Are Utahnsʼ attitudes toward wolveschanging?

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Biological Conservation

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A number of trends suggest public behavior and sentiment regarding wildlife, and especially charismatic mega-fauna such as wolves (Canis lupus), changed in the latter half of the 20th century. Declining hunter participation, support for trapping ban initiatives, changes in wildlife-related policy and the portrayal of predators in the media all point to changes in the way US residents view wildlife. Yet, while many researchers have examined attitudes toward wolves and other wildlife species, few have empirically assessed such attitudes over time. We conducted a mail survey of Utah residents in 2003, replicating the methods of a 1994 study, in order to determine if Utahns’ attitudes toward wolves changed over the last decade. In addition, we compared the attitudes of relevant subgroups (i.e., big game hunters, rural residents, urban residents) across the two studies. Our results demonstrate the relative stability of attitudes toward wolves in Utah for all groups assessed, and offer important insights into questions related to the assessment of wildlife-related attitude change.

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