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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Investigation of preferences for non-consumptive recreational use of wildlife Le Fevre, Allan George

Abstract

Traditionally, the objective of wildlife management in British Columbia has been the maximization of a sustained yield of a selected number of game species. In accordance with this objective, wildlife management energies and resources have been directed primarily toward the regulation of sport hunting and fishing - consumptive uses, and activities associated with the protection of habitat of game species. Data on the visitation rates to local wildlife refuges and the existence of a number of natural history societies throughout the province, however, suggests that there is a demand for non-consumptive use of wildlife in the province. Resource planners must make decisions concerning the allocation of the provincial wildlife resource between these two alternative uses in a manner that reflects the demand for the uses in order to maximize the benefits of the resource to residents of British Columbia. The difficult question arises of how can the various demands for wildlife resource use be satisfied when there is no market mechanism available for guidance? Most outdoor recreation in North America which depends on entry to the public domain of land and water resources with its implied access to fish and wildlife populations have traditionally been provided free of charge. Without a market there is a need to find alternative means of generating information on demand. This study suggests a methodology that will permit an estimation of demand for non-consumptive use of wildlife through an investigation of use preferences. A questionnaire was developed to survey perceptions, attitudes and behaviour of non-consumptive users. As there is no record of the non-consumptive user clientele, three groups of non-consumptive users were surveyed. These included members of the Vancouver Natural History Society (organized users) and two groups of unorganized users -visitors to Reifel Wildfowl Refuge and persons listed in the Vancouver Telephone Directory. A total of 595 questionnaires were employed in the analysis of which 309 were from the Vancouver Natural History Society, 150 from visitors to Reifel Refuge and 136 from persons listed in the telephone directory. Data were analyzed utilizing the formats contained in S.P.S.S. (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). Chi-square tests were used to establish whether there were significant differences in response among the groups. Analysis of perception data revealed that the majority of respondents from all groups perceived themselves as non-consumptive users of wildlife rather than consumptive. Pew of the respondents from any group exhibited a dual orientation. Similarly, a greater proportion of respondents by far from all groups participated in non-consumptive use rather than sport hunting or fishing. Moreover, a study of attitudes revealed that the majority of respondents from all groups were willing to spend money or see public money spent for the management of wildlife for non-consumptive use. A large proportion of respondents from all groups participated in primarily four non-consumptive uses. These were: wildlife viewing, wildlife photography, wildlife identification and wildlife feeding. Of three specific areas where individuals might interact with wildlife non-consumptively, participation data revealed that a greater proportion of respondents from all groups visited Reifel Refuge than either of the other two sites. Chi-square tests indicated that the Reifel and telephone samples had the greatest overall similarity of response. The two groups responded similarly to 17 of a total of 23 questions pertaining to perceptions, attitudes and behaviour. There is least similarity of response between the Vancouver Natural History Society and the telephone sample These groups responded in a similar manner to only 9 of a total of 23 questions. This research demonstrated that by sampling various user groups, it is both possible and feasible to investigate preferences for non-consumptive use of wildlife employing a questionnaire survey of perceptions, attitudes and behaviour. In view of the findings of the study there is a need for the Pish and Wildlife Branch to recognize formally this demand and in so doing, commit the Branch to both an investigation of the opportunities for satisfying this demand and to the undertaking of further research of these demands.

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