Visitors’ Feelings toward Moose and Coyote in a Wildlife Sanctuary: Transcendent Feelings of Animal Valuation Scale

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing, UMass Chan Medical School12262, Worcester, MA, USA
  • | 2 Maine Wildlife Park (formerly), Gray, ME, USA
  • | 3 Maine Wildlife Park, Gray, ME, USA
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Despite the importance of biodiversity, humans value some species more highly than others. Placing different levels of value on species can impact nonhuman animal welfare and conservation. Feelings are central to value recognition. It’s critical to better understand how to foster positive feelings toward different species. The purpose of this study was to test the Transcendent Feelings of Animal Valuation scale and evaluate the influence of a wildlife sanctuary visit on feelings toward moose and coyotes. The scale was piloted with 29 visitors and demonstrated good reliability. It was then administered to 100 visitors. At baseline, participants had a significantly stronger emotional valuation of moose compared to coyote, consistent with negative social constructions of coyotes. Both moose and coyote scores increased significantly from pre- to post-visit, suggesting that exposure to wildlife in a sanctuary setting can increase feelings of valuation toward diverse species. The experience may also influence wildlife stewardship.

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