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EVALUATION OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR THE
ANDEAN BEAR INT AN ECUADORIAN PROTECTED AREA
SANTIAGO ESPINOSA ANDRADE
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Santiago Espinosa Andrade
To Maiko, for 9 years of loyal company.
I would like to Birst acknowledge the community of Oyacachi, whose warmth and
collaboration were essential to the fulfillment of this study. Special thanks go to David
Pari6n, President of the Cabildo in 2003; Teodoro Ascanta, Director of the school; Cesar
Aigaj e, Nelly Isa, and Gustavo Parion (teachers at the school); and Patricio and Maria
Aigaj e. I consider all of them dear friends who gave me their help when I most needed it.
Deep thanks go to Luis Suarez, who Birst proposed that I conduct this evaluation
and put me in contact with the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect team (Jaime Camacho,
Francisco Cuesta, and Saskia Flores). I truly appreciated their collaboration, interest in
my research, and willingness to share their extensive experience and knowledge.
This research would not have been possible without the Einancial support of the
Program for Studies in Tropical Conservation (PSTC) Compton Fellowship in
Environment and Sustainable Development; along with the Jennings Scholarship, in the
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.
I am extremely grateful to my academic advisor, Susan Jacobson, whose
unending support allowed me to pursue my goals, whose guidance helped me maintain
focus in my research, and whose wisdom helped me clarify my ideas. I would also like
to thank my supervisory committee, Janaki Alavalapati and Glenn Israel. They provided
me with many thoughtful comments and suggestions, which vastly improved the quality
of this work.
I also extend my gratitude to my friends at the University of Florida, who helped
create a wonderful environment in which I was able to develop my ideas and enj oy
myself. Special thanks go to Rafael Reyna, Alejandro Paredes, and Ivan Diaz who, in
addition to their friendship, helped me revise portions of this thesis and provided me with
I also would like to thank my Uncle Bruno, who has been like a brother to me and
has always been willing to help me in everything that I have done. His logistical support
made fieldwork for this research much easier.
I extend special thanks to the woman who changed my life in Gainesville, Amy
Duchelle. Amy brought me the peace, warmth, and happiness that made me feel at home,
despite being so far away. Her constant love and support kept me going and lifted my
spirits when I most needed it. She read this document several times, corrected my
English, and provided me with thoughtful advice to improve this work.
Finally, I want to express my love and gratitude to my parents for providing me
with the values and principles that have guided me throughout my life.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. .................... iv
LI ST OF T ABLE S ............ ..... ._ .............. ix...
LI ST OF FIGURE S .............. .................... xi
AB STRAC T ................ .............. xii
1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............1.......... ......
Trends in the Conservation of the Andean Bear in Ecuador ................. ................. .2
The Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect ................. ...... ............ .. ....... ......... ......4
Theoretical Framework of Responsible Environmental Attitudes and Behavior.........6
Research Objectives and Hypothesis............... ...............
2 DESIGN AND IVETHODS............... ...............12
Site Description .............. ...............13....
Sampling Design for Surveys ................ ...............13................
Structure of Survey s ................. ...............14................
Survey for Adults ................. .. .. ........... ........1
Survey for Children at the Elementary School ................. .........................15
Focus Groups ................... ......... ... ...............15......
Focus Group with Authorities .............. ...............16....
Focus Group with Para-Biologists............... ............1
Focus Group with Teachers ................. ...............16................
Data Analysis ................. ...............16.................
Quantitative Data ................. ...............16.................
Qualitative Data............... ...............17..
3 RE SULT S .............. ...............20....
Survey Results .............. ...............20....
Evaluating the ABCP-EEP with Adults .............. .. ...............20...
Sociodemographic and Economic Background............... ...............2
Bear Interactions.................. .. ................2
Knowledge Indicators about the Environment and Conservation ................... ....23
Attitudes toward Bears and the Environment............... ..............2
Factors Influencing Attitudes ................ ..... ........ ..........2
Behavioral Intentions toward Bears and the Environment .........._.... ...............29
Factors Influencing Behavioral Intentions .............. ...............32....
ABCP -EEP Perceived Results by the Community.............__ .........___.......33
Factors Related with Perception about ABCP-EEP Results .............. ................36
Evaluating the ABCP-EEP on Children .............. ...............37....
Knowl ed ge............ ..... ._ ...............37....
A attitudes .............. ...............37....
Behavioral Intentions............... ...............3
School and Program Support............... ...............39
Focus Group Responses............... ...............4
Focus Group with Authorities .............. ...............40....
Focus Group with Teachers .....__.....___ ..........._ ............4
Focus Group with Para-Biologists............... ............4
Limitations of the Study .............. ...............45....
4 DI SCUS SSION ............ ..... ._ ...............56...
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavioral Intentions in Oyacachi .............. ..............57
Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions in Children ................... ..........57
Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions in Adults ............... ... ............58
Support for the AB CP Environmental Educational Program ................ ................. 62
Variables Influencing Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions ................. ................ ..65
Variables Influencing Support for the ABCP............... .... ....... .............6
Comparison of the ABCP -EEP Strategy to other Environmental Education
Efforts to Conserve Large Carnivores .............. ...............70....
Conclusion ............ ..... ._ ...............72...
5 RECOM1VENDATIONS ............ ..... ._ ...............75....
A QUESTIONNAIRE FOR ADULT S............... ...............79
B QUESTIONNAIRE FOR CHILDREN AT THE SCHOOL ............_.. ..............88
C F OCU S GROUP S GUIDE S .............. ...............94....
D CHI-SQUARE TESTS .............. ...............96....
E FACTOR ANALY SIS ............ ..... ._ ...............103...
F PEARSON CORRELATIONS .....__.....___ ..........._ ............10
LIST OF REFERENCES ............. ...... ._ ...............110..
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............. ...... ...............117...
LIST OF TABLES
3-1 Sociodemographic and economic indicators ................. ............... ......... ...47
3-2 Education levels of survey respondents .............. ...............47....
3-3 Interaction/conflicts between the bear and participants .............. .....................4
3-4 Costs of damages caused by bear .............. ...............47....
3-5 List of knowledge indicators, grouped in four domains. ................ .............. .....48
3-6 Comparison between knowledge level of male and female participants .................48
3-7 Attitudes toward conservation of bears and the natural environment ................... ...49
3-8 Attitudes toward bears............... ...............49.
3-9 Questions grouped in indices .............. ...............50....
3-11 Behavioral intentions toward environmental protection .............. .....................5
3-12 Reaction in hypothetical encounter with a cub and an adult bear ................... .........52
3-13 Behavioral intentions toward a bear at different degrees of proximity ................... .52
3-14 Behavioral intentions toward bear management ................. .......... ...............52
3-15 ABCP-EEP perceived achievements by the community............... ...............5
3-16 Other important perceptions about ABCP .............. ...............53....
3-17 Questions for children compared between the years 2000 and 2003 .......................54
3-18 Comparison between knowledge scores in 2000 and 2003 ............... ..............54
3-19 Attitudes of children at the school ........... _.....__ ......__ .........5
3-20 Behavioral intentions of children at the school ......____ ... .... ...............55
3-21 Children' s behavioral intentions toward a bear at varying degrees of proximity ....55
3 -22 Students awareness of ABCP-EEP and support of the school program ................55
D-1 Attitude toward bear protection............... ...............9
D-2 Attitudes about personal importance of bear............... ...............96.
D-3 Behavioral intentions when participant encounters an adult bear ................... .........97
D-4 Behavioral intentions when participant encounters a bear cub ............... ...............97
D-5 Behavioral intentions to prevent bear damage to cattle and crops ................... ........98
D-6. Behavioral intentions of how participants would use the bear .........._.... .............98
D-7 Attitudes toward protecting nature ................. ...............99........... ...
D-8 Attitudes toward the RECAY............... ...............99.
D-9 Behavioral intentions toward helping conserve the environment ................... .........99
D-10 Behavioral intentions toward burning paramos .............. ...............100....
D-11 Behavioral intentions toward collaborating with forest rangers ............................100
D-12 Behavioral intentions in an encounter with a bear ................. ........... ...........100
D-14 Children satisfaction with teachers .............. ...............101....
D-16 Place where children would like to attend high school.........._.._.._ ......._.._.. ....102
LIST OF FIGURES
1-1 Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) .............. ...............10....
1-2 Distribution of the Spectacled Bear along the Andean Region ............. ..............11
2-1 National System of Protected Areas in Ecuador, Location of the community of
Oyacachi at the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve. ............. .....................1
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master in Science
EVALUATION OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR THE
ANDEAN BEAR INT AN ECUADORIAN PROTECTED AREA
Santiago Espinosa Andrade
Chair: Susan K. Jacobson
Major Department: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
This study evaluates the impact of an environmental education program to protect
the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) in the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve in
Ecuador. Andean bears are threatened by reduction and fragmentation of their habitat,
hunting, and persecution by farmers. To help conserve this species, the Andean Bear
Conservation Proj ect, with an Environmental Education Program (EEP), were
implemented in 1997 in the community of Oyacachi, located within the boundaries of the
reserve. The EEP's objective was to stimulate local support toward conservation of the
Andean bear and its habitat, targeting school children and adults.
Methods to assess the EEP's impact on the community after 5 years of
implementation include a personal survey with 146 adults; a written survey completed by
44 children; and three focus groups conducted with authorities, teachers and para-
biologists. Baseline data were available from 1997 for adults and from 2000 for children.
Program success was analyzed based on changes in levels of environmental knowledge,
attitudes and behavioral intentions toward bear protection after program inception, along
with support for the program.
The evaluation revealed partial success of the ABCP-EEP in achieving its
obj ectives. Children' s level of knowledge, attitudes and behavioral intentions did not
change between 2000 and 2003, although the frequencies of positive responses were high
in these two last indicators, ranging from 80-97% and 84-100% for both years,
respectively. Adults' positive attitudes toward bear protection, and behavioral intentions
based on a conflictive situation with bears had a positive association with participants'
levels of knowledge and education. Positive attitudes toward bear presence in Oyacachi
were negatively associated with respondents' past experiences with livestock predation.
Program support was positively associated with respondents' participation in the Andean
Bear Conservation Proj ect.
To increase program success recommendations include creating more continuity in
project activities; reaching more sectors of the population; improving communication
strategies for informing the public about activities conducted by the ABCP, along with
the results of these activities; and planning future evaluations and monitoring of the
ABCP-EEP. Because livestock predation was a factor that decreased community support
for conservation of the Andean bear, our study suggests the importance of coordinating
educational activities with development proj ects that shift dependence on cattle to other
livelihoods and thereby reduce conflicts with bears.
Since 1998, the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect has been conducting an
Environmental Educational Program in the community of Oyacachi, Ecuador, with the
obj ective of increasing community support for conservation of this endangered species.
To date, the results obtained by the program have not been described. Have the
inhabitants of Oyacachi gained more knowledge since the program's inception? Do they
have positive attitudes toward conserving the environment and the Andean bear
population? Do they support the activities conducted by the program? These and many
other programmatic questions can be answered through an evaluation.
Evaluation, in its broadest sense, is a process for determining the value or worth of
something (Rossi & Freeman 1993). Program evaluations are important (Jacobson 1999)
because they permit us to measure achievement of program obj ectives, assess secondary
outcomes and unanticipated impacts, identify strengths and weaknesses in the program,
analyze the program from a cost-benefit perspective, improve program effectiveness,
collect evidence to promote future programs, and share experience and lessons learned
with similar programs.
Evaluations have been demonstrated to be essential components in educational
programs, allowing for the collection of relevant information in order to identify failures
and adapt programs to improve their probability of success (Padua & Jacobson 1993,
Gerakis 1998, Heffernan 1998, Archer 2002, Rovira 2002). In an analysis of 56 tropical
conservation education programs conducted between 1975 and 1990, Norris and
Jacobson (1998) found that fewer than the half of the programs had achieved their goals.
One main attribute significantly correlated with program success was the use of either
formative or long-term evaluation.
Our study evaluated results of the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect' s
Environmental Education Program (ABCP-EEP) by measuring changes in individuals'
levels of environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. An increase in
knowledge is considered an important indicator of the success of an environmental
education program (McDonough & Lee 1990), along with public satisfaction with, and
support for, a program (Rossi et al. 1999). Our study provides an assessment of the
ABCP-EEP, with the goal of enhancing program success, which ultimately will
contribute to the conservation of this endangered species.
Trends in the Conservation of the Andean Bear in Ecuador
The Andes are the home of the only species of bear occurring in South America,
the Andean, or spectacled, bear (Tremarctos ornatus) (Figure 1-1). The spectacled bear
is mainly distributed through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia (Peyton
1999) (1-2), but has been occasionally reported in the Darien region of Panama
(Jorgenson 1984) and in northwestern Argentina (Brown & Rumiz 1989). The
Spectacled Bear Specialist Group (SBSG) has estimated a population of at least 18,250
individuals in the wilderness (Peyton 1999). In Ecuador, the spectacled bear population
has been calculated to be around 2,500 individuals, with no subpopulation at more than
250 mature individuals (Cuesta & Suarez 2001). An effort to protect this species at an
international level is reflected in its inclusion in Appendix I of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES
(UNEP-WCMC 2004), and its classification as a vulnerable species in the Red List of
Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources, IUCN (IUCN 2003).
In Ecuador, the spectacled bear inhabits a variety of Andean ecosystems (such as
cloud forests and piramos) along an altitudinal range of 900-4,250m, on both western
and eastern Andean slopes (Su~rez 1999). The main threat to the long-term survival of
the spectacled bear is the loss and fragmentation of its habitat (Su~rez 1999). Montane
[cloud] forests have been drastically reduced in the last decades, by deforestation and
habitat conversion to other land uses. Dodson and Gentry (1991) point out that almost
nothing is left from the original forest of the inter-Andean valleys, with only 4% of
montane forests remaining on the western slopes. Valencia (1995) notes that montane
forests are the most threatened ecosystems in Ecuador, with only 7% of their original
Although Ecuadorian law prohibited the hunting of the spectacled bear in 1970,
poaching (for commercial sale of its parts, in local and international markets) currently
constitutes a significant threat to bear populations (Cuesta & Su~rez 2001). Mazariegos
and Adams (1994) reported 15 bears killed in 1993, in two communities neighboring
protected areas in Ecuador (to obtain bear fat, considered by local people to have
medicinal properties). They estimated 70-120 bears killed annually in Ecuador. The
expansion of the agricultural frontier has increased human-bear conflicts. As their
habitats are reduced, bears are forced to feed on crops, particularly corn (Su~rez 1999).
Bear predation on livestock is reported in areas where cattle-ranching activities are
conducted near bear habitats (Goldstein 1991). These negative interactions increase
farmers' willingness to participate in the extermination of this animal, which is
considered by many to be a pest (Suarez 1999).
The Andean Bear Conservation Project
As a response to the critical status of the spectacled bear population and its habitat,
in 1997, the non-governmental Ecuadorian organization EcoCiencia, with the support of
the World Conservation Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), created the
Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect (ABPC). This proj ect consisted of the following two
components: research on Andean bear ecology, and an environmental education program.
The Environmental Education Program's (EEP) obj ective was to increase people's
level of knowledge about the environment, and to promote positive attitudes and
behaviors toward conservation of the Andean bear and its habitat. The program began in
1997, in the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve (RECAY), with an assessment of
people's attitudes toward bears in the communities of Sardinas and Oyacachi (Cuesta
1998). The EEP activities have continued in Oyacachi, addressing both children and
The activities for adults have included: (1) workshops dealing with local
environmental issues, such as a campaign for solid waste management; (2) collaboration
with SEC a high school long distance program for adults who are not able to conduct
their studies in one of the cities closer to Oyacachi2, and (3) the training and recruitment
i An important activity with students in their last year at the SEC, was the creation of environmental
interpretative trails for tourists. This activity was worth as a final project for the students in order to obtain
their high school diplomas.
2 The Training and Capacity Building System (SEC) was created by the Ministry of Environment as a
initiative to provide education to the personnel who work in the National System of Protected Areas. This
program has a strong environmental education component, and due to its success, was expanded to provide
education to local communities established in and around protected areas.
of community members to work as "para-biologists" in collaboration with research being
conducted on Andean bear ecology.
The EEP's efforts with children have been directed at collaborations with the local
school. From June through October of 1998, a pilot program was developed by the
ABCP, which included three primary components: (1) the insertion of environmental
education in the curriculum of the school; (2) the design and elaboration of didactic
materials for this school; and (3) the creation of a summer school program for the
children of Oyacachi. One year later, the pilot program was improved by the ABCP-
EEP, resulting in the School Plan for Environmental Education and Capacity Building
From December 1999 to April 2000, the ABCP conducted a diagnosis of socio-
pedagogic and educational needs of the school before designing the PECAE. The
resulting PECAE consisted of four components: (1) a curricular program, which
incorporated environmental education as a theoretical framework in the learning process
of children; (2) a capacity building program, which was conducted with teachers at the
school to improve their skills in environmental education; (3) an infrastructure program,
to improve the learning platform for children; and (4) a communication program, to share
acquired information and experiences with other people, both within and outside of the
community (Flores et al. 2000).
Tangible results of these activities include people' s personal accounts of the
workshops, EEP publications, didactic materials produced with the teachers and students
and even a radio program, narrated by local people, telling the story of an Andean bear.
However, there has not been any monitoring or evaluation of the EEP. This study is the
first attempt to evaluate the processes and results obtained by the Andean Bear
Conservation Proj ect and its Environmental Education Program.
Theoretical Framework of Responsible Environmental Attitudes and Behavior
There are several theories that attempt to elucidate pro-environmental behavior and
are relevant to understanding people's interactions with wildlife. Most notably, these
theories suggest the importance of people' s attitudes as predictors of their behavior.
Therefore, in understanding the interactions between people and bears in Oyacachi, it is
important to first define the variables that influence attitudes toward wildlife.
Kellert (1996) proposed four interacting variables that shape individuals' attitudes
toward wildlife: (1) individuals' basic values toward animals and nature that inevitably
affect their perceptions about a particular species; (2) physical and behavioral
characteristics of an animal, such as its size, perceived intelligence, morphology, mode of
locomotion, and cultural and historical associations; (3) knowledge and understanding
about a particular species, including factual, conceptual and conservation awareness; and
(4) past and present interactions with a particular species, including conflicts, recreational
use, property relationships and management status.
According to Ajzen and Fishbein' s "Theory of Reasoned Action" (Ajzen &
Fishbein 1980), a person's intention to perform a pro-environmental action is determined
by a combination of two components: (1) his or her attitude toward the behavior, which is
influenced by beliefs that are shaped by a person's experiences and knowledge, and (2)
subj ective norms, which refer to the social context in which a person acts. For example,
if a person thinks that it is good to protect bears, and this sentiment is reinforced in their
community, it is more likely this person will behave positively toward bears. This theory
was extended by Ajzen (1985) in his theory of planned behavior, which added that even
if individuals have the intention of performing a particular behavior, the behavior will
only happen if an individual both perceives that he or she has the capability to perform it
(perceived control) and also the necessary skills (actual control). These variables
determine whether behaviors actually follow people's intent to behave in a certain way
and demonstrate the importance of capacity-building in reinforcing pro-environmental
Hines et al. (1986/87) created a "model of responsible environmental behavior"
based on six variables, observed to be the most influential in shaping individuals'
intentions to act and therefore their behavior
1. Knowledge of issues: In this case, a person needs to be aware of the issues
surrounding conservation of the spectacled bear, in order to influence his or her
intention to act.
2. Knowledge of action strategies: A person needs to know what his or her choices
are for reducing human impact on the bear population;
3. Locus of control: The individual has to have the perception that his or her actions
will make a difference in bear conservation;
4. Attitudes: A person must have a positive attitude toward the bear, in order to want
to protect it;
5. Verbal commitment: If there is an expressed intention to collaborate with a bear
conservation program, it is more likely that a person will adopt positive behaviors
toward bears; and
6. Individual's sense of responsibility: A person with a stronger feeling of duty or
obligation will be more likely to perform pro-environmental behaviors
Other variables, or 'situational factors,' such as economic constraints, social
pressures and opportunities to choose multiple actions, are also aggregated in this model
as directly influencing a person's behavior. Such 'situational factors' are extremely
relevant to conservation of the spectacled bear in Oyacachi.
Hines et al. (1986/87) and Kellert (1996) highlight the importance of knowledge
and attitudes in influencing positive behaviors toward nature and wildlife. These
theories are essential in understanding the significance of environmental knowledge and
attitudes, gained through the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect' s Environmental
Education Program, in promoting pro-environmental behavioral intentions of program
participants toward the spectacled bear. Despite the fact that knowledge per se may not
lead to an individual's performance of a pro-environmental action or behavior, it
represents one important precondition for a behavior' s development (Jensen 2002). This
last assertion is supported by numerous studies focusing on environmentally responsible
behavior, which have found positive correlations between knowledge and pro-
environmental attitudes and behaviors (Infield 1988; Armstrong & Impara 1991; Lyons
& Breakwell 1994; White & Jacobson 1994; Fiallo & Jacobson 1995; Kellert 1996;
Zimmermann 1996; Tikka et al. 2000; Kasapoglu & Ecevit 2002; Archer 2002; Caro et
This study attempts to assess the importance of enhancing local knowledge and
support, as fundamental to the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect-Environmental
Education Program. Additionally, in order to evaluate this program more broadly, this
research includes analysis of how people' s past and present interactions with spectacled
bears have shaped their current attitudes toward the bear. Finally, it explores how other
'situational factors', such us income or dependence on natural resources, influence
people's attitudes toward the bear and toward the ABCP.
Research Objectives and Hypothesis
Obj ectives of this evaluation are as follows:
* Objective 1. Assess current levels of knowledge, attitudes and behavioral
intentions toward the conservation of Andean bear and its habitat, and changes
since the program's inception.
* Objective 2. Measure public support and satisfaction with the Andean Bear
Conservation Proj ect and its Environmental Education Program in the community
* Objective 3. Analyze the influence of participants' level of environmental
knowledge, sociodemographic and economic attributes, and interactions with the
Andean bear on their attitudes, behavioral intentions and proj ect support.
* Objective 4. Improve program delivery by identifying strengths and weaknesses
and suggesting future modifications.
Research hypotheses of this study are as follows:
* H1. Participant's knowledge, positive attitudes and behavioral intentions will have
increased since program inception.
* H2. Participants' level of knowledge about the environment and socioeconomic
situation will be positively correlated with their attitudes, behavioral intentions and
Obj ectives 1 and 2 attempt to determine whether the program was successful.
Proj ect success would be represented by a higher level of knowledge, positive attitudes
and behavioral intentions toward the conservation of the spectacled bear, along with high
levels of support and satisfaction with the proj ect.
Obj ective 3 attempts to contribute to an understanding of how people's knowledge,
socioeconomic conditions and interactions with the bear can influence their attitudes,
behavioral intentions and, ultimately, behaviors. Understanding these associations is
critical in facilitating improvement of the strategies of the Andean Bear Conservation
Proj ect, since people' s attitudes and behaviors may be influenced by their knowledge,
livelihood systems and past experiences with the bear.
Obj ective 4 is intended to contribute to the improvement of the Andean Bear
Conservation Proj ect and provide important insight for other programs directed toward
conservation of the spectacled bear. The Andean Bear Conservation Project is still being
conducted in Oyacachi. Furthermore, other countries in the Andean region are working
toward the conservation of the spectacled bear and its habitat.
I ..j ;r ,*:
Figure 1-1. Spectacled bear (Trem~rctos ornatus) (Photo by Rafael Reyna)
;:~SIS k-- I",
Figure 1-2. Distribution of the Spectacled Bear along the Andean Region (Figure 9.1i., p
160, in Peyton, B. 1999. Spectacled Bear Action Plan. Pages 157-198 in C.
Servheen, S. Herrero and B. Peyton, editors. Bears Status Survey and
Conservation Action Plan. UICN/SSC, Gland.)
DESIGN AND METHODS
This systematic evaluation uses a variety of methods to collect information needed
to assess local support of the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect and changes in
knowledge, attitudes and behavioral intentions after implementation of the Environmental
Education Program in the community of Oyacachi. Structured interviews were
conducted to collect qualitative and quantitative information, which permitted statistical
analyses on associations between attitudes and behavioral intentions and participant
variables such as knowledge, sociodemographic and economic characteristics, and
interactions with bears. Previous questionnaires conducted with adults (1997) and
children (2000) are used as baseline information to look for changes in knowledge,
attitudes and behavioral intentions, by comparing responses given to the same questions
before and after EEP implementation.
Focus groups were conducted with teachers, para-biologists and local authorities.
Focus groups are planned, relaxed discussions among small groups of people about a
specific topic, in order to obtain information more quickly than one-on-one interviews
and allow individuals to use the ideas of others in the group as cues to elaborate more
fully on their own points of view (Israel 1994). This technique was used to include the
opinions of three different groups, composed of people who had participated in the
program and who are key members in the decision-making processes in the community.
The Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve (RECAY), created in 1970, is a national
protected area located in the eastern branch of the northern Ecuadorian Andes (Figure
2-1). It has an area of 403,103 ha and ranges from 600 to 5790 m in altitude. Within the
boundaries of the RECAY, the Quichua indigenous community of Oyacachi is located,
having been established in the area since the pre-Hispanic period (Kohn 2002). Oyacachi
is a small community, with approximately 550 inhabitants grouped into 105 households
(Comuna de Oyacachi, Plan de Manej o Comunitario 2001-2004). People' s livelihoods
are dependent on livestock, handicrafts and subsistence agriculture. They have 44,500 ha
available for these practices, however, the management of this territory is under the
regulations of the Ecuadorian National System of Protected Areas.
Sampling Design for Surveys
Heads of households to be interviewed were chosen randomly from a list of 103
community households provided by local authorities. If possible, both male and female
heads of each household were interviewed separately. It has been suggested that gender
of interviewers can affect responses of interviewees (Bernard 2002). In order to reduce
this effect, which is very important in this case due to the culture of the Oyacachi
community, a previously trained female field assistant helped to conduct surveys with
Retired heads of households (people over the age of 60) were omitted from the
selection process after pre-testing the questionnaire. The reason for this decision was
based on two main factors: (1) elderly people speak little Spanish, and (2) they had not
received any formal education, making their understanding of the issues touched on by
the questionnaire quite low.
The survey evaluating the EEP's impacts on children at the elementary school
program was delivered by the local teachers to all students in the three upper-level
grades, 5 to 7 (children approximately between the ages of 9 and 12 years).
Structure of Surveys
Survey for Adults
To evaluate the impacts of the ABCP-EEP, two surveys were developed. The first
consisted of a face-to-face interview with adults, and the second consisted of a written
questionnaire for children. Both surveys were reviewed by the ABCP-EEP coordinators
and by teachers in the local community to ensure usefulness of the results. The surveys
followed standard survey techniques (Salant & Dillman 1994). The survey for adults was
pre-tested in the first 20 interviews to correct problematic questions.
For adults, the questionnaire included 9 questions from the questionnaire conducted
in 1997 with the general population (Questions 10, 11, 16, 19, 24, 31-34 in Appendix A),
12 questions from the questionnaire for children conducted in 2000 (Questions 1-6, 8, 14,
27-29), and 48 new questions. In total, the adult survey comprised 71 questions, which
were organized into seven topical sections (Appendix A):
1. Knowledge: This section includes 14 questions (Q 1-13, Q 16), which measure
people's knowledge about bear behavior, local flora and fauna, concepts of ecology
and conservation, and knowledge regarding environmental regulations and natural
2. Attitudes: 12 questions (Q 14, Q 15, Q 17-26) measure people's attitudes toward the
environment, and toward the bear and its protection.
3. Behavioral intentions: 10 questions (Q 27-36) measure the behavioral intentions of
people in activities that affect bear conservation and in their personal interactions
with the bear.
4. Interaction with bears: 3 questions (Q 37-39) were designed to provide information
about conflicts between people and bears in Oyacachi.
5. ABCP-EEP evaluation: 17 questions (Q 40-56) solicit information about program
support, satisfaction and perceived results by the community, as well as information
that will be useful to improve program delivery from the community perspective.
6. Sociodemographic and economic information: 13 questions (Q 57-69) were
designed to address variables such as education level, income, family size, and other
factors that could influence responses regarding the attitudes and behavioral
intentions of interviewees toward the bear and their support of the ABCP.
7. Questions added as a request of local teachers: Two questions (Q 70 and Q 71)
were added to the adult questionnaire as a request of local teachers. They wanted to
know how much support the creation of a local radio for delivering educational
programs would have in the community.
Survey for Children at the Elementary School
The questionnaire for children contained 44 questions, divided into the following 5
sections (Appendix B):
1. Knowledge: 14 questions (Q 1-13, Q 16), including 9 from the previous
questionnaire conducted in 2000 (Q 1-7, Q 9, Q 16).
2. Attitudes: 10 questions (Q 14, Q 15, Q 17-24), including 2 from the previous
questionnaire conducted in 2000 (Q 14, Q 17).
3. Behavioral intentions: 9 questions (Q 25-29, Q 32-35), 4 of which come from the
previous questionnaire conducted in 2000 (Q 25, Q 26, Q 27, Q29).
4. Contact with bear: Questions 30 and 31
5. ABCP-EEP evaluation: 8 questions (Q 36-43), to measure children's satisfaction
with their school. Three of these questions were included in the survey conducted in
2000 (Q 38, Q 39, Q 42).
Three focus groups were conducted for approximately a one-hour period with each
group. Participants were invited and attended the meetings voluntarily. All sessions
were tape recorded and notes were taken. Focus group guides are found in Appendix C.
It is important to mention that 15 out of 16 participants in focus groups also participated
in face-to-face interviews.
Focus Group with Authorities
A meeting was conducted with members of the Cabildo, the political organization
of the community. A total of 6 out of 9 invited members attended the meeting and
discussed their perceptions and support of the ABCP and its EEP.
Focus Group with Para-Biologists
A total of 7 out of the 8 invited para-biologists, the people trained by the ABCP to
collect biological data for the Andean bear ecological study, participated in the second
focus group. The discussion was focused on their perceptions about people's support for
the ABCP in the community, and about the results this proj ect has had in changing the
attitudes and behavioral intentions of people regarding the conservation of the Andean
Bear and the environment.
Focus Group with Teachers
A third focus group meeting was conducted with 3 of the 5 teachers from the
school to understand their perceptions regarding the success of proj ect activities
conducted with the school since the beginning of the program in 1998. Teachers'
thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of the EEP at the school were discussed, along
with the ways in which program delivery could be improved in the future. Since teachers
are important decision makers in the community, this focus group also discussed the role
of the ABCP in influencing community development.
Statistical analysis was conducted with SPSS 11.5 software. Questionnaire
responses were first analyzed with descriptive statistics to determine the overall pattern of
responses. Differences between groups' responses regarding knowledge, attitudes and
behavioral intentions before and after program inception were tested using Chi-Square
analyses (Appendix D) and T-tests.
Some responses concerning economic data were inconsistent between the husband
and wife of individual households. These data were household income, amount of cattle
owned, and amount of trees and firewood used. In order to better estimate these
variables, divergent responses given by husbands and wives were averaged in the case of
income and amount of cattle. For number of trees used, the response of the male was
determined to represent the household use, since men extract timber for the manufacture
of handicrafts. In the case of firewood, the answer given by the female was determined
to represent the use of this resource by the household, because it is women who more
frequently collect firewood for use in cooking.
Questions regarding knowledge, attitudes and behavioral intentions were grouped
to form unidimensional indices through a factor analysis (Appendix E). The indices were
tested with a reliability analysis using Cronbach's alpha coefficient.
Linear multiple regression models were used to analyze the ways in which
environmental knowledge, interactions with bears, and sociodemographic and economic
variables influence participants' responses on attitudes and behavioral intentions toward
the bear and the environment, as well as their support for the ABCP. Bivariate Pearson
correlation matrices were created to look for relationships between pairs of variables. For
these analyses, statistical significance is reported as significant (alpha 0.05) and highly
significant (alpha 0.01).
Qualitative data from the three focus groups conducted with local authorities,
teachers and para-biologists were used to provide a deeper understanding of the ABCP
results in the community of Oyacachi and contribute to the improvement of the EEP,
based on suggestions from these key community members. Information from notes and
recordings from these focus groups was transcribed and merged to summarize
participant' s opinions of the program.
I ~i ~ el Oyacachi
I-- R E)
j (PN) Yasunl
Chrute (PN) Sang /,
(RVS) Isla Ecuador i
L v 0-300 m
i ~>300 m
.~ 1200 m
r ~2000 m
'- ~i 3000 m
~ 4000 m
Figure 2-1. National System of Protected Areas in Ecuador, Location of the community
of Oyacachi at the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve.
In order to evaluate the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect' s Environmental
Education Program (EEP) with adults of the community, 147 interviews were conducted
between May and August 2003 with 72 males and 75 females. These interviews
represent 88% of possible participants (168 people) who were husband and wife of each
household. A total of 84 out of 87 target households were covered by this study. This
number (87) excluded households where both husband and wife were retired. In 64
cases, it was possible to interview both husband and wife; in 5 cases only single heads of
household were found. People who were not interviewed (21 people) either did not want
to participate (2 people) or were living outside of Oyacachi.
In order to evaluate the results of the EEP at the elementary school, 44 surveys
were conducted with children in the last three grades, 5 through 7. Their responses are
compared to results obtained from 36 surveys, conducted in 2000, with children from the
same grade level.
Evaluating the ABCP-EEP with Adults
The analysis for evaluating the effectiveness of the ABCP and its EEP with adults
in the community focuses on their responses to questions regarding attitudes, behavioral
intentions, proj ect support, and people' s perceptions about the ABCP results. These
responses can be explained by other factors, such as knowledge about the environment,
interaction with bears, sociodemographic and economic conditions, and whether or not
respondents have participated in project activities. Before and after program
implementation comparisons have to be interpreted with caution for three reasons: (1) A
limited sample size of interviewees in 1997 (n = 35); (2) the reduced amount of
information useful for evaluation provided by the original questionnaire; and (3) general
factors that jeopardize the validity of quasi-experimental designs (Campbell & Stanley
1963), especially history, maturation and instrumentation, which need to be considered in
interpretation of the results.
Sociodemographic and Economic Background
Respondents had a mean age of 34 (SD = 1 1.20) and on average they had two
children under the age of 15 (SD = 1.55) (Table 3-1). For further analysis, the age of 15
was chosen arbitrarily as a cutoff point for children, because it was observed that older
than 15 years daughters or sons are considered more as contributors rather than
dependents in the household economy.
The income of households ranged from 18 to 400 US dollars per month, with a
mean of 119 (SD = 73.10) (Table 3-1). In Ecuador, the minimum wage per month in May
2004 was US$ 166, and the minimum monthly amount of capital needed by a family to
satisfy their basic needs was US$ 388 (INEC 2004). The main source of economic
revenue comes from cattle ranching. An average of 8 head of cattle were owned per
household (SD = 3.60) (Table 3-1). Timber is also important; an average of 4 small trees
(SD = 5.10) were used monthly for handicrafts, which constitutes the second most
important economic activity after cattle ranching, and for construction purposes. Ninety-
four kilograms of firewood (SD = 64.85) were used per week (Table 3-1).
Of the people interviewed, 8% had no education at all. Twenty-five percent had
attended a few years of elementary school, with 32% having completed elementary
education. Eighteen percent had attended some high school, with 14% having completed
high school education. Only 4 participants (3%), had pursued further studies beyond
high school (Table 3-2). This low level of education reflects normal patterns in rural
Ecuador, where 61% of the population has completed elementary school, 15% high
school and 13% has not received any sort of formal education (INTEC 2001). The main
reason for not attending a formal educational institution is lack of financial resources
The Andean bear is a very well-known animal in Oyacachi, where it is considered a
beautiful, powerful and mythical animal. It is viewed with respect and also with fear by
local people, due to its destruction of corn crops and occasional predation on cattle and
sheep. Three-fifths of participants reported having seen a bear at least once in their
lifetime (Table 3-3). Currently, corn production is not a common activity in Oyacachi, so
the destruction of corn is not a widespread problem. However, 20% of participants
mentioned having had their corn crops destroyed by a bear in the past (Table 3-3). This
proportion represents 14 households, who reported a mean economic loss of US$ 67.50
(SD = 67.10) per corn crop (Table 3-4).
Currently predation on cattle and sheep is the maj or problem that creates conflict
between the community members and bears. One-fifth of participants reported having
had their cattle or sheep attacked by a bear (Table 3-3). This proportion represents 16
households that had attacks to cattle and 4 that had attacks to sheep. The economic loss of
each attack ranges from US$ 40 to 1000, with a mean of US$ 343 (SD = 308.87) (Table
3-4). This amount (US$ 343) represents one-quarter of the mean annual income of a
household in Oyacachi.
Knowledge Indicators about the Environment and Conservation
Thirteen questions were used to measure people's knowledge about the
environment and bear conservation (Table 3-5). Knowledge scores varied on a scale
from 0 to 13, with each question answered correctly counted as 1 point. The total
knowledge score of participants had an average of 9.62 (SD = 2.48). The mean
knowledge score for men, 11.14 (SD = 1.79), was significantly higher than that for
women, 8.15 (SD = 2.144) (Table 3-6).
In order to conduct further analyses of the relationship between knowledge and
attitudes, behavioral intentions and program support, principal component analysis was
used to group knowledge indicators (Appendix E). Four different indices were created,
dividing knowledge into four domains: (1) knowledge about ecology and conservation (5
questions), (2) knowledge about local flora and fauna (2 questions), (3) knowledge about
bear behavior (3 questions) and (4) knowledge about environmental regulations (3
questions) (Table 3-5). Men were more knowledgeable than women in each of these
knowledge domains (Table 3-6).
In order to test the consistency of the indices, a reliability analysis was conducted
with the knowledge indicators comprising each index. Cronbach's alpha measure of
inter-item correlation was used for this purpose. Usually, a Cronbach's alpha value
higher than 0.7 is an acceptable reliability coefficient (Nunnaly 1978), whereas a value
less than or equal to 0.30 indicates that items do not share a common theme (Witter
1978). The indices measuring ecology and conservation, local flora, bear behavior, and
environmental regulations knowledge had Cronbach's alphas of 0.73, 0.58, 0.22 and 0.35,
respectively. In spite of the lower alpha value of the bear behavior knowledge index, it
was maintained because conceptually it is known to measure a common theme (as
demonstrated by principal component analysis).
Attitudes toward Bears and the Environment
Participants had a positive response toward the conservation of natural resources
and the bear. When asked about the need to conserve nature and the persistence of
natural ecosystems such as forests and paramos, 99% and 100% of participants,
respectively, answered positively to both questions (Table 3-7), mainly mentioning that
those ecosystems were important for obtaining natural resources. The general attitude
toward the natural reserve was also positive; 97% mentioned that it was either good or
very good to have the RECAY present (Table 3-7). The principal explanation
participants gave for this response was that the RECAY protects them against intruders
and colonists. Also, 93% of participants thought that the RECAY is necessary for bear
survival, and 81% mentioned that this animal needs to be protected (Table 3-7). The
maj ority of respondents were supportive of laws to protect the bear and other animals
(93%) (Table 3-7).
When asked more specifically about the bear and its presence in the area, responses
were more divided than in previous questions. People were asked to give names of
animals that they consider beneficial and animals considered detrimental. The bear was
named by 62% (Table 3-8) of the participants as one of the animals considered
detrimental, along with others like the puma, which predates on small farm animals, and
parrots, which destroy crops. Only 14% of participants included the bear with animals
considered beneficial, such as the tapir and deer, which were frequently mentioned (Table
3-8). Most people, 88%, perceived that there are presently more bears than in previous
years. The reason given by respondents for this increase is that nobody is hunting the
bear in the reserve. When asked if they would prefer more or fewer bears in the vicinity
of Oyacachi, 48% said fewer or much fewer, 39% said the same amount, and only 13%
responded they would like to see more bears (Table 3-8). The increase of bear predation
on cattle in the last few years was the reason provided for why people were reluctant to
have more bears close to them. However, for 67% of participants the bear was important
at a personal level, related to aesthetic, utilitarian, ecological or cultural values. Also,
three-fifths of the participants thought that the bear could become extinct if it is not
protected against hunting (Table 3-8).
Two questions regarding attitudes toward bears can be compared with responses
given in 1997, before program implementation. The first question concerns what people
think about protecting the bear. No significant differences appear in this response before
and after program implementation; 88% of participants in 1997 and 81% in 2003 said the
bear should be protected (X2 = 0.873, p = 0.350) (Table D-1). The second question
makes reference to whether the bear is important to the person being interviewed. In this
case, a significant difference is observed. In 1997, 97% of participants said the bear was
important for them, while in 2003 a lower proportion, 67%, gave the same response (X2 =
10.812, p = 0.001) (Table D-2).
Factors Influencing Attitudes
In order to explore the association of attitudes with other factors, such as
knowledge, interactions with bears, and sociodemographic and economic variables, the
first step consisted of aggregating attitude items by creating indices that represented
common themes. Factor analysis was conducted with 10 attitude items (Appendix E), and
three indices were created: (1) index about bear protection, grouping 4 questions; (2)
index about bear presence, grouping 4 questions; and (3) index about the personal
importance of the bear, grouping 2 questions (Table 3-9). The reliability of these indices
was tested using Cronbach's alpha, which had a value of 0.63, 0.53 and 0.33 for indices
1, 2 and 3, respectively.
A set of linear multiple regression models was elaborated, taking each attitude
index as the response variable. The explanatory variables incorporated into each model
1. Knowledge indices: indices measuring knowledge about ecology and conservation,
local flora and fauna, bear behavior and regulations.
2. Sociociodemographic and economic attributes: Gender, age of participants,
number of children under age 15, education level, monthly income, amount of trees
used per month, amount of firewood used per week and number of heads of cattle.
3. Interaction with bear: One indicator of these variables, whether the bear has
predated on cattle or sheep of participants or not, was set aside for the linear multiple
regression analysis. The reason for including only this indicator of interaction with
the bear, and not including corn crop predation and bear sightings, was that livestock
predation was a main issue in the community at the time of the study. The obj ective
was to see the extent to which this conflict was affecting people' s support of the
conservation of the bear.
4. Program participation: To assess program effectiveness, it is important to see if
respondents' participation in the ABPC-EEP influenced their attitudes. Their
participation in the long distance high school program "SEC" was also included, as
this program has had strong support from the ABCP.
Statistical interaction can cause some predictors to appear unassociated with the
response variable. A Bivariate Pearson correlation matrix was performed to detect if
there was a significant association of each explanatory variable with the response
variables, ignoring the rest of the predictors (Appendix F).
Attitudes toward bear protection had a highly significant association with
knowledge about ecology and conservation in the linear multiple regression model (Table
3-10). The standardized beta for this predictor was 0.436 (p < 0.001), indicating a
positive association between this domain of knowledge and people' s attitude toward
protecting bears. In contrast, knowledge of local flora and fauna was negatively
associated with attitudes toward bear protection, (Std. beta = -0.232, p = 0.022) meaning
that those who know more about local flora and fauna are less likely to have positive
attitudes toward bear protection.
The correlation matrix demonstrated that other predictors had an association with
attitudes toward bear protection when compared independently. Respondent' s age and
amount of trees used per month were negatively associated (Appendix F), indicating that
elderly people and those who use more trees were more likely to have negative attitudes
toward bear protection. Regardless of whether respondents had participated in the ABCP
or in the SEC, their education level, knowledge about bear behavior and knowledge about
regulations were positively associated with attitudes toward bear protection (Appendix
F). This last result indicates that people who have participated in any of these programs,
ABCP or SEC, and are therefore more educated and knowledgeable, are more likely to
have improved attitudes toward bear protection. In this correlation matrix knowledge of
local flora and fauna did not have a significant association with people's attitudes toward
bear protection, suggesting that this variable became significant due to statistical
interaction with other variables in the multiple linear regression model. A correlation
matrix between the explanatory variables (Appendix F) demonstrated a significant
positive association between knowledge of local flora and fauna and age, which provides
evidence of the interaction between these two variables in the model.
Three factors were significantly associated with attitudes toward bear presence in
the linear multiple regression model. Gender was negatively associated (Std. beta =
-0.225, p = 0.03 8), as women are coded with 1 and men with 2; this indicates that women
are more likely to have a more positive attitude towards bear presence than men. Cattle
predation by bears had a negative association with people's willingness to have bears in
the area (Std. beta = -0.195, p = 0.034) (Table 3-10). The last significant variable was an
unexpected relationship with the amount of harvested trees per month, which appeared to
be positively associated (Std. beta = 0.241, p = 0.016). This could have been caused by
the interaction of this variable with others, such as age and education level, while in a
correlation matrix the amount of harvested trees per month appeared not to be associated
with attitudes toward bear presence (r = 0.089, p = 0.330) (Appendix F).
The correlation matrix, comparing the attitude toward bear presence with each
predictor (Appendix F), demonstrated that two other variables were related. The number
of children under 15 years of age in the household was negatively associated with
people's attitude toward the presence of the bear, indicating that people with younger
children are more likely to hold negative attitudes. Participation in the SEC program was
positively associated with respondents' attitudes toward the bear.
The index measuring the personal importance of the bear combines people' s
perception of the bear, and their beliefs as to whether this animal can go extinct. The
only variable significantly related to this index in the linear multiple regression model
was education level (Std. beta = 0.326, p = 0.022) (Table 3-10); the bear was more
important for people who had more formal education than for people who did not.
However, many other factors appeared to be related to this attitude in the correlation
matrix (Appendix F). As in the previous case of attitude toward bear protection,
participants' ages and the amount of trees used per month were negatively associated
with their attitudes about the importance of the bear. The variables that proved to have a
positive association with attitudes regarding bear importance were consistent with the
previous analysis comparing attitudes toward bear protection. ABCP and SEC
participation, education level, knowledge of bear behavior, knowledge of environmental
regulations and knowledge about conservation were significantly associated with
attitudes about the importance of the bear.
Behavioral Intentions toward Bears and the Environment
Participants' behavioral intentions to protect and conserve the environment were
very positive. Almost all of the respondents indicated something that they could do to
help conserve their environment (Table 3-11), such as planting some trees instead of only
harvesting them, or not hunting wildlife in the reserve. In Ecuador, a common practice
that negatively impacts highland ecosystems is the burning of paramo to facilitate the
germination of grasses for cattle grazing. Almost everyone interviewed knew that this
practice had negative environmental impacts and was forbidden inside the RECAY, and
they were willing to report this action to local authorities or forest rangers in order to
impede it (Table 3-11). Also, 92% of participants said that they would like to collaborate
with forest rangers (Table 3-11) in helping watch for illegal behaviors when they are
ranching their cattle in the paramos, for instance inside the RECAY. Also, since the
ABCP created workshops that addressed more local environmental problems, such as one
with waste management, at the time of this evaluation, 99% of respondents managed their
garbage correctly, differentiating between organic and inorganic waste (Table 3-11).
When participants were asked about what to do in the case of an encounter with a
bear, their intentions in general were good, but were quite strongly influenced by the
context. For instance, people's reactions would vary based on whether the encounter is
with a cub or with an adult bear (Table 3-12). When faced with an adult bear, 17% of
respondents said that they would run away because the animal could be dangerous. Five
percent said the same if it were a cub. However, 18% responded that they would scare
the adult bear using a stick or shooting in the air, while 65% said that they would just
leave the animal alone. In front of a cub, only 4% responded that they would try to scare
it. Most people would leave it alone (84%), but 7% responded that they would like to
catch the animal either to keep as a pet or to play with for a while before releasing it.
Respondents' behavioral intentions in a hypothetical encounter with an adult bear
or a cub were more negative before program implementation. In an encounter with an
adult bear, the main difference appears to be due to an increase in the proportion of
people who said that they would leave the bear alone (52% in 1997 vs. 65% in 2003) (X2
= 12.714, p = 0.013) (Table D-3). Also, none of the 2003 respondents said that they
would catch or shoot the bear, while in 2000 two people mentioned that action. In the
case of an encounter with a cub (X2 = 15.978, p = 0.001) (Table D-4), the difference was
due to the increase in the number of participants who said that they would leave the cub
alone (58% in 1997 vs. 84% in 2003) and in the reduction of people who said they would
catch the cub (30% in 1997 vs. 7% in 2003).
An interesting difference occurs when people see the bear at different distances
from their property (Table 3-13). If participants encountered a bear in the forest, they
would either let it go (88%) or scare it (12%). The situation changes when people see a
bear in their crops. In this case, most participants would scare the bear (80%) or even
shoot to kill it (7%). Only 14% said that they would leave it alone. If the bear were
found close to respondents' cattle, people's behavioral intentions would be even more
negative toward the animal. Three quarters of respondents said that they would scare the
bear, and 16%, more than twice that of the previous scenario, said that they would shoot
the bear. Only 8% responded that they would leave the bear alone if it was close to their
cattle. When people were asked what they would do if a bear was close to their homes,
behavioral intentions were more positive than in the two previous situations (crops and
cattle). Half of respondents said that they would scare the bear, 47% would leave it alone
and just 3% would shoot it. People in Oyacachi commonly believe that the bear can kill
humans, so this last result shows the importance of crops and cattle in people's lives,
indicating that they seemingly value these resources more than their personal security. A
significant proportion of the participants, 18% (Table 3-14), believed that their best
recourse against avoiding bear damage to their cattle and crops would be to kill them.
However the maj ority, 82%, thought that alternative actions could be taken to solve this
problem. For example, participants suggested that they could watch over their cattle
more vigilantly or build fences to keep bears away. This question was also asked in the
1997 survey, when 20% of participants responded that the best course of action would be
to kill the bear. There was no significant difference between the responses to this
question before and after program implementation (X2 = 0.03 8, p = 0.846) (Table D-5).
Due to its location inside a natural reserve, tourism in Oyacachi is increasing as an
important local economic activity. When asked about how people could best use the
bear, in 1997, 67% of respondents indicated that it would be to use the bear as an
attraction for tourists. In 2003, there was a significant increase to this response, with
84% (X2 = 4.554, p = 0.033) sharing this same idea (Table D-6). This can be considered
a positive change, since people who see the bear as useful when it is alive could be more
in favor of supporting its conservation. However, 60% of respondents also expressed an
interest in having the opportunity to sell bear parts, which are very sought after in local
and international markets (Table 3-14).
Factors Influencing Behavioral Intentions
The principal obj ective of this analysis is to explore what variables could be
influencing people's positive or negative behavioral intentions in conflict situations
between humans and bears. Three indicators, which clearly measured the behavioral
intentions of people in a conflict situation, were grouped and transformed into an index
through factor analysis. The three indicators were: a) Action to avoid bear damage to
crops and cattle; b) reaction of participants when a bear is close to their crops; and c)
reaction when a bear is close to their cattle. The reliability of the index was a Cronbach' s
alpha coefficient of 0.58.
A linear multiple regression model was conducted using the behavioral intention
index as a response variable. As in the previous analysis, the explanatory variables were
knowledge indices, sociodemographic and economic attributes, interaction with bears,
and program participation. The model explained 23% of the variance on the response
variable. Only two variables were significantly related to people's responses when
presented with a hypothetical conflict situation with a bear (Table 3-10). Gender had a
negative beta coefficient (Std beta = -0.464, p < 0.001). This indicates more positive
behavioral intentions of women, in an interaction with the bear, than of men. The second
significant variable was a knowledge index about ecology and conservation, which had a
beta coefficient of 0.243 (p = 0.044) This signifies that people who know more about
these issues are more likely to express positive behavioral intentions toward the bear.
Conversely, the correlation matrix showed knowledge about local flora and fauna to have
a significant negative association with people's behavioral intentions (Appendix F).
ABCP -EEP Perceived Results by the Community
In order to evaluate the achievements of the ABCP with the adult population, a set
of questions covering multiple topics was posed to indicate proj ect success (Table 3-15).
For this purpose, the analysis started by identifying whether the proj ect was known
within Oyacachi. Almost all interviewees (97%) had heard about the project, and 91%
could say what people working in the ABCP were doing in Oyacachi. However,
participants mostly made reference to the research being conducted on bear ecology,
rather than mentioning activities conducted with residents themselves.
A total of 63 interviewees (43%) said that they had participated in at least one
activity of the ABPC. When asked about how they felt about this experience, the
response was generally positive, with respondents stating that they had had either a very
good (36%) or good (52%) experience because they had learned new things. For the 10%
who had participated but stated that the experience was neither good nor bad, these
respondents said that they had learned very few things and that nothing was put into
practice. Only one person thought the experience was bad, after attending one workshop
that she considered a waste of time. Most adults also supported the activities conducted
with children at the school. Although less than half of the respondents (41%) knew about
the activities with children, after having the change in the curriculum that included
environmental education explained to them, 82% supported this initiative.
The ABCP seems to have reached a significant proportion of the population. Half
of respondents mentioned that the proj ect has provided them with increased knowledge
about the environment. However, it is important to mention that other organizations and
proj ects working in the RECAY were mentioned as sources of environmental education
along with the ABCP. These included the Ministry of Environment, which is the national
organization in charge of administrating protected areas, and the Ecuadorian NGOs,
Fundaci6n Antisana and Fundaci6n Ecol6gica Rumicocha. Despite the fact that the
ABCP and other groups have been conducting different forms of environmental
education in the RECAY, 92% of respondents said that they would like to learn more
about the environment, and 88% would like to be enrolled in an activity for conserving
natural resources in the area. The main topics in which participants mentioned having
interest were related to the management of natural resources, particularly tourism,
organic agriculture, and low impact cattle ranching. This positive result presents
evidence of local people's support for conservation programs, like the ABCP in
Oyacachi, through the willingness of people to continue participating in it.
Sixty-five percent of participants thought that a positive change in people' s
attitudes toward the environment has occurred in Oyacachi since implementation of the
ABCP. They mentioned that there is currently more local awareness about the
environment than in previous years. A similar proportion of participants (66%) thought
that the ABCP was also useful (56%) or very useful (10%) for the development of the
community. They justified this response by saying that having more knowledge of the
environment helps them to better manage their natural resources. However, people who
thought that the proj ect was not useful (16%) or only slightly useful (18%) for the
community mentioned that they did not need more education, but rather more "things" to
help them in their daily life, such as a proj ect to improve their cattle ranching and
It is worth mentioning that before this study began, the Cabildo did not approve the
ABCP to continue with its research on the bear in Oyacachi. This internal governance
system of the community involves all community members over the age of 18. The
reasons given by the Cabildo for their decision were discrepancies among community
members' opinions about proj ect activities, which had become more negative following
events of bear predation on cattle. The Cabildo also argued that the ABCP was not
leaving any benefit for the community, such as contributing directly to their economy
(David Pari6n, President of the Cabildo, pers. comm. 2003). In order to assess whether
the ABCP was indeed causing conflicts between community members, a fact that would
not be positive for further development of the proj ect and the EEP, participants were
asked their opinion on this matter. A significant proportion of the responses (41%)
indicated that the project creates some (31%) or a lot of conflicts (10%). Another 41% of
respondents said that it caused few (5%) or very few (36%) conflicts, while 18%
indicated that the proj ect was not a source of conflict (Table 3-16). The main source of
conflict mentioned by respondents concerned the procedures that were being used to
research the bear at that time. Respondents complained about the bait, which included
cattle blood among other ingredients, to attract bears to hair traps planted in close
proximity to the community. People thought that the use of this bait could likely be the
cause of the increase in cattle predation by bears.
Another source of conflict that would not favor EEP implementation would be if
people felt that their culture was not being respected by an external intervention. This is
particularly important in this context, since Oyacachi is made up of a group of indigenous
people who have inhabited the area for more than five centuries, and have a strong
culture and unique worldview. In regards to this topic, participants responded favorably
to the ABCP, with 97% agreeing that the proj ect' s respect of their culture was either good
(56%) or very good (41%) (Table 3-16). People mentioned that in addition to respecting
their culture, the ABCP also encouraged the recovery of Oyacachi traditions.
Factors Related with Perception about ABCP-EEP Results
As in the case of attitudes and behavioral intentions, people's perception of
ABCP-EEP results could be related to multiple factors, so an index was created through
factor analysis (Appendix E) to measure this. The index included three items: (1)
whether the proj ect was mentioned as a source of environmental learning; (2) if the
proj ect has resulted in changing attitudes that favor conservation in the community; and
(3) the perceived usefulness of the project to development of the community. The index
reliability was tested with Cronbach's alpha coefficient, which had a value of 0.47. After
this procedure, a linear multiple regression model was conducted to look for associations
between perceived results (response variable) and knowledge, bear interaction,
sociodemographic and economic attributes, and program participation (explanatory
The explanatory variables included in the linear multiple regression model (Table
3-10) explained 3 1% of the variance in the response variable perceived program results.
Three variables had a significant association with the perception of the ABCP-EEP
results. Gender was negatively correlated (Std. beta = -0.233, p = 0.024), indicating that
women had a better perception of the proj ect' s results than men. Participation in the
ABCP (Std. beta = 0.255, p = 0.017) and in the SEC program (Std. beta = 0.204, p =
0.049) was positively associated with people' s responses that supported proj ect' s results.
This indicates a positive experience and perception of the proj ect after participation in it.
Besides these three variables, the correlation matrix showed that income, education level,
and knowledge about conservation were significant in their positive correlation with
participants' perceptions about program results (Appendix F).
Evaluating the ABCP-EEP on Children
To evaluate results with children, the following analysis was conducted: (a) Children's
knowledge level in 2000 and 2003 were compared; and (b) current attitudes, behavioral
intentions and school/program support of children were described and compared to
results obtained in 2000. This before-and-after comparison was possible through the
analysis of 9 questions from the 2000 survey that could be repeated in 2003 (Table 3-17).
In order to examine a change in children's knowledge level, the 9 knowledge
questions conducted in 2000 and repeated in 2003 were summed to create a total
knowledge score with a maximum value of 9. The results of comparing the knowledge
score between these two years showed similar media, 5.62 in 2003 and 6.04 in 2000
(Table 3-18). A t-test confirmed that there was no statistical difference between these
two means (t = 1.214, p = 0.229), indicating no significant change in children' s
knowledge after PECAE implementation.
Children expressed a very positive attitude toward the environment. In 2003, 100%
of them responded that the environment should be protected, and 85% thought that
forests and paramos should persist in their environment. Most children (91%) believed
that it is good for them to have the RECAY in the area, because it helps to protect plants
and animals (Table 3-19). The first and third responses were compared with results from
2000. A Chi-Square test shows there is no significant difference between both years. In
2000, 97% (X2 = 1.245, p = 0.265) (Table D-7) of children were in favor of protecting the
environment, and 86% (X2 = 0.362, p = 0.547) thought that the RECAY was positive
Children's attitudes toward bear protection also were very positive. Ninety percent
thought that this animal needs to be protected, and that the RECAY is essential for its
survival (Table 3-19). However, similarly to the adult respondents, children also did not
seem to favor having more bears around Oyacachi. Half of them mentioned they would
prefer fewer or far fewer bears present in the area (Table 3-19), because the bear kills
cattle. A smaller proportion (33%) of children said they would like to have more bears
living around Oyacachi, so that they could see them more often. When asked if the bear
was important to them for any reason, 48% responded positively, largely due to aesthetic
values. Children also were aware of the possibility of the bear' s extinction, with 64 % of
them responding that this could happen; the main reasons given by children were that if it
is not protected, the bear would be hunted, and also that few bears remain in the forest.
Children's behavioral intentions toward the environment also are positive. When
asked about what they could do to help to conserve the environment, 86% of children
mentioned ideas, such as planting trees or not hunting animals (Table 3-20). Children
also were aware of damage caused by burning the paramo. When asked what they would
do if they saw someone setting fires in this ecosystem, 84% of children responded that
they would do something, such as call a forest ranger. Their intention to help take care of
the environment is also reflected in the fact that 87% of children responded that they
would like to help forest rangers with their work (Table 3-20). These same three
questions were asked in 2000. The frequencies of positive responses between years 2000
and 2003 did not show statistical differences (Tables D-9. D-10 and D-11).
When asked about what they would do in an encounter with a bear, 17% of
children in 2000, and 7% in 2003, responded that they would call an adult to kill it. This
difference may represent a positive trend in children's attitudes toward the bear, despite
the fact that it was not statistically significant (X2 = 1.823, p = 0.177) (Table D-12).
Similarly to the adult respondents, children's behavior would depend on the context
where the encounter with a bear occurred. No children said that they would call an adult
to kill the bear if the bear were seen in the forest, while 5, 12 and 26% of children would
do so if they saw the bear in their crops, home or close to their cattle, respectively (Table
School and Program Support
Sixty-one percent of children at the school have heard about the ABCP, and 47% of
them could say something about the activities of the ABCP in the community. However,
these answers primarily made reference to the ecological study of the bear (Table 3-22).
When asked about their school, almost all the children responded they like it (98%) and
are happy with their teachers (95%) (Table 3-22). In 2000, children had the same
positive responses to these two questions, showing no significant difference when
compared to 2003 (Tables D-13 and D-14). Also, almost all of the children supported the
school curriculum. Most of them (98%) said that they like what they are currently
learning, and when asked about environmental themes, 84% said that they enj oy learning
about the environment (Table 3-22).
The motivation of children to continue on to high school is very strong, with almost
all of them (96%) wanting to enroll. When asked if they would like to continue studying
in Oyacachi, 81% responded affirmatively (Table 3-22). Children in 2000 had the same
feelings about continuing on to high school, with no significant difference in responses
between the two years (Tables D-15 and D-16). In Oyacachi, it is possible to choose
between two systems of high school, the Crecera and the SEC. The first is the traditional
system, whereas the SEC, which is designed for people who live within or in the buffer
zones of protected areas, has a strong environmental education component. When asked
which program they would like to continue with for high school, most children (77%)
chose the SEC, which might reflect their interest in learning about the environment.
Focus Group Responses
Focus groups were conducted with local authorities, teachers and para-biologists.
The opinions of these community members were essential in understanding the proj ect
and in evaluating its success. The central topics of the focus group discussions were: (1)
perceptions about the proj ect' s results or achievements in Oyacachi regarding education
and capacity-building in conservation; (2) perceived problems or failures faced by the
ABCP-EEP, and ways in which the proj ect could be improved; and (3) views about the
collaboration between the ABCP and EcoCiencia, the NGO that administrates the ABCP.
Focus Group with Authorities
Six members of the Cabildo, including its president, participated in this focus
group. They expressed the belief that the ABCP increased community awareness toward
protecting the environment, as people have more knowledge now than before the
proj ect' s implementation. Authorities also thought that the proj ect had contributed to a
reduction of wildlife poaching and deforestation in Oyacachi. They indicated that the
collaboration between the ABCP and SEC program was the most successful activity
conducted with the adults, since its participants are the most motivated and supportive of
conservation activities. The EEP (PECAE) with the elementary school was also well
supported by these authorities, because they recognize its contribution to the development
of children' s skills.
The authorities recognized some failures that, they believe, hindered the success of
the EEP conducted by the ABCP in Oyacachi. Their perception was that the proj ect had
not reached the entire population, but rather only those who had participated in the
workshops or in the SEC, and those who had worked as para-biologists. Also, they
mentioned a lack of continuity in the EEP activities conducted with children and adults,
which had reduced the motivation of the participants. Finally, they viewed people's lack
of practicing what they had learned as a failure of the proj ect. As an example, they gave
the case of an ecotourism project, designed by the ABCP and students at the SEC, which
never was implemented, leaving participants feeling as if their efforts were a waste of
A general concern of the authorities was that the main problem of the ABCP-EEP,
and other similar conservation initiatives, was a lack of community-based development
proj ects in their agendas. They emphasized the importance of creating proj ects that can
provide alternatives for people's livelihoods, particularly since the management of
natural resources in Oyacachi is restricted because they are located inside a natural
reserve, hindering community development. Projects that they thought could contribute
to community development, while achieving conservation goals, included improvements
in dairy cattle, sale of handicrafts, ecotourism and organic agriculture. The need for
development proj ects was a recurrent theme during the meeting. One participant even
mentioned that people of Oyacachi already know what is good or bad for the
environment, and what they really need is these kinds of projects. They spoke about
being the ones who are forced to conserve nature at the expense of their own wealth and
possibility for development, while researchers are the ones who can profit from this.
The authorities also expressed concerns regarding bear predation on cattle. They
noted that the ecological study of the bear, which had been conducted for more than four
years in Oyacachi, had not resulted in finding useful information toward a solution for
this problem. The ABCP had not made any suggestions to help them deal with this
conflict. In this focus group, the authorities made it clear that the bear is a problem in the
community. Without project-supported research toward Einding a solution to this
problem, it would be difficult for the community to support conservation of this species.
Focus Group with Teachers
Three teachers participated in this focus group. They believed that their
collaboration with the ABCP had positive results. All teachers agreed that children have
better attitudes and behaviors toward the environment since implementation of PECAE.
Attendance in school was considered normal, and children were motivated to learn new
things, particularly in the area of natural science, where themes regarding animals and
plants highly interest them. However, teachers also mentioned difficulties with teaching
children to take care of wildlife, especially the bear, because the children also perceive
conflicts with this animal and ask their teachers how it is possible to conserve an animal
that kills their cattle and sheep.
The teachers mentioned two kinds of limitations in teaching children. The first was
related to a lack of resources. Some themes could not be studied in depth, because the
school did not have appropriate didactic materials, such as audiovisuals, microscopes or a
library where children could sit and study. The second limitation was related to the
teachers' own training. They needed more capacity-building in areas like pedagogy, in
order to develop methodological strategies to implement the program. They also thought
that better language, arts and sports programs would complement the children's
education. Also, the teachers felt that they needed to develop a better evaluation system,
to permit them to keep better track of the teaching and learning processes. They felt
comfortable teaching themes related to the environment, where they thought that the
capacity- building process had been successful. Aside from the previous limitations, the
only problem teachers saw in the school was the apathy of some students; however, they
thought that this problem could be resolved by talking with them. Teachers did not see
any failures of the EEP conducted with children and wanted to continue collaborating
with the ABCP.
When asked about the results that the proj ect had with the rest of the community,
teachers mentioned changes since the proj ect' s implementation five years ago, namely
that there had been an increase in environmental awareness. However, this change was
not only attributed to the activities conducted by the ABCP, but also to the work of other
entities, such as the NGOs Antisana and Rumicocha.
Teachers believed that the proj ect was not as fully supported as it should have been,
largely because the community was waiting for more tangible results, such as an
ecotourism project, which could bring economic benefits to the community. Teachers
also mentioned that, in 2002, the Cabildo did not give the ABCP permission to continue
with its research on the bear. The main reasons provided for this were that community
members thought the proj ect was not giving anything back to the community (e.g.,
development proj ects) and only those who worked directly on the proj ect, such as para-
biologists, were gleaning any benefits. These last comments reflect the opinions gathered
from the members of the Cabildo themselves.
Focus Group with Para-Biologists
Seven para-biologists participated in this focus group. They perceived no
noticeable change in people' s attitudes or behaviors since implementation of the ABCP
five years before. Before the project began, people in Oyacachi were already aware of
the need to protect nature, since they are located within a natural reserve, although they
thought that people had gained more knowledge about the environment. They also
contrasted Oyacachi with communities located outside the RECAY, which had already
devastated all their forests.
The para-biologists thought the proj ect had positive results in working with
individuals, allowing them in particular to acquire a lot of experience. They saw the
project as failing to involve the entire community in its activities. However, EcoCiencia
was perceived by the community as the organization that has been working more
continuously and for a relatively longer period of time (since 1997) than other NGOs,
which was acknowledged as a positive trend for this organization and the ABCP. They
recognized that the community had been supported by the ABCP in a variety of aspects,
from the program with the school, to workshops with adults, to their collaboration with
the SEC. Also, they appreciated the contribution of the ABCP in the elaboration of a
map that demarcated the boundaries of Oyacachi's territory within the RECAY.
They supported the idea of conducting workshops in the community, although they
thought that what was lacking was an application of the concepts learned. They would
have liked to see more activities of the ABCP contributing to the economic development
of the community, such as proj ects to improve cattle ranching and family crops. They
felt that these activities would provide people with alternative livelihoods and, therefore,
contribute to the conservation of ecosystems and animals like the bear.
The para-biologists had positive attitudes toward the ABCP's research on the bear,
which they thought would provide valuable information on its management and help the
community in preventing bear attacks on cattle. Para-biologists mentioned the conflict
that currently exists with this species, which had started in the preceding five years. The
ABPC was currently being blamed for this increase in cattle predation, through the use of
cattle blood in the bait for attracting the bear to hair traps.
The para-biologists also mentioned that people in Oyacachi think that there is more
concern for bear survival than for the social welfare of its people, since they are highly
restricted by the reserve in the management of their natural resources. They believed that
the problem with the bear needed to be resolved as soon as possible, in order to improve
the support for the ABCP in the community. A plan to give economic compensation to
people who had lost their cattle was suggested in the meantime.
Limitations of the Study
There are three main factors that limit the results of this evaluation:
1. The lack of baseline information for an appropriate measure of changes in
knowledge, attitudes and behavioral intentions of the target population, before and
after implementation of the ABCP. This was primarily a problem in evaluating
program impacts on adults. Also, the differences of sample sizes between years 1997
and 2003 represent an important source of error in the results that needs to be
considered in their interpretation.
2. Confounding factors are important to consider when interpreting the results of this
evaluation. As mentioned previously, several governmental and non-governmental
organizations have been performing activities related to environmental education in
the community of Oyacachi. It was not possible to separate the potential influence of
these other activities from results that could have been caused by the ABCP-EEP.
3. When evaluating EEP activities with children, the baseline information available for
comparison was the response of students to a questionnaire conducted in 2000, before
PECAE implementation. However, in 1998 a pilot EEP was performed at the school
by the ABCP, which means the children and teachers had already received some
environmental education when they performed the surveys in 2000, used as a baseline
for the present evaluation.
Table 3-1. Sociodemographic and economic indicators
Age 147 17 60 34.367
Daughters and sons 145 0 6 2.324
Under the age of 15
Monthly income 145 18 400 118.816
Trees harvested per 127 0 24 4.314
Firewood used 101 7 345 94.050
Head of cattle 147 0 17 7.843
*(1 unit equals one small tree of approximately a DBH of 20 cm)
Table 3-2. Education levels of survey respondents
No formal education
Some elementary school
Completed elementary school
Some high school
Completed high school
More than high school
Table 3-3. Interaction/conflicts between the bear and participants
Percentage Frequency N
Have ever seen a bear 59.9 88 147
Corn crops destroyed by bear 19.7 29 147
Cattle or sheep killed by bear 21.8 32 147
Table 3-4. Costs of damages caused by bear ($US)
N* Minimum Maximum
Corn crops 14 10 200
Cattle or sheep 20 40 1000
*N=participants that reported predation on crops
cost of those damages.
Mean ($US) SE. SD
67.5 17.934 67.104
343 69.066 308.871
or cattle and provided an estimated
Table 3-5. List of knowledge indicators, grouped in four domains
Domain 1. Knowledge about ecology/conservation
Q 3.What is an ecosystem?
Q 4.Where do we find a diversity of animals and plants?
Q 6.What species are in danger of extinction?
Q 7.Are there any animals in the forest or piramo that can go extinct?
Q 8.Why is the bear important for the forest and the piramo?
Domain 2. Knowledge about local flora and fauna
Q 1.Which of these animals lives in the forest or the piramo?
Q 2.Which of these plants is found in the forest or in the piramo?
Domain 3. Knowledge about bear behavior
Q 9.What does the bear eat?
Q 10.How does the bear live?
Q 11.Does the bear take care of its cubs?
Domain 4. Knowledge about regulations
Q 12.Is there a law that protects the spectacled bear?
Q 13.Is there a management plan for Oyacachi?
Q 16.Do you know what the RECAY is?
Table 3-6. Comparison between knowledge level of male and female participants
Gender N Mean SD SE T-test for Equality of Means
Conservation Male 72 2.390 1.124 .132
knolege Female 75 1.516 1.071 .124 -488 15 .0
Local flora and Male 72 1.589 .120 .014
fauna knowledge Feae 7 .3 10 01 -5.983 145 .000
Bear behavior Male 72 1.677 .298 .035
knolege Female 75 1.328 .457 .053 -547 15 .0
Regulations Male 72 2.903 .298 .035
knolege Female 75 2.667 .622 .072 -293 15 .0
Total knowledge Male 72 11.142 1.794 .211
scoreFemale 75 8.149 2.144 .248 -916 45 .0
Total 147 9.615 2.480 .205
Table 3-7. Attitudes toward conservation of bears and the natural environment
Percent Frequency N
The environment should be protected 99.3 146 147
Forest and paramos should persist 100 146 146
It is good to have the RECAY:
Not good at all 0 0 138
Not good 1.4 2 138
Neither good nor bad 1.4 2 138
Good 64.5 89 138
Very good 32.6 45 138
The RECAY is needed for bear survival:
Not necessary at all 0 0 132
Not necessary 6.0 8 132
Neither necessary nor 0.8 1 132
Necessary 71.2 94 132
Very necessary 22.0 29 132
The bear needs to be protected 81.0 115 142
Laws to protect the bear and other animals 92.7 127 137
Table 3-8. Attitudes toward bears
Percent Frequency N
Bears are mentioned as detrimental animals 61.9 91 147
Bears are mentioned as beneficial animals 14.3 21 147
Amount of bears participant would prefer
to exist around Oyacachi:
Much less bears 2.1 3 145
Less bears 45.5 66 145
Same amount 39.3 57 145
More bears 11.7 17 145
Many more bears 1.4 2 145
Amount of bears perceived at the present
time compared with previous years:
More 87.8 108 123
Same amount 6.5 8 123
Less 5.7 7 123
Thinks the bear has personal importance 67.1 98 146
Thinks the bear can go extinct 61.0 75 123
Table 3-9. Questions grouped in indices
Index 1: Bear protection
(Mean = 4.886, SD = .902, N= 122)
Q 17. Do you think it is good to have the RECAY?
Q 18. How necessary do you think the RECAY is for bear survival?
Q 19. Do you think the bear needs to be protected?
Q 26. Do you think laws to protect the bear and other animals are needed?
Index 2: Bear presence
(Mean = 4.886, SD = .902, N= 122)
Q 20. Do you think there are animals in the forest that are detrimental?
Q 21. Do you think there are animals in the forest that are beneficial?
Q 22. Are there currently more bears than in previous years?
Q 23. Would you prefer more or fewer bears in the forest?
Index 3: Bear persona importance
(Mean = 2.018, SD = 1.141, N= 122)
Q 24. Does the bear have any importance for you?
Q 25. Do you think the bear is an animal that can disappear from the forest
Index 4: Behavioral intention in a conflict with a bear
(Mean = 3.264, SD = .999, N= 146)
Q 33. Take action to avoid bear damages
Q 36. Reaction in front of a bear close to crops
Q 36. Reaction in front of bear close to cattle
Index 5: ABCP-EEP perceived results
(Mean = 2.032, SD = .970, N= 115)
Q 44. Is the proj ect useful for the community?
Q 45. Observed changes in people?
Q 54. Proj ect as a source of environmental learning?
Explanatory Attitudes toward bear Attitudes toward bear Bear personal Behavioral intention in a ABCP-EEP perceived
variables protection presence importance conflict with a bear results
Table 3-10. Linear multiple regression models
Std. Beta Sig.
Std. Beta Sig.
Std. Beta Sig.
Children under 15
Heads of cattle
Cow predation by
Local fora and
SE of the estimate
Table 3-11. Behavioral intentions toward environmental protection
Would do something to help to protect the
Reacts positively if someone burns the
Would collaborate with forest rangers
Manage their garbage correctly
Table 3-12. Reaction in hypothetical encounter with a cub and an adult bear
Leave it alone
Table 3-13. Behavioral intentions toward a bear at different degrees of proximity
Leave it alone
Table 3-14. Behavioral intentions toward bear management
Think killing the bear is the best solution to
avoid bear attacks on cattle
Think the bear can best be used as a
Response in year 1997
Response in year 2003
Would like to sell bear parts
Table 3-15. ABCP-EEP perceived achievements by the community
Abbreviated topic statement
Have heard of the ABCP
Know what ABCP is doing
Have participated in any ABPC activity
Felt the experience was: Very bad
Nor good nor bad
Know about the change in the school's curriculum
Agree with new program at the school
Mentioned the ABCP as a source of environmental
Interested in learning more about the environment
Interested in participating in a conservation activity
See any positive change in people's behavior
toward the environment
Perceived usefulness of the ABCP for community
Table 3-16. Other important perceptions about ABCP
Abbreviated topic statement
ABCP as a source of conflict between community
Creates a lot of conflicts
Creates some conflicts
Creates few conflicts
Creates very few
Creates no conflicts
Proj ect' s respect toward the culture of the
Neither good nor bad
Table 3-17. Questions for children compared between the years 2000 and 2003
Q 14 Do you think the environment should be protected?
Q 17 Do you think it is good to have the RECAY?
Q 25 What would you do to help to conserve the environment?
Q 26 What would you do if you see someone burning the paramo?
Q 27 Would you like to collaborate with the work of forest rangers?
Q 29 If you encountered a bear, what would you do?
Q 38 Do you like school?
Q 39 Are you happy with your teachers?
Q 42a Would you like to continue with high school?
Q 42b Would you like to study in Oyacachi or in another place?
Table 3-18. Comparison between knowledge scores in 2000 and 2003
Test N Mean SD SE T-test for Equality
t df P
214 78 .229
*Maximum score = 9
Table 3-19. Attitudes of children at the school
The environment needs to be
Forests and paramos should exist
Having the RECAY is good
Bears need the reserve to live
Bears need to be protected
Amount of bears wanted in Oyacachi:
Think bear has personal importance
Think bear can go extinct
Table 3-20. Behavioral intentions of children at the school
Actions to conserve the environment
Would stop burning of paramos
Would like to help forest rangers
Reaction in an encounter with an
Take it home
Take a picture
Leave it alone
Table 3-21. Children's behavioral intentions toward a bear at varying degrees of
A bear in: Forest Crops Cattle Home
% n % n % n % n
Call an adult to kill it 0.0 0 4.8 2 25.6 11 11.6 5
Scare it 15.9 7 42.9 18 48.8 21 51.2 22
Run away 13.6 6 9.5 4 16.3 7 16.3 7
Leave it alone 70.5 31 42.9 18 9.3 4 20.9 9
N 44 42 43 43
Table 3-22. Students awareness of ABCP-EEP and support of the school program
Have heard of ABCP
Know what ABCP is doing
Enj oy the school
Happy with teachers
Enj oy what s/he is learning
Enj oy what s/he is learning about environment
Would like to continue on to high school
Would like continue high school in Oyacachi
In what program would like to be
Did not know
This study evaluates the Environmental Education Program of the Andean Bear
Conservation Project (ABCP-EEP). The goal of the research is to provide information
that will help the ABCP improve its future conservation strategies toward protecting the
spectacled bear population inside the RECAY. The results of this evaluation demonstrate
partial success of the ABCP-EEP. Environmental knowledge, socio-economic attributes,
and conflicts with the bear, are highlighted as important variables in influencing
participants' positive attitudes and behavioral intentions toward conservation of the
Andean bear and support for the ABCP.
In order to address the four obj ectives proposed at the beginning of the study, the
discussion is organized as follows: (1) I describe the results of the evaluation in regards
to changes in environmental knowledge levels, attitudes, and behavioral intentions,
before and after ABCP-EEP educational interventions; (2) I assess the influence of
knowledge, socioeconomic variables, and previous interactions with the bear on these
attitudes and behavioral intentions; (3) I discuss people's perceptions of program results
and support that they give to the ABCP, and how knowledge levels, socioeconomic
variables and participants' interaction with the bear influence this support; and finally (4)
I compare the ABCP-EEP with other efforts to conserve large carnivores conducted in
different parts of the world.
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavioral Intentions in Oyacachi
The first obj ective of this study is to assess current levels of environmental
knowledge, attitudes and behavioral intentions toward the conservation of the Andean
bear, along with changes since program inception. This evaluation is essential for
identifying whether or not the environmental education program has been successful.
Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions in Children
The questionnaires conducted with students at the elementary school provided little
evidence of the EEP success in heightening their environmental knowledge. There was a
slight decrease in the environmental knowledge of children from 2000, when the PECAE
began to be implemented, to 2003. Additionally, children had moderate levels of
environmental knowledge, with a mean of 66% and 62% of the total knowledge scores
for the years 2000 and 2003, respectively. However, it is important to point out that the
ABCP conducted educational activities with children, along with environmental capacity-
building for teachers, at the school in 1998, before the collection of baseline information
in 2000. This could explain the observed decrease in children's level of environmental
knowledge from 2000 to 2003, as teachers began to incorporate environmental education
into the curriculum in 1998. Unfortunately, it was not possible to measure the impact of
these previous activities on results obtained in 2003. The finding of no changes in
children's knowledge level, along with their overall low score, suggest that greater efforts
are needed to increase children's environmental knowledge. This result also provides
evidence that does not support first hypothesis of this study, which anticipated an
increase in knowledge, positive attitudes and behavioral intentions of children after the
implementation of the ABCP-EEP.
Although children's level of knowledge, attitudes and behavioral intentions toward
the environment and the bear, between 2000 and 2003, did not show a significant change,
it is notable that attitudes and behavioral intention measurements were highly positive in
both years. The minimum and maximum proportions of positive responses to questions
regarding attitudes and behavioral intentions were 80-97% and 84-100% for the years
2000 and 2003 respectively. This positive response could be an effect of the ABCP,
which, as described earlier, had been working with the local school on environmental
education since 1998. Despite the fact that it was not possible to statistically test this
change between 1998 and 2003, the teachers in the focus group reported that they saw
children demonstrating more favorable attitudes and behaviors toward the environment
than before their collaboration with the ABCP. The teachers' opinion can be considered
a positive and direct outcome of the ABCP's work with this subset of the community.
Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions in Adults
A difference in knowledge level before and after program implementation could
not be tested in adults due to the lack of baseline data. However, in 2003, the overall
environmental knowledge of the adult population in Oyacachi appeared to be relatively
high. Men had greater average knowledge scores than women, following the general
trends perceived in previous environmental education research (Chawala 1988, Tikka et
al. 2000, Archer 2002). Both cultural and social factors could explain the difference in
knowledge according to gender. For example, historically women have had the role of
looking after the home and children, while men have been in charge of hunting and
resource provision (Gilligan 1982). In much of Ecuador, this division of gender roles has
been maintained, resulting in men being better educated than women to be able to
financially support their families. The unintentional bias of the ABCP toward reaching
mostly men in the adult population could also be related to women having lower
environmental knowledge than men. Some examples of this bias are that the para-
biologists are only men, four of the five teachers at the school are men, when the proj ect
collaborated with the SEC there were eight male students and only four females in the
program. Men are more likely to attend workshops or meetings than women due to a
community structure in which males are generally more involved in community relations
and decision-making processes.
Between the years 1997 and 2003, the attitudes and behavioral intentions of adults
changed in both positive and negative ways toward the conservation of the spectacled
bear. The significant increase in positive responses of participants (52% in 1997 to 65%
in 2003) stating that they would leave the bear alone in a hypothetical encounter, along
with the significant increase (67% in 1997 to 84% in 2003) in people' s perception of the
bear as a tourist attraction can be considered indicators of success for the ABCP in
promoting positive attitudes and behaviors toward the conservation of this species in
Oyacachi. Limits to this success are seen in the following observations: (1) A significant
decrease (97% in 1997 to 67% in 2003) in the perception of whether or not the bear is
important for aesthetic, humanistic, symbolic, ecologistic or utilitarian reasons; (2) A
downward trend (88% in 1997 to 81% in 2003), although not significant, in people's
responses toward bear protection; and (3) No significant change observed in the
behavioral intentions of people toward avoiding damages caused by bears. In both years,
nearly a fifth of the respondents said they would shoot a bear in order to kill it.
These final unfavorable results for the ABCP reflect the problem of bear predation
on livestock in Oyacachi at the time the study was conducted. Most participants
expressed their concern about this conflict and stated that they were willing to collaborate
in conservation of the Andean bear, under the condition that this problem be resolved.
The necessity of solving human conflicts with bears, in order to assure community
support for the ABCP, was also remarked upon in the focus groups conducted with local
authorities, teachers and para-biologists. Due to the division of positive and negative
results, along with the conditioning of positive responses by participants, it is difficult to
show evidence in favor or disfavor of the first hypothesis of this study which expected an
increase in positive attitudes and behavioral intentions after program implementation.
Therefore, it can be said that the program had partial success in promoting positive
attitudes and behavioral intentions among adults in Oyacachi, and that the future success
of the ABCP-EEP depends on whether or not a solution is found to the problem of bear
predation on livestock.
The results of questions conducted only in 2003 show that community members
unanimously supported the idea of conserving natural ecosystems, such as Andean forests
and paramos. Also responses that supported taking action to protect the environment
were nearly unanimous, with the most common being reducing deforestation, planting
trees and not hunting animals inside the RECAY. Participants also mentioned their
willingness to collaborate with forest rangers, such as calling attention to someone who is
burning paramo illegally. Others demonstrated proper management of their garbage.
These results are evidence of the high level of environmental awareness that currently
exists in Oyacachi, due to educational outreach by the ABCP and other governmental and
non-govermental organizations, such as the Ministry of Environment and the 'Antisana'
and 'Ecologica Rumicocha' foundations.
Participants also demonstrated positive attitudes toward efforts for conserving the
Andean bear. The maj ority (81%) mentioned that the bear needed protection and
believed that the RECAY is necessary for ensuring the survival of this species (93%).
The same proportion, 93%, favored laws to protect this animal. However, people's
opinions were more divided when behavioral intentions were measured based on varying
contexts of bear proximity to their crops and livestock, two main sources of income in
Oyacachi. The context in which an attitude or behavioral intention develops has been
considered an important factor in determining whether these variables will be positive or
negative (Hines 1986/87). These study results support this notion in that people's
attitudes and behavioral intentions toward the Andean bear are clearly related to previous
conflicts with the animal. For instance, 62% of respondents perceived the bear as a
detrimental animal and only 14% considered this animal as beneficial for any reason.
This is likely due to the increase of bear predation on livestock at the time research was
conducted For this same reason, the maj ority of participants (87%) were also opposed to
the idea of having more bears in the vicinity of Oyacachi.
The results obtained regarding people's attitudes and behavioral intentions toward
conservation of the environment and the Andean bear are puzzling. Hines et al.
(1986/87) mention that situational factors can interfere in the gap that exists between an
attitude or intention and its development into a behavior, particularly considering
economic constraints or social pressures as factors that determine individuals final
decision to perform or not perform an action. Also, Ajzen (1985) mentions that
intentions will lead to particular behaviors only if a person perceives that he or she has
the capability and the necessary skills to perform a behavior. Following this line of
reasoning, participants in Oyacachi expressed positive attitudes and intentions toward
protecting their natural ecosystems. This was expected, since forests and paramos
provide them with many benefits, such as water, wood, food and medicine. Their
attitudes toward bear conservation were also positive in a general context, such as 'the
bear needs to be protected.' However, when presented with the idea of conserving the
bear in a conflictive scenario, such as 'what would you do if a bear is in your crops or
close to your cattle?' or 'would you like to see more bears close to Oyacachi?,' responses
were more divided, since these situations were related to the potential threat that the bear
represents to their economic goods, especially livestock. Due to a fragile local economy,
participants likely perceived their low capacity to deal with the costs of damage that the
bear could inflict. Therefore, when this conflict was perceived, people's intention to
adopt behaviors favorable to bear conservation was a difficult issue to consider, which
was reflected in more divided, positive vs. negative, responses.
Support for the ABCP Environmental Educational Program
The second obj ective of this evaluation was to measure public support and
satisfaction with the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect and its Environmental Education
Program in Oyacachi. The study demonstrated that the ABCP was well known within the
community; almost all respondents (97%) had heard about the project and knew about its
activities (91%). General public support for the ABCP and its activities was high. This
was reflected in the high proportion of respondents who were willing to participate in a
conservation activity (88%) or interested in learning more about the environment (92%).
Also, the 88% of respondents who participated in at least one activity with the ABCP
mentioned that their experience with the proj ect was either good or very good. Further
evidence of local support toward the proj ect is that the ABCP is seen as an entity that
respects and promotes the culture of the community.
Opinions were more divided regarding the perceived results of the ABCP and
people's support for the project. The information collected through surveys revealed that
a modest maj ority (65%) perceived that there had been an increase in positive behaviors
toward the environment, after the program's inception in 1998, and that the ABCP had
been useful for community development (66%). However, only 49 % of participants
mentioned the ABCP as a source of environmental learning. In focus groups, this
disparity in opinions was also expressed. While teachers and authorities perceived
positive changes in the community since program implementation, the para-biologists,
who worked most directly with the ABCP, thought that such changes had not occurred.
They instead felt that the proj ect had not reached the entire community through its
concentration on specific groups of people, such as themselves. Additionally, they
mentioned that people in Oyacachi had been aware of conservation issues before
implementation of the ABCP, since they were living inside the RECAY and had received
environmental information from other sources, such as the Ministry of Environment and
A clear success of the ABPC was its collaboration with the local school. Teachers
were very supportive of the ABCP activities and were motivated to continue their
involvement with the proj ect. Children also enjoyed both the program and their teachers
and were interested in continuing with their education in Oyacachi. The ABCP's success
with the school may be largely due to the fact that the ABCP encouraged participation of
the teachers, supporting the importance of collaborating with local people to promote the
success of conservation efforts (Wondolleck & Yaffee 2000, Schelhas et al. 2001).
These results show evidence of the ABCP-EEP' s partial success as the program is
highly supported by the community, but the perceived results in promoting pro-
environmental attitudes and behaviors in Oyacachi is not clear among community
members. For instance, the proj ect was viewed by a significant proportion of
respondents (77%) as a source of conflict between community members. This perception
was based on the fact that participants believed the bait, made of cattle blood, used to
attract bears to traps, was 'teaching' bears to feed on livestock. This result is not positive
for the ABCP and indicates that such misunderstandings must be cleared up if the ABCP
hopes to collaborate with the community in achieving its goal of improving the
conservation status of the Andean bear in the RECAY.
Unfortunately, local support for a conservation program alone will not determine
its success. For instance, although support for the ABCP was high in Oyacachi, personal
interviews and focus groups revealed there was a clear agreement among community
members that they would like the proj ect to include activities that promote community
development. This would provide them with alternative choices for making a living, in
attempting to cause less impact to the environment. This response was framed in the
context of cattle predation by bears, which caused maj or economic losses for local people
and encouraged local conflicts with the bear. When interviewed, people's support for
conservation of the Andean bear was frequently accompanied by statements that
expressed their concern about Einding a solution to the problem of depredation on
livestock. Authorities, para-biologists and teachers also expressed the need to Eind a
solution to the conflictive situation with the bear, in order to assure the support and
collaboration of the community toward the protection of the Andean bear. Therefore, the
future success of the proj ect largely depends on whether or not a solution can be found
for this problem.
Variables Influencing Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions
The third obj ective of this evaluation included analyzing the association between
people' s level of knowledge, sociodemographic and economic attributes and previous
interactions with the bear, with their attitudes and behavioral intentions toward bear
conservation. The results of the linear multiple regression models demonstrated that the
variables, which influenced people's positive attitudes or behavioral intentions toward the
Andean bear, were determined by their situational context. Indices that measured
attitudes toward bear protection and the personal importance of the bear for respondents
were consistently associated with participants' knowledge, or variables correlated with
knowledge, such as level of education or age. In these two indices, participants'
socioeconomic status was not associated with their attitudes and, surprisingly, neither
was whether a person had experienced bear predation on their livestock. These results
support the second hypothesis of this study, which expected knowledge to be positively
associated with peoples' attitudes toward bear protection. However, it is important to
note that these two indices are comprised of items that do not make reference to a specific
context, such as a conflictive situation. This could be the reason why other variables,
such as the socioeconomic situation of participants and past conflictive experiences with
the bear, did not appear to be associated with these two attitudes when all variables
interacted in the linear multiple regression model.
In contrast to these previous indices, measuring people's attitudes toward bear
conservation and the personal importance of this animal, the index that measured
participants' attitudes toward the presence of the bear in close proximity to Oyacachi,
was associated with variables other than knowledge. Past experiences with bear
predation on livestock had a negative association, indicating that participant attitudes
toward the presence of bears was more negative if they had experienced livestock
predation. Gender also had a negative association, demonstrating that women were more
in favor of having bears in close proximity to Oyacachi. The last significant variable in
the linear multiple regression model was the amount of trees harvested by respondents,
which also had a negative association, suggesting that people who use more timber are
less likely to want more bears in the area. The theories of Hines et al. (1986/87) and
Ajzen (1985), help explain this lack of association between knowledge-related variables
and attitude toward the presence of bears. The context in which this attitude develops
involves participants reflecting on a possible personal conflict with the bear, based on its
presence close to the community. Therefore, it is possible to predict that attitude toward
the presence of bears will be more influenced by participants' past and present
experiences (Kellert 1996) with the bear, and their perceived lack of capacity to deal with
a possible loss of livestock, than with their levels of environmental knowledge.
This reflects how people's attitudes can change when they perceive that bear
conservation may increase the number of bears in Oyacachi and, ultimately, conflict with
their own livelihood. This emphasizes the importance of understanding the context in
which pro-environmental attitudes develop in order to determine which variables are
influencing them (Hines et al. 1986/87). Understanding which variables are influencing
people's attitudes toward the Andean bear in Oyacachi, can contribute to the design of
future ABCP conservation strategies in the RECAY.
A surprising result arose from examining variables that appeared to influence
people's behavioral intentions toward bears in a conflict situation. Due to the problem of
bear predation on livestock and the results obtained regarding people's attitudes toward
the presence of bears in Oyacachi, it was expected that participants' previous experience
with bear attacks on their livestock, along with economic variables, would have been
significantly related to people's behavioral intentions in a hypothetical conflict with a
bear. However, only two variables, knowledge and gender, appeared to have a
significant association with people's behavioral intentions in the linear multiple
regression model. Knowledge about conservation and ecology issues had a positive
association, indicating that more knowledgeable people are more likely to have a positive
behavioral intention when presented with a conflict situation with the bear. Gender
appeared to have a negative association, which indicates that women -despite having a
lower level of environmental knowledge than men- expressed significantly more positive
behavioral intentions. This pattern has been observed in other studies, such as Tikka et
al. (2000), who suggest that women' s attitudes are partly independent of their knowledge
levels, and that other factors, such as culture and evolutionary history, are often more
relevant in explaining their behaviors. Maaitta (1996 in Tikka et al. 2000, p.18) supports
this in saying that "benignity and universal responsibility are general guiding principles
in women's lives." This may be reflected in their higher level of environmental
responsibility in Oyacachi.
These linear multiple regression analyses on attitudes and behavioral intentions
provide evidence supporting the second hypothesis of this study, since they confirm the
positive correlation of environmental knowledge with participants' positive attitudes and
behavioral intentions toward the environment and the Andean bear. This supports the
importance of continuing with environmental educational activities in the ABCP, since
they provide participants with relevant knowledge that contributes to the development of
environmentally-responsible attitudes and behaviors toward the conservation of the
However, the results also demonstrate the importance of finding a solution to the
conflict created by livestock depredation, which negatively influences people's attitudes
toward the spectacled bear. We can observe that determining which variables are most
relevant in explaining people's attitudes and behaviors may depend on the threshold at
which people's willingness to behave in an environmentally-responsible way conflicts
with their ability to satisfy their own livelihood needs. If conserving the Andean bear
will lead to greater destruction of people's livestock, and no alternatives to ameliorate
this problem are presented, it is likely that attitudes and behaviors will not change in
favor of conserving this threatened species.
Finally, it is important to note that the proportion of the indices' variance,
explained by variables included in the linear multiple regression models, was relatively
low in all cases (as little as 22% and as much as 36%) This suggests that other important
variables, such as individuals' values, beliefs, or situational factors, which are not
considered in the models, could also be influencing respondents' attitudes and behavioral
intentions toward the conservation of the Andean bear.
Variables Influencing Support for the ABCP
An analysis of how respondents' level of knowledge, sociodemographic and
economic attributes, and previous interactions with bears relate to perceived
achievements of the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect' s Environmental Educational
Program completes the analysis of the third objective of this study.
Whether people have been involved in the ABPC strongly influenced both their
perception and support of the program. The linear multiple regression model
demonstrated that perceived results of the ABCP had a significant positive association
with whether people had participated in any ABCP activity (e.g. attendance at a
workshop) or had attended the SEC high school program. This suggests the importance
for the ABCP to reach as many people as possible in order to increase support for this
project in the community as a whole. Once again, gender appeared to be significantly
associated with people's perceptions of the proj ect. Despite the fact that a lower
proportion of female (32%) to male (51%) respondents had participated in any project
activity, women were more likely to perceive positive results of the ABCP in the
community. This result provides additional evidence that women support conservation
activities more than men. The ABCP could use such information to design a program for
women, since this segment of the population expresses more positive attitudes toward
conservation and could be important allies to the proj ect in helping foster environmental
awareness in children, and also in adults.
Comparison of the ABCP -EEP Strategy to other Environmental Education Efforts
to Conserve Large Carnivores
As livestock depredation signifies an economic loss to anyone who experiences it,
particularly in developing countries, many programs for the conservation of large
carnivores have focused on either providing financial compensations for loss or economic
incentives to discourage people from killing these animals (Mishra et al. 2003, Naughton-
Treves 2003). Nevertheless, the importance of concomitantly providing education and
outreach programs to increase public knowledge and promote positive attitudes has been
proposed as essential for improving the conservation of these animals (Jhala 1991, Mech
1995, Mishra et al. 2003).
Environmental education has been used worldwide as an effective strategy to
alleviate conflicts with large carnivores. For example, in the United States of America,
21 states provide educational programs related to bears. These programs are designed to
increase the knowledge of audiences about general bear ecology, hunter safety,
prevention of human-bear interactions, and habitat protection (Peyton et al. 1999). Two
examples of successful environmental education programs designed to promote public
support of large carnivore conservation are conducted in Florida and the Wyoming
In Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and
Defenders of Wildlife have implemented the Florida Black Bear Curriculum, which is
part of FWC's Wild K-12 education program (FWC 2004). This proj ect is designed to
educate and stimulate teachers and students in grades 3-8 regarding the conservation of
3 Oli et al. (1994) found that in Nepal, livestock predation by the snow leopard represented a loss of one-
quarter of the average annual income for local people, and another study on the snow leopard in India,
estimated this lost to be as twice as great (Mishra 1997).
the Florida black bear. The curriculum guide comprises subj ects related to bear biology
and ecology, conservation status of the Florida black bear, interaction and conflicts
among bears and humans, and the future of the conservation of this species.
Some factors considered to contribute to curriculum success are: the curriculum
teaches students how, and not what, to think; it was reviewed by professionals in biology
and education; a wide variety of instructional approaches are used to meet the needs of
verbal learners, visual learners and kinesthetic learners; whole-class instruction and small
group settings allow students to learn from each other; it offers guidance to teachers to
continue increasing their knowledge and understanding of the black bear; lessons are
flexible, they can be modified and may be taught in any order depending on students'
interests; lessons require minimal preparation time and use inexpensive, easy-to-obtain
materials; an evaluative system is incorporated to assess how much students have
Another useful example is the environmental education and communications
campaign for the gray wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park (Jacobson 1999).
This campaign was led by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) of the U. S.
Department of Interior, in cooperation with the National Park Service, U. S. Forest
Service, and state fish and game agencies in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The
campaign succeeded by strategically identifying problems and selecting target audiences,
which was followed by the selection of appropriate media, content areas and strategic
messages to the public. Educational activities were conducted before, during and after
wolf reintroduction. From 1988 to 1992, an intensive public education program was
conducted by the USFWS, which included 260 presentations to more than 13,000 people,
hundreds of printed materials, and integrative activities such as campfires and interpretive
walks covering topics about wolf natural history and recovery. The education program
was complemented with an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) conducted from 1991 to
1994, during which thousands of individuals participated in open house meetings and
formal hearings. In this period, the EIS incorporated approximately 130 public meetings,
distributed 750,000 documents, and received 170,000 comments from the public. This
overwhelming campaign resulted in the success of the reintroduction of gray wolves in
Yellowstone. However, agency representatives continue experiencing public opposition
to reintroduction efforts, suggesting that future communication efforts still need to be
conducted in order to have extensive public support.
In spite of the fact that these examples are located in a different social context than
the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect, they demonstrate that through education it is
possible to increase the success of conservation efforts of large carnivores. This supports
the need for the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect to continue environmental education
activities in Oyacachi, in order to increase public support toward the conservation of the
spectacled bear. However, as suggested by other studies (Mehta & Kellert 1998, Udaya-
Sekhar 1998, Bauer 2003, Mishra et al. 2003), educational activities should be
complemented with other interventions that pursue economic development in order to
provide local people with alternatives that permit them to change livelihood systems that
conflict with wildlife conservation.
The Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect has been ongoing since 1998. Based on the
results of this evaluation, the ABCP has had partial success in meeting its goals.
Although there have been only slight changes in people's knowledge, attitudes and
behavioral intentions toward bear conservation during this time, the ABCP is well
supported by the community of Oyacachi, which continues to be interested in
participating in similar conservation activities in the future.
The results of this evaluation provide evidence for the importance of including
environmental educational programs in conservation strategies, since environmental
knowledge of participants was positively correlated with positive attitudes and behavioral
intentions toward the Andean bear. Additionally, this study supports the importance of
complementing environmental education programs with other conservation and
development initiatives. In this case, since the ABCP is being conducted in a rural region
with a very fragile economy, environmental education must go hand in hand with efforts
that promote sustainable economic development, providing individuals with both
economic alternatives and the capacity to develop and perform environmentally-
Bear predation on cattle is a significant problem that could cause major conflicts
between the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve and people in the community of
Oyacachi. This could also upset local people's support for the ABCP, threatening the
achievements that the proj ect has already obtained in Oyacachi toward conservation of
the Andean bear. As cases of bear predation on cattle have increased in Oyacachi in the
last five years, conflicts in the community have also arisen. Its inhabitants have had to
assume the economic losses caused by this animal, without being compensated for
damages to their property.
Current policies for the management of protected areas in Ecuador, do not
contribute to conflict resolution between humans and wildlife. In developing countries,
the management of protected areas commonly includes restrictions on the use of natural
resources by local people (Hough 1988, Machalis & Tichnell 1985, Wells et al. 1992).
Such regulations are seen in protected areas management in Ecuador, where the hunting
of wildlife is prohibited within reserve boundaries, particularly of species recognized as
internationally endangered on the IUCN Red List and CITES, such as the spectacled
bear. These regulations, which control the use of natural resources by communities
inside the RECAY, have exacerbated conflicts between local people and the Andean
bear, as people are given few options for improving their livelihoods. If people perceive
only economic losses from wildlife conservation efforts, it is very likely that such efforts
will not succeed (Metha and Kellert 1998).
This reflects the need for governmental and non-governmental organizations,
working toward conservation of Ecuador' s biodiversity and natural resources, to consider
the welfare of local people in developing conservation strategies. If such strategies are a
collaborative process that includes both the education of local people and the
development of proj ects designed to improve sustainable livelihoods, there may be a
reduction in environmental conflicts and more long-term success of conservation efforts.
The final obj ective of this evaluation was to contribute to the improvement of the
Environmental Educational Program of Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect delivery by
identifying its strengths and weaknesses and suggesting future modifications. The
strengths and weaknesses of the program were mainly identified in the focus group
discussions. The principal strengths of the program are: (1) the relatively long-term work
within the community, which has resulted in its recognition by the entire community; and
(2) the collaborative process through which ABCP-EEP has conducted its activities with
target audiences, based on the suggestions of local people in proposing activities to be
conducted. The best example of this collaborative process is the work that the ABCP-
EEP conducted with the teachers at the local school.
The main weaknesses of the ABCP-EEP are: (1) a lack of continuum in activities,
although the proj ect has been working in the area for a long time; (2) the ABCP-EEP's
lack of communication with the community about proj ect activities and results; and (3)
the little effort that has been put into monitoring and evaluating program activities.
Based on the results obtained in this evaluation, the following recommendations are
proposed to the ABCP in order to address its weaknesses and improve its strategy for the
conservation of the Andean bear in collaboration with the community of Oyacachi in the
Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve.
(1) Create more continuity in project activities. Although EcoCiencia, the
organization responsible for the ABCP, was positively viewed as an organization that had
been working in the RECAY for a long time, participants also were discouraged by the
lack of continuity in the ABCP activities. An important determinant of this interruption
of activities was a limitation in proj ect funding. However, it is recommended the ABCP
design their programs toward maintaining a more continuous collaboration with the
community. If financial limitations do not permit the implementation of new proj ect
activities, maintaining communication between the ABCP staff and local authorities and
teachers through regular meetings would help promote community support for the ABCP.
(2) Involve more sectors of the population. Many people felt that the proj ect had
focused on a select group of people, namely the para-biologists. A suggested future
target group is women, who were less involved in proj ect activities and had less
environmental knowledge than men. Despite this, they showed more support for project
results and demonstrated more positive attitudes than men toward bear conservation. As
women's role in raising and educating children is more central than men, they are
important actors in influencing the development of children' s values and beliefs toward
nature, along with providing them with the relevant knowledge that in the future could
shape their attitudes and ultimately behaviors toward the Andean bear.
(3) Improve communication strategies for informing the public about activities
conducted by the ABCP, along with the results of these activities. This would both help
create increased awareness about the project in the community and avoid
misunderstandings about the proj ect activities by community members. Such
misunderstandings could decrease the proj ect' s credibility and create negative feelings
toward the project among local people. An example of such a misunderstanding was
people's negative feeling about the ABCP's use of cattle blood as bait in attracting bears
to hair traps for ecological research. Despite the fact that this procedure was only used in
the first six months of 2003, community members blamed the ABCP for attracting bears
to the community and teaching them to feed on livestock, through the use of this
procedure. This negative feeling could have been avoided if the proj ect had clearly
communicated with the community that the bait they were using to attract bears had not
influenced bears' feeding behavior in its four months of use. In Oyacachi, the leadership
council, or Cabildo, organizes meetings regularly with all community members to discuss
current issues and events. The ABCP could ask to use a portion of this meeting to
present its results, obtain community feedback and resolve confusion regarding its
(4) Include future evaluations and monitoring of the ABCP. If the project
continues in Oyacachi, or is expanded to other communities, it is essential that the ABCP
create a set of specific goals, define indicators to measure the proj ect' s failure or success,
and establish a solid baseline that permits the evaluation of program results. This
research has provided the ABCP with baseline information for continued work in
Oyacachi. However, as the program develops in other communities, it would be helpful
to standardize evaluation methods in order to have a common, solid baseline that permits
future evaluation of the ABCP and comparison of results between different communities
involved in the proj ect.
Three more recommendations that may be outside the realm of the ABCP and its
Environmental Educational Program, but could be addressed through partnerships with
other governmental or non-governmental organizations, are suggested to improve the
conservation of the Andean bear:
(5) Create a system to alleviate the impact of livestock predation on the household
economy. For example, introduce financial compensation for the damage caused by
wildlife, which as mentioned earlier has been suggested as a positive alternative to this
problem in similar cases inside protected areas where large carnivores prey on livestock
(Mishra 1997, Mehta & Kellert 1998, Udaya Sekhar 1998, Bauer 2003).
(6) Conduct applied research that can contribute to improved management of
natural resources in the area. For instance, if the ABCP's research could contribute to
solutions to the conflict caused by bear predation on livestock, community members will
likely have greater support for the ABCP and for conservation of the Andean bear.
(7) Link educational activities with development projects that promote the
improvement of sustainable livelihood systems in the community. These proj ects could
encourage a shift away from local dependence on cattle ranching, which currently is the
most important source of income in Oyacachi. Activities could be promoted that foster
fewer conflicts between humans and wildlife and are less detrimental to the ecosystems
protected inside the RECAY. Some suggestions, provided by community members of
Oyacachi, would include improving the marketing of local handicrafts, incorporating a
better system of organic agriculture, and developing an ecotourism program.
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR ADULTS
(Present yourself) "My name is SANTIAGO Espinosa, I am conducting an investigation
to evaluate the environmental education program of the Andean Bear Conservation
Project. I would like to ask you some questions regarding this proj ect and also some
questions about the environment. Your participation is voluntary and you may withdraw
without penalty at any time you want. There is no compensation for participating in this
study. It will take about I hour of your time. Answering this questions won't affect you
either for better or worse. You do not need to answer any question you do not wish to
answer; I have had people refuse before. You do not need to stop working to answer them.
If you would prefer, I can come back at another time. The answers you provide will
remain confidential. Do you have any questions? May I begin asking my questions?
Remember you can stop me any time or we can schedule for another time or day."
Section 1: Knowledge
Q 1. Where do the following animals live, in the forest or the piramo? (Local names)
lobo_ semicabra~ chucuri_ tucin_ pava_ guatusa_ curiquingue
Q 2. Which plants are in the forest or in the piramo? (Local names)
yagual_ pintag_ matachig_ urcu rosa_ canelo_ cedro_ pinan_
Q 3. What is an ecosystem? (Choose the right answer)
A. All the animals and plants in a place that are related each other and with their
B. A science that studies animals and plants.
C. A group of plants that live in a certain place.
Q 4. Where do we find more kinds of animals and plants? (Choose the correct answer)
A. Forest B. Pgramo
Q 5. Name 5 benefits obtained from the forest and 5 benefits obtained from the
Q 6. What are species in danger of extinction? (Choose the correct answer)
A. They are animals and plants that are very abundant in a place.
B. They are animals and plants that can disappear because they have many threats.
C. They are animals and plants similar to each other.
Q 7. Do you know if there are some animals that are living close to Oyacachi that could
disappear from the forest or the piramo forever? Name three of them.
a) b) c) Don't know~
Q 8. Why is the bear important for the forest and the piramo? (Choose the correct
A. Because it is an animal that is very abundant, like the rabbit.
B. Because it helps to carry the seeds of the plants from one place to another in the
C. Because it eats the achupallas that are destroying the soil of the piramo and the
motil6n that is bad for other animals.
Q 9. What does the bear eat?
Q 10. How does the bear live? (Choose the correct answer)
Mostly alone_ Mostly in families_ Mostly in groups_ Don't know
Q 11. Does the bear take care of its cubs?
Yes No Don't know
Q 12. Is there a law that protects the spectacled bear?
Yes No Don't know
Q 13. Is there a management plan for Oyacachi?
Yes No Don't know
Q 16. Do you know what the RECAY is?
(What is it?)
Section 2: Attitudes
Q 14. Do you think nature should be protected?
Yes_ No_ (Why?)
Q 15. Do you think forests and paramos need to exist?
Yes _No_ (Why?)
Q 17. Do you think it is good to have the RECAY?
Very good_ Good_ Nor good nor bad_ Not good_ Not good at all
Don't know _(Why?)
Q 18. How necessary do you think the RECAY is for bear survival?
Very necessary_ Necessary_ Neither necessary nor unnecessary
Not necessary_ Not necessary at all_ Don't know
Q 19. Do you think the bear needs to be protected?
Yes_ No_ (Why?)
Q 20. Do you think there are animals in the forest that are detrimental?
Yes_ No_ If yes, name the three most detrimental animals:
Q 21. Do you think there are animals in the forest that are beneficial?
Yes_ No_ If yes, name the three most beneficial animals:
Q 22. Are there currently more bears than in previous years?
There are more bears There are the same amount
There are less bears Don't know
If there are more or less, give one or two reasons you think are the cause:
Q 23. Would you prefer more or less bears in the forest?
Many more_ More_ Same_ Less_ Much less_ (Why?)
Q 24. Does the bear have any importance for you?
Yes_ No_ (Why?
Q 25. Do you think the bear is an animal that can disappear from the forest forever?
Yes_ No_ (Why?
Q 26. Do you think laws to protect the bear and other animals are needed?
Yes_ No_ (Why?
Section 3: Behavioral intentions
Q 27. What would you do to help to conserve the environment?
Q 28. What would you do if you see someone burning the paramo?
Q 29. Would you like to collaborate with the work of forest rangers?
Yes_ No_ (Why and how?)
Q 30. What do you do with your garbage? How do you manage it?
Q 3 1. If you encountered a bear cub, what would you do? (Choose the correct answer)
Leave it alone Run away_ Scare it_ Catch it_ Shoot it
Q 32. If you meet an adult bear, what you would you do?
Leave it alone Run away_ Scare it_ Catch it_ Shoot it
Q 33. What would you do to avoid bear attacks to your crops and cattle?
Kill the bear
Scare the bear
Spend more time watching over the crops and cattle
Not destroy the forest
Leave it alone Scare it Catch it Shoot it
Forest or paao
Close to your cattle
Close to your home
Section 4: Interaction with Bears
Q 37. Have you ever seen a bear?
Yes_ No_ (If yes, how long ago, where?)
Q 38. Have you ever had a bear or group of bears feeding on your crops?
Yes_ No_ (If yes, how long ago?)
Could you estimate the cost of that damage? (USD)
Q 39. Have you ever had a bear attack your cattle or sheep?
Yes_ No_ (If yes, how long ago?)
Could you estimate the cost of this damage? (USD)
Section 5: ABPC-EEP Evaluation
Q 40. Have you heard about the Andean Bear Conservation Proj ect conducted by
Build a fence
Q 34. How can the bear be used?
Food Touri sm Hunting_ Medicinal
Q 35. Would you like to be able to sell bear parts?
Yes_ No_ (Why?)
Q 36. What would you do if you encounter an adult bear in:
Q 41. Do you know what the people of this Proj ect are doing?
Yes_ No_ (What are they doing?)
Q 42. Have you ever participated in an activity of this Proj ect?
Yes In which one?
No_ Why not?
If participated. How was his/her experience with the Proj ect?
Very good_ Good_ Neither good nor bad_ Not good_ Not good at all
Q 43. Would you participate in other similar conservation activities?
Yes_ No_ Don't know (Why?)
Q 44. Do you think the Proj ect is useful for the development of your community?
Very useful_ Useful_ Somewhat useful_ Not useful_ Don't know
Q 45. Do you see any change in people' s behavior in Oyacachi since the Proj ect' s
Yes_ No_ Don't know (What changes?)
Do you think these changes are: Positive_ Negative_ (Why?)
Q 46. How would you categorize the impacts that the Andean Bear Proj ect has had so far
in the conservation of the natural resources of your community?
Very good_ Good_ Neither good nor bad_ Not good_ Not good at all
(Why? Any difference between the past and the present?
Q 47. What do you think about the Proj ect' s respect toward the culture of your
Very good_ Good_ Neither good nor bad_ Bad_ Very bad_
Don't know_ (Why?
Q 48. Do you think the Proj ect has created conflicts between community members?
A lot of conflicts_ Some conflicts Few conflicts Very few conflicts
No conflicts Don't know_ (Why?)
Q 49. Do you have children that are or were at the school as long as three years ago?
Q 50. Do you know about the change in the school's program of study, conducted in
collaboration with the Proj ect?
Yes_ No_ (What was this change?)
Q 51. Do you agree with the new school's program of study?
Yes_ No_ (Why?)
Q 52. Do you agree with the activities conducted by the Proj ect with your children?
Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree
Strongly disagree_ Don't know_ (Why?)
Q 53. How would you categorize the experience of your children at the school?
(Do they have enthusiasm? Speak about the environment?)
Very good_ Good_ Neither good nor bad_ Not good_ Not good at all
Don't know_ (Why?
Q 54. Where did you learn about the bear and the environment? (Do they mention the
Talking with family or friends
Talking with researchers that visit the area
In workshops or meetings? (With whom and where? )
At the school
At the high school
In radio programs
Reading in books or magazines
Q 55. Are you interested in learning more about the environment?
Q 56. Which other things could be done by the Proj ect, regarding education and natural
Section 6: Sociodemographic and Economic Information
Q 57. What is your education level?
No formal education
Some elementary school
Some high school
More than high school
Q 58. What is your spouse's education level?
No formal education
Some elementary school
Some high school
More than high school
Q 59. Have you attended the distance SEC program?
Q 60. How long have you been in Oyacachi?
All my life_ / years
Where did you live before?
Q 61. What is your family size?
Q 62. What activities represent your main source of income? (In order of importance)
Economic activities % percentage it
Q 63. What forest resource is most important to you?
Q 64. Could you estimate the value of this resource, or what amount of it you use per
month or year?
Q 65. iWhat is your income per month? (US$)
Depending on the case, a rank option also was suggested:
Less than 50
More than 300
Q 66. How much land do you own?
Q 67. How much maize do you harvest each season?
Q 68. How many cattle (or sheep) do you have, where is they located? (Map was shown
Q 69. Would you like the road continue to:
Pueblo viej o
Stay in present location
Section 7: Questions added as a request of local teachers
Q 70. Have you heard a radio program "Enfoque Ambiental desde Oyacachi" in "Radio
Which radio do you listen to?
Q 71. Would you like a radio for Oyacachi where you can hear educative programs and
issues relating to your community?