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Conference Proceeding

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American attitudes toward wildlife have often been cast as falling within an urban/rural dichotomy that separates protectionist from utilitarian value orientations. Long held as a major challenge to wildlife managers the urban/rural dichotomy may be yielding to change as new attitude and value orientations arise from direct conflicts people have with wild animals as well as from a generational disenfranchisement of young people who lack direct experience with the outdoors. Both may loom as larger challenges for the future and shift the focus of once opposing interests more toward efforts to establish cooperation. Currently, much of the disagreement over wildlife management practices is disagreement over principles, leading often to values gridlock in which dialogue stagnates. Offering a way out of gridlock, welfare assessments that establish the “humaneness” of management actions may be a direct way to reach better consensus, if not complete agreement, on controversial management practices. Certainly they should be tried, as the need for better communication tools in wildlife management and wildlife damage control grows.


Paper presented at the 13th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (Saratoga Springs, NY)