U.S. Public Attitudes Regarding Predators and Their Management to Enhance Avian Recruitment
Wildlife Society Bulletin
Wildlife managers need current human dimensions information to develop outreach and management programs that address public concerns about predation and predator management. No human dimensions studies assessing public attitudes toward managing medium-sized predators have been conducted previously. We surveyed a random sample of United States households to assess public attitudes and beliefs about the management of medium-sized predators to enhance avian recruitment. Respondents expressed moderately knowledgeable, but somewhat idealized, beliefs about predator ecology. Although we found strong support for predators' right to exist, respondents did not support an outright ban on predator hunting or trapping. When given specific predator control scenarios, respondents supported control to enhance avian recruitment, except when controlling raptors to protect upland gamebirds. Support for control was greater when prey species were threatened and when the predator species were less charismatic. Respondent support for predator control to protect native versus introduced birds was similar. Our results suggest that the interested public may support predator control more readily when it is used "surgically" than when applied broadly. We discuss implications for political action regarding predator management.
Messmer, T.A., M.W. Brunson, D.K. Reiter and D.G. Hewitt. 1999. U.S. public attitudes regarding predators and their management to enhance avian recruitment. Wildlife Society Bulletin 27(1):75-85.