Standards For Lethal Response To Problem Urban Wildlife
This paper presents the norms of public wildlife management and how they are affected by the animal species being managed, with beavers, coyotes, and mountain lions as specific examples. The paper states that the social acceptability of killing these animals has increased as the consequences of human-wildlife interactions has increased, although acceptability varies by species and situation.
In this research, a number of situations involving beaver, coyote, and mountain lion management and the related evaluative standards were placed on a normative curve. It was found that the type of animal and the situational characteristics (potential for damage or harm) significantly affected acceptance of lethal control. For example, lethal control was considered more acceptable for beavers and coyotes than for mountain lions, and less in situations that posed less danger of harm to humans, pets, or property.
Furthermore, this research identified the hierarchical structure of beliefs, suggesting the usefulness of studying the levels of cognitive hierarchy. Specifically, the research found that wildlife value orientations significantly predicted normative beliefs about lethal control, which in turn predicted lethal trapping attitudes. Moreover, lethal trapping attitudes predicted the behavioral intention to support lethal trapping.
Public opinion or the wildlife manager’s understanding of public opinion can be affected by misinformation or misunderstanding. In these situations, the true issue should be identified and managers should look at underlying cognitive factors such as wildlife value orientations or attitudes to better determine which management tactics are appropriate. The role of the wildlife manager is to review all available information and use the best technique that will result in the best outcome for wildlife and people. The inclusion of human dimension information in this analysis is a powerful tool for the wildlife manager.