Specificity and the Cognitive Hierarchy: Value Orientations and the Acceptability of Urban Wildlife Management Actions

Society and Natural Resources (Impact Factor: 1.09). 01/2006; 19(6):515-530. DOI: 10.1080/08941920600663912

ABSTRACT This article tests theory suggesting cognitions at the same level of specificity have stronger associations than those at different levels. Using data from a survey of Anchorage, AK, residents (n = 971, response rate = 59%), we explored relationships between general wildlife value orientations and (1) the general acceptability of hunting urban wildlife populations, and (2) specific wildlife management actions (e.g., the acceptability of destroying a bear or moose after specific conflict situations). Consistent with previous research, patterns of basic wildlife beliefs aligned along two distinct value orientations (protection–use and wildlife appreciation) that differentially predicted management action acceptability. As hypothesized, general wildlife value orientations had more influence on the acceptability of hunting to reduce wildlife populations than destroying an animal involved in specific conflict situations. Findings suggested ways to improve measurement, ways to develop broader models that include values-related variables, and the importance of values-level information when addressing urban wildlife conflicts.

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    ABSTRACT: Conserving threatened carnivore species increasingly depends on the capacity of local people to cohabit with those species. To examine such capacity we developed a novel psychological framework for conservation in regions of the world where there are human–carnivore conflicts, and used the Endangered tiger Panthera tigris to explore the utility of this framework. Specifically, we tested three hypotheses in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, where increasing human–tiger conflicts potentially jeopardize long-term coexistence. We administered a survey to 499 individuals living ,2 km from the Park and in nearby multiple-use forest, to record preferred future tiger population size and factors that may influence preferences, including past interactions with tigers (e.g. livestock predation) and beliefs and perceptions about tigers. Over 17% of respondents reported that a tiger had attacked their livestock or threatened them directly. Results from a structural equation model indicated that respondents who preferred fewer tigers in the future were less likely to associate tigers with beneficial attributes, more likely to associate tigers with undesirable attributes, and more likely to believe that government officials poorly manage tiger-related risks and that people are vulnerable to risks from tigers. Our framework can help address current and future conservation challenges because it (1) integrates an expansive and generalized set of psychological concepts, (2) enables the identification of conservation interventions that foster coexistence between people and carnivores, and (3) is suitable for broad application.
    Oryx 10/2012; · 1.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mech (2010) provided a review of options involving regulated, public hunting of gray wolves (Canis lupus) when states regain control of wolf management. We agree with his general conclusion that the use of lethal management should focus more in areas of conflict and less in wilderness areas, especially near protected places like national parks. Here, we expand on Mech's work and provide additional considerations that could be incorporated into state management plans to make them more acceptable to an increasingly diverse group of interested stakeholders, including: 1) the use of human dimensions research to understand the conditions under which stakeholders find lethal management acceptable, and to evaluate the acceptability of agency efforts to increase tolerance for wolves; 2) employing preventative measures to protect livestock and pets, especially in cases where wolf packs are highly visible to the public; and 3) selective use of sport hunting in areas where wolf impacts are deemed unacceptable. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.
    Journal of Wildlife Management 03/2012; 76(3):457 - 461. · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In a representative national survey of the adult population of Norway, public preferences for different management practices were influenced by a large number of different variables. Results are largely consistent with known influences on public acceptance of the large carnivores. Management preferences are subject to a number of different influences. The interpretation of this complexity may be facilitated by viewing the variables as interrelated parts of a coherent system. The present analysis supports a multidimensional model, involving the predictors: 1. Two main perspectives on the carnivores (threat and non-threat), 2. two groups of species (minor and major carnivores), 3. respondents’ degree of carnivore acceptance in five situations, and 4. a set of respondent characteristics. Carnivores posing a threat and “Major carnivores” (wolf and bear) are associated with preferences for more severe management than others. Respondents’ acceptance of carnivores also is a major predictor. In addition, a number of respondent characteristics are significantly related to the management preferences. Part of this influence may be indirect, mediated through carnivore acceptance. The complexity of the multidimensional model implies that simpler perspectives may limit our comprehension in this field of research. In popular debate on large carnivores, some participants argue simply for or against maintaining carnivore populations. The present results suggest that the general population hold more complex views, possibly more consistent with a policy of both accepting the carnivore populations and taking severe management measures when animals prove threatening.
    Research Report of Lillehammer University College (HiL). 05/2014;


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