Crying Wolf – Perceptions and Realities of Algonquin Park Wolves
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A multidisciplinary video documentary on Algonquin Park wolves was produced. Entitled Crying Wolf – Perceptions and Realities of Algonquin Park Wolves, the documentary used qualitative research techniques and mail-out surveys to compare how various interest groups value and perceive the wolves in Algonquin Park. These interest groups included Scientists, Environmentalists, Trappers, Loggers, Farmers, First Nations, and Tourism Operators. The documentary had four specific goals: 1) Identify preconceived biases and how these biases may differ between the aforementioned interest groups 2) Demonstrate the effectiveness, or lack there of, of the science community's ability to dispel these preconceived biases (i.e., demonstrate whether or not science communication has been effective) 3) Determine if interest groups have any shared values and perceptions regarding wolves 4) Compare how people perceive the wolf in both urban and rural communities, close to and far removed from the park. The documentary demonstrated that science communication had been ineffective. In fact, some groups chose their scientific facts based on their values, instead of the science impacting their values. The film also determined that, while people do not have a common value regarding wolves per se, there are higher level values that intersect. This suggested that a shared management plan should occur at a higher level, say habitat, as opposed to managing the wolves themselves. When rural and urban communities, close to and far removed from the park, were compared, profound differences in the way people value wolves were evident. In the end, the documentary proved to be an effective synthesis of the social, cultural, scientific, and communications issues that revolved around Algonquin Park wolves.