Date of Award:

1999

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Wildland Resources

Advisor/Chair:

Mark W. Brunson

Abstract

A mail survey of randomly selected stratified U.S. households assessed general attitudes toward wildlife and specific concerns about wildlife damage management and the federal Animal Damage Control program. Respondents strongly supported federal government's role in ensuring public safety , engaging in public education, and continuing research into nonlethal control methods. Weaker support was found for lethal control of predators and crop depredators, and financial compensation for losses due to wildlife activities was generally opposed. Lethal methods of control were generally considered to be inhumane and nonlethal methods humane. When asked to rank the importance of factors to be considered when selecting management methods, II human safety ranked highest followed by animal suffering, effectiveness, environmental impacts, severity of problem, and ability to target the specific problem animal. The lowest ranked factor was public opinion. Considered as a whole, results suggest that U.S. citizens want a role in wildlife damage policy formation but respect wildlife professionals ' judgment in specific management situations.

This study also assessed attitudes and beliefs about wildlife damage management (WDM) activities and federal government agencies ' roles in carrying out those activities. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine if variables such as environmental attitude, wildlife experience, and sociodemographic characteristics explained levels of support for WDM activities and the importance of the federal government's role . Respondents generally support WDM operations. Differences in respondents' general environmental attitudes and enjoyment of hunting accounted for most of the variation in their attitudes toward WDM practices. Independent variables that most influenced perceived importance of federal involvement in WDM were sex , age, education, and general environmental attitudes.

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