TrentU student asks: Can learning about wolves motivate us to protect them?

As we live our busy day-to-day lives, sometimes it is difficult to remember that human beings are NOT the only species on earth …. Even though we can go weeks or even months without interacting with any wildlife!!

It is important to remember that there are MANY other species on our planet.

Trent University student, Taryn, realized that we cannot help protect wildlife until we better understand and connect to different species.

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Through her psychology thesis, Taryn’s researched ways to help educate people about the importance of wolves.

With the help of Dr. Lisa Nisbet, Taryn explored the relationship between how people connect to nature and their perceptions toward wolves!

She looked at how people respond to different types of educational content about wolves, such as articles and videos.

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Some interesting findings from her research were that students who viewed videos (such as this one) felt more fascination and positive emotions than students who just read articles.

The results of her study provided insight to how species, such as wolves, can stir up complex human emotions – both positive and negative.

Students with more empathy for nature felt more connected to the wolves and felt more love for animals.

Students with a stronger connectedness to nature felt both positive emotions (joy, interest) and negative emotions (sadness, guilt) and wanted to learn more about how to protect them.

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Taryn’s research concluded that if we can educate the public with accurate information about wolves, we might be able to increase people’s ability to empathize with them,  understand their role in ecosystems, and speak up for their protection.

By identifying what shapes people’s views of wildlife, education and communication strategies can be developed to promote greater tolerance and protection of wildlife species and habitats!

Thank you Taryn for your research!

trentu

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