Advisor

Barbara Brower

Date of Award

Fall 12-11-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography

Department

Geography

Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 140 pages)

Subjects

Coyote -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area -- Public opinion -- Case studies, Coyote -- Web-based instruction, Coyote -- Study and teaching, Human-animal relationships -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area -- Case studies

DOI

10.15760/etd.2639

Abstract

Coyote (Canis latrans) numbers are increasing in urban areas, leading to more frequent human-coyote interactions. Rarely, and particularly when coyotes have become habituated to humans, conflicts occur. Effective education about urban coyotes and how to prevent habituation reduces conflict. Citizen science, in the form of online education, can be used to engage and educate city dwellers about urban coyotes. In this research, I explore Portland Metropolitan Area (PMA) residents' baseline experiences with, and attitudes toward, urban coyotes. Next, I investigate citizen science as a tool for education. Using the Portland Urban Coyote Project (PUCP), a citizen science project, as a case study, I investigate people's experiences with citizen science and evaluate whether attitudes and knowledge about coyotes changes after an interactive online educational tool. Most participants had seen a coyote at least once, were generally positive about coyotes, and were well-informed about basic facts. Participants who completed a tutorial that provided basic information about coyotes and dispelled common myths, showed higher knowledge scores and more positive, research-based attitudes. These results suggest that educational tools in citizen science projects can be effective for providing information and shaping attitudes about urban coyotes. Increased public access to education about how to live safely with coyotes is an important tool for proactive management. Online educational tools associated with citizen science projects are a viable option for efficient, inexpensive management of urban coyote populations.

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/16450

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