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  • Paul R. Krausman

Connecting the public to wildlife


I remember as my interest in wildlife grew as a child and teenager, the wildlife that I was attracted

life besides wilderness species including farm species, forest and range species, migratory species, furbearers, and predators. New contemporary categories have been included into the mix to include threatened species, urban wildlife, and park wildlife (Krausman2013). Further, there are numerous views humans have about wildlife (Kellert1980,Jacobsetal.2018). Regardless of how wildlife is categorized and regardless of the views the public holds about wildlife, all wildlife in North America are managed in relation to human constructs and the public trust doctrine. For example, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was initially designed to limit the decline of birds and the sale of their parts from commercial activities, but they continued to decline (Murphy and Manzolillo2021). Thus, the emphasis has shifted to impacts from energy production, window strikes, and utility operations—other human‐caused declines from different activities (Murphy and Manzolillo2021). An entire edition of the Wildlife Professional(Norris2021) outlined the changing attitudes of humans towards wildlife in the United States and Canada and how wildlifers from universities to federal and state agencies to non‐governmental organizations should deal with the changes. In addition, wildlife was historically managed by wildlife biologists from a single section of society, but as society has changed, so has the management of the world's wildlife as the human equation has become the central part of management and conservation (Riley et al.2002,Deckeretal.2012). Wildlife is now managed and studied by the diversity expressed in humanity and diversity in the wildlife profession continues to grow. Also, professional managers of wildlife do so according to public desires and the public is increasingly involved as citizen scientists (Kobilinsky2022). Additional efforts are being made to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge into data collection and management and more emphasis is placed on management on private lands than in the past (Mule Deer Working Group2021).Views about wildlife and the way it is managed have shifted since the initiation of the profession and will continue todo so, especially as humans encroach into wildlife habitats and people in groups encounter animals (e.g., bear watching in national parks) instead of individually. To some, group observations may be a wilderness experience, to others an obscenity. Some ask where has the wild in wildlife gone? The wild is still there, but as humans increase and continue to encroach into habitats of wildlife, and destroy other habitats with development, habituation to humans will increase and some populations will decline while others will increase. There is even a classification for human‐habituated wildlife that are attracted to and thrive at least partially within human habitats: synanthropes (e.g., coyotes [Canis latrans], rock pigeons[Columba livia], raccoons [Procyon lotor], rats; Larson and Fuller2014).The importance of placing humans and wildlife together in harmony to the benefit of each has been the goal of wildlifers for decades, but we are not making the kind of progress that is needed for viable populations to coexist. Simply consider how human‐caused climate change has altered wildlife habitats. All of our actions have an influence on wildlife and it is important to recognize which actions are detrimental to wildlife. To paraphrase Leopold(1933:422–423), herein lies the social significance of wildlife management and conservation. Wildlife simply asks for habitat and the chance to show that farm, forest, range, and wildlife products can be grown on those landscapes, the mutual advantage of each other, landowners, and the public. The public has to understand the importance of maintaining and enhancing habitats so we can continue to coexist with native flora and fauna.“ In short, twenty centuries of ‘progress’ have brought the average citizen a vote, a national anthem, a Ford, and bank account, and a high opinion of himself, but not the capacity to live in high density without befouling and denuding his environment, nor a conviction that such capacity, rather than such density, is the true test of whether he is civilized. The practice of game management may be one of the means of developing culture which will meet this test”(Leopold1933:423).As humans encroach into wildlife habitat and make decisions that can be detrimental to wildlife (e.g., habitat alteration, feeding wildlife, wildlife–vehicle collisions), it is important for them to have solid information about the wildlife they interact with. The public is not reading The Wildlife Society publications written by wildlife experts and many of the best authorities are not providing information to the public about wildlife. I recently read an article in the New Yorker(Jarvis2021) that discussed deer control, the use of motion‐sensitive cameras, biodiversity, forage, synanthropes, and numerous other topics that fill The Wildlife Society journals. These topics and everything about wildlife is what wildlifers live to study, manage, discuss, research, and write about. But are we reaching the public that should have the information? The New Yorker has 1,200,000 readers compared to approximately 12,000 in The Wildlife Society and other outlets have even more. The Wildlife Society has writers for The Wildlife Professional that summarize scientific works, policies, and management and conservation activities, but they are primarily available to wildlifers. The Wildlife Professional is a member benefit for The Wildlife Society members; the information would be equally welcomed by the public. Of course, newspapers have nature writers and columns about wildlife, but they are limited, often shallow, and not necessarily science driven. If the public has to understand the importance of maintaining and enhancing habitats so we can continue to coexist with native flora and fauna,“[e]xamples of harmonious land‐use [between humans and wildlife] are the need of the hour”(Leopold1933:422). Those examples were needed nearly a century ago and they are just as important today to demonstrate how coexistence can occur between man and beast. Who are those that can do the job with precision, passion, determination, drive, and lifetimes of dedication to wildlife and their habitats? Wildlifers. We need to get busy. ACKNOWLEDGMENTSA. S. Cox, A. S. C. Knipps, and J. F. Organ reviewed an earlier draft of this editorial. Thanks. Paul R. Krausman, Editor‐in‐Chief REFERENCES Decker, D. J., S. J. Riley, and W. F. Siemer, editors. 2012. Human dimensions of wildlife management. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Jarvis, B. 2021. Animal passions. The New Yorker. 15 November:38–44.Jacobs, M. H., J. J. Vaske, T. L. Teel, and M. J. Manfredo. 2018. Human dimensions of wildlife. Pages 85–94inL. Steg and J. I. M. de Groot, editors. Environmental psychology: an introduction. John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken,New Jersey, USA. Kellert, S. R. 1980. Knowledge, affection, and basic attitudes toward animals in American society: Phase III. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., USA. Kobilinsky, D. 2022. People‐powered science. The Wildlife Professional 16(1):16–26.Krausman, P. R. 2013. Defining wildlife and wildlife management. Pages 1–5inP. R. Krausman and J. W. Cain, III, editors. Wildlife management and conservation: contemporary principles and practices. The Wildlife Society, Bethesda, Maryland and Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Larson, G., and D. Q. Fuller. 2014. The evolution of animal domestication. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 45:115–136.Leopold, A. 1933. Game management. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, New York, USA. Mule Deer Working Group. 2021. Role of private lands in mule deer management. Fact Sheet 36. Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Boise, Idaho, USA. Murphy, C. E., and B. Manzolillo. 2021. Migratory bird conservation takes flight in D.C. The Wildlife Professional 15(6):61.Norris, K. 2021. Special focus + relevancy roadmap. The Wildlife Professional 15(6):3–62.Riley, S. J., D. J. Decker, L. H. Carpenter, J. F. Organ, W. F. Siemer, G. F. Mattfeld, and G. Parsons. 2002. The essence of wildlife management. Wildlife Society Bulletin 30:585–593.2of2|EDITORIAL

Journal of Wildlife Management2022;e22281.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/jwmg© 2022 The Wildlife Society|1of2https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.22281


https://wildlife.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/jwmg.22281


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