Geography PhD student Carly Sponarski will be helping to kick off the Geological Survey Winter Seminar Series on Thursday, January 31. She will be presenting a paper co-authored with Drs. Alistair Bath (MUN; Geography) and Jerry Vaske (Colorado State University) entitled "Using Potential Conflict Index to understand attitudes towards wildlife: A case study using human-coyote interactions". The talk will be held in the basement cafeteria of the Natural Resources Building, starting at 3:00 p.m.
Their abstract is below:
Attitudes toward human-wildlife interaction are important for wildlife managers. Different interest groups often differ in their perceived fear, control, and likelihood of encounters with wildlife. We explored differences and similarities among local residents, park staff, and visitors in their (a) attitudes toward, (b) fear of, (c) control over, and (d) likelihood of coming into contact with coyotes. The research was conducted near Cape Breton Highlands National Park (CBHNP), where a coyote caused a human fatality in 2008. Local residents were mailed a questionnaire (n=578; 72% return rate) in 2011. Park staff were given the questionnaire (n=124; 85% return rate) in 2011 and visitors were interviewed on trails and given a mail-back questionnaire in 2011 and 2012 (n=375; 51% return rate). The Potential Conflict Index (PCI2) was used to examine differences among the three groups. Residents held more negative attitudes, reported more fear, felt less control in coming into contact with coyotes, and reported a higher likelihood of seeing a coyote while in CBHNP than park staff and visitors. Understanding different interest group attitudes toward coyotes facilitates the design of specialized messages for different populations to ensure each is receiving the appropriate information.