Sunday, April 1, 2012

Understanding Public Attiudes Towards Wildlife

In the article, “Public attitudes toward wildlife are changing: a trend analysis of New York residents”, the authors explored the current attitudes toward wildlife, due to the fact that very few researches have had the opportunity to examine data that allows analysis of such trends. The authors conducted a survey and ran a multivariate trend analysis to examine the results of the survey.

Wildlife management policies are, to varying degrees, founded on the public’s attitudes about wildlife and thus impact how science and management programs are operated. Thus, researchers and governmental agency personnel continually seek to answer: “What are the current attitudes of stakeholders concerning wildlife” and “how are they changing”? So to help answer these questions, the authors examined the attitudes of specific stakeholder groups to four underlying dimensions. The groups included hunters, outdoor recreationists, rural landowners, suburban homeowners, wildlife agency personnel and graduates of hunter training courses.

The initial sample of the 17 studies was comprised of 9,847 residents living in New York State, with 7,589 observations included in the final analysis. The Wildlife Attitude and Values Scale asked respondents how strongly they agree or disagree with attitudinal statements based on the personal importance of each item. The four sections included:
·         Social benefits: contained items about the appreciation and existence of wildlife
·         Traditional conversation: included items involving management for sustainable use
·         Communication benefits: included items about observing and talking about wildlife
·         Problem tolerance: included items concerning safety risks in human and wildlife interaction.

The authors used multivariate trend analysis to account for the variability due to differences in each study (the different variants). This type of analysis also accounted for individual level differences for the models were run for the main effects of demographic characteristics including sex, age, rural or nonrural residence and stakeholder types. Finally, interaction effects of year and demographic variables were included in the analysis to show effects over time.

Using the multivariate trend analysis indicated declining problem tolerance in New York, regardless of stakeholder group. Other attitudes have increased, stating that communication is important and that traditional conversation attitudes have gained proponents. Finally, by using multivariate trend analysis the author’s research suggest that New York attitudes towards wildlife is evolving toward a more protectionist view.

Butler, J., Shnahaha, J., & Decker, D. (2003). Public attitudes toward wildlife are changing: a trend analysis of new york residents. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 31(4), 1027-1036. Retrieved from

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