perceptions of the sustainability of grizzly bear populations, perceived threats to grizzly bear populations, knowledge of grizzly bear biology and ecology, attitudes toward grizzly bears, preferences related to grizzly bear management, and views on public involvement in grizzly bear management. Data were collected by mail survey in 2004 from residents of Jasper (n = 388); residents of other FtMF communities and nearby towns (n = 660); and residents of Edmonton (n = 652). Generally, respondents were not informed about grizzly bears, they had a positive attitude toward them, they thought the grizzly bear population in the FtMF was somewhat or very sustainable, and they thought that industry, poaching, and human use of grizzly habitat were potential threats to the grizzly bear population. Support for management to conserve grizzlies was highest for options relating to control and communications such as public education and bear-proofing settlements, but there was also support for restrictions on industrial development, access to public lands, and hunting. All groups supported the public having a role in decision-making about grizzly bear management and indicated that Parks Canada, provincial government departments, environmental organizations, and local residents should have the most influence. Respondents in FtMF communities were more optimistic about the sustainability of grizzly bear populations in the model forest, perceived less risk to grizzly bears from industrial activities, and were not as receptive to restrictions on public access and industrial expansion in grizzly bear habitat as the other groups.