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This documentary investigates the politically and emotionally charged controversies surrounding Algonquin Park wolves (Ontario, Canada). Why do some people think the wolves are on the verge of extinction while others think there are too many of them? Why do people have wildly different reactions to wolves? What would cause someone to nail a wolf’s head to a telephone post?

Featuring extensive interviews with hunters, trappers, farmers, environmentalists, First Nations people, scientists and other important stakeholders this documentary seeks answers through a well-rounded view of the situation. The documentary reports on the latest scientific information regarding the wolves and asks the question: ‘Is the best information getting out to the public?’ and if it is, will it make any difference in the way people perceive the wolves of Algonquin Park?

Approx. 114 minutes
NTSC and PAL available
Copyright © 2003 Cameron A. Straughan
ISBN 978-0-9686981-2-9

I wrote, directed, edited and produced this documentary as a major project towards my Master of Environmental Studies Degree at York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The documentary won the 2002-2003 “dian marino Award” for Masters students who creatively use multi-media to communicate environmental information.

The Major Reflection Paper based on the making of the documentary is available in the FES Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Series:

http://yorkspace.library.yorku.ca/xmlui/handle/10315/18090

Abstract:

A multidisciplinary video documentary on Algonquin Park wolves was produced. Entitled Crying Wolf – Perceptions and Realities of Algonquin Park Wolves, the documentary used qualitative research techniques and mail-out surveys to compare how various interest groups value and perceive the wolves in Algonquin Park. These interest groups included Scientists, Environmentalists, Trappers, Loggers, Farmers, First Nations, and Tourism Operators. The documentary had four specific goals: 1) Identify preconceived biases and how these biases may differ between the aforementioned interest groups 2) Demonstrate the effectiveness, or lack there of, of the science community’s ability to dispel these preconceived biases (i.e., demonstrate whether or not science communication has been effective) 3) Determine if interest groups have any shared values and perceptions regarding wolves 4) Compare how people perceive the wolf in both urban and rural communities, close to and far removed from the park. The documentary demonstrated that science communication had been ineffective. In fact, some groups chose their scientific facts based on their values, instead of the science impacting their values. The film also determined that, while people do not have a common value regarding wolves per se, there are higher level values that intersect. This suggested that a shared management plan should occur at a higher level, say habitat, as opposed to managing the wolves themselves. When rural and urban communities, close to and far removed from the park, were compared, profound differences in the way people value wolves were evident. In the end, the documentary proved to be an effective synthesis of the social, cultural, scientific, and communications issues that revolved around Algonquin Park wolves.

DVD front cover

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