Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Dr. Cheryl E. Morse


wildlife values, bears, wildlife conservation, values


The values held by conservationists affect research and management goals, and successful collaboration between conservationists and the public often requires mutual communication of values. Despite a growing awareness of the relation between values and conservation policy, there remains a distinct lack of studies addressing the values and narratives of wildlife researchers and managers. Using the International Bear Association (IBA) as a case study, I surveyed and interviewed attendees at the 25th International Conference on Bear Research and Management in Quito, Ecuador to collect information about their wildlife values and personal narratives. Participants held multiple strong values toward bears but, compared with the public, tended more toward naturalistic/mutualistic than utilitarian values. Additionally, participants from North America and Europe described a dominant narrative in which time spent in nature influenced them to enter bear conservation, whereas no prominent counter-narrative emerged from South American or Asian participants. This study shows that bear researchers and managers can capitalize on their multiple values in order to connect effectively with more sectors of the public, and that improved understanding of the non-dominant narratives within the IBA community could make it more cohesive and accessible to members from all regions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.