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Are wolves welcome? Hunters' attitudes towards wolves in Vermont, USA

  • Nelson Grima (a1), John Brainard (a1) and Brendan Fisher (a1)

Abstract

The forests of the north-east USA were once home to the wolf Canis lupus, a species that played an important role in the ecology of this region. However, wolves were eradicated from the region more than a century ago, altering the species composition of the landscape and driving cascading changes in this ecosystem. Outdoor recreation is a major component of the economy of this region, and outdoor recreationists, including the hunting community, have a strong influence over decision-making related to policies on natural resources. Given their powerful position, hunters are important stakeholders whose views need to be taken into account when designing policies related to wildlife, in particular in relation to a controversial species such as the wolf. In this study, through expert interviews and an online survey, we gained a deeper understanding of the attitudes of hunters towards wolves, and how these attitudes could affect any future reintroduction programme or natural movement of wolves into the state. We found that the majority of hunters hold a suite of negative attitudes towards wolves, their role in the landscape and their potential impact on the region. However, for hunters who were able to recognize the ecological roles of wolves, these negative attitudes were mostly reversed.

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(Corresponding author) E-mail nelson.grima@uvm.edu

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Supplementary material for this article is available at https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605319000061

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Are wolves welcome? Hunters' attitudes towards wolves in Vermont, USA

  • Nelson Grima (a1), John Brainard (a1) and Brendan Fisher (a1)

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