Conflict and Conservation: A Human History of Animals in Gatineau Park, 1938-1958

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McFarlane, Renee Elaine




This thesis explores the shifting human perceptions of wildlife in Gatineau Park, Quebec, from 1938 to 1958, and argues that these views came into conflict with the actual animals that roamed there. It draws upon records of the Federal District Commission, animal studies methodology and naturalists’ field observations to demonstrate that non-human animals, as much as human animals, shaped the conservation practices that developed in the park. White-tailed deer and their predators frustrated attempts to order and classify them as they transgressed physical and conceptual boundaries: deer were domesticated, farm dogs went wild, and “brush wolves” challenged taxonomic boundaries by breeding with coyotes. Upon their reintroduction beavers “destroyed” park landscapes, defying Grey Owl’s construction of the beaver as a symbol of wildlife conservation. These encounters with animals challenged the expectations of rural residents, park visitors, and the Ottawa Ski Club who called for the removal of beaver and wolves.


Canadian History




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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