A study of attitudes pertaining to the Richardson's ground squirrel

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Kincaid, Adela Tesarek
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Arts and Science, 2003
Ecologically, Richardson's ground squirrels comprise and uphold a major part of the prairie ecosystem. However, from a soceital perspective, many residents of the prairies view them as nothing more than 'pests' in need of eradication. The focus of this research is on attitudes, knowledge, and public support for specific management strategies in relation to Richardson's ground squirrels. Measuring human attitudes about wildlife is a growing field of study that can provide important information to resource management personnel. Surveys were administered to rural residents, urban residents, and grade 12 high school students residing in Lethbridge, Alberta or within a 60-km radius of the city. Urban people had a significantly more positive overall attitude score than rural people. Rural people had a significantly higher knowledge score than urban residents. Rural people supported lethal management practices in all areas listed whereas urban people more often supported alternative management practices such as capture and relocation or the introduction of predators. Both urban and rural people believed that overpopulation of Richardson's ground squirrels and the depletion of crops caused by Richardson's ground squirrels were serious problems. Overall, rural people perceived problems caused by Richardson's ground squirells to be more serious problems than did urban residents. Results provide information for decision-makers and highlight areas where education might focus. In addition, a baseline of existing attitudes toward Richardson's ground squirrels is created against which future change in attitudes or knowledge can be measured.
x, 191 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
Dissertations, Academic , Richardson's ground squirrel -- Alberta -- Surveys , Richardson's ground squirrel -- Alberta -- Public opinion , Richardson's ground squirrel -- Control -- Alberta -- Public opinion