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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES:
As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we’re expecting some presentation cancellations and will continue to update the schedule with changes as they occur.  Otherwise the conference will proceed as planned.  Current cancellations and changes are listed here.

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Monday, January 28 • 2:40pm - 3:00pm
(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: WILDLIFE) Tolerance of Restored Wildlife: Landowner Attitudes Toward Elk in Northwest Minnesota

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AUTHORS: Eric Walberg, Minnesota Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Minnesota; Gino D'Angelo, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Georgia; David C. Fulton, U.S. Geological Survey, Minnesota Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit; Lou Cornicelli, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Reintroduction is an important tool used to restore elk (Cervus elaphus) populations to their native ranges in North America, though private landowners may be negatively impacted due to damage to private property (e.g., agricultural crops, fences). Restoration of elk populations in northwest Minnesota began in the 1920’s, yet elk numbers have remained low and the species is currently managed at low levels to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. The long-term viability of elk populations in Minnesota depends on landowner tolerance and public support for elk. Past studies have found that most individuals affected by elk normally do not participate in actions that impact the elk population, though as human-elk interactions increase individuals’ start undertaking actions either negatively or positively impacting the elk population. Actions that negatively impact wildlife indicate intolerance of a species and actions that positively impact a species indicate stewardship. We conducted a census of landowners within elk range in northwest Minnesota (N = 768) using a mail-based questionnaire to assess landowner attitudes toward elk and elk management in northwest Minnesota. Our theoretical framework posits that tolerance can be represented using three concepts: (1) Wildlife Acceptance Capacity (WAC); (2) attitudes toward elk; and (3) trust in the responsible management agency. Our research objectives were to understand tolerance of elk in northwest Minnesota among landowners and determine the effectiveness of our model at measuring tolerance of elk populations. The analysis supported two conclusions: (1) a majority of landowners have neutral tolerance attitudes toward elk (55%), and (2) landowner attitudes toward elk and WAC are effective measures of landowner tolerance of the elk population in northwest Minnesota.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm
CENTER STREET ROOM B

Attendees (8)