Wildlife and Exotics
In this article, the author discusses the fluid, often contradictory classifications that are applied to animals in urban spaces, focusing on how animal-related laws express perceptions and attitudes. Whether an animal species is perceived as in need of protection from humans, valuable to humans, or a threat to humans may depend on its origins, its ancestors, local variations in historical practices and policies, how freedom of religion and speech are weighted against humane concerns, and many other shifting and sometimes arbitrary factors.
This article discusses the practical aspects of complying with an EU Directive regulating cephalopod research that took effect in January 2013. To formulate guidelines for researchers, the authors reviewed cephalopod-related research from 2005-2011 that would be subject to the new Directive if it was being conducted now. Using case study examples, the authors discuss the application of required practices and considerations in a variety of scenarios, and encourage affected researchers to develop systems and policies to ensure their compliance.
This study establishes a baseline record of natural and human-produced underwater noise at two sites in northeastern Scotland for use in future research on its impact on hunting, communication, navigation, stress levels, reproduction, and survival of native marine mammals. The authors used recording devices in conjunction with cameras to record noise levels and frequencies, and monitor the sources of human-produced noise. They conclude that underwater noise is primarily the result of shipping traffic and industrial activity, and offer observations about possible limitations in recently-mandated government monitoring, with suggestions for improving the efficacy and relevance of the monitoring.
Survey of Attitudes Toward, Conflicts with and Management of Wolves and Bears in Rural Villages in ArmeniaSubmitted on Jan 21, 2014 (Original item from 2013) General Animal Protection | Research Tools and Methods | Wildlife and Exotics
For her Masters thesis, the author performed a baseline study of human-bear and human-wolf conflicts in rural Armenia. In individual interviews and focus groups, participants from 23 rural villages were surveyed on their attitudes towards wolves and bears, frequency and type of conflict events, contributing factors, conflict mitigation strategies used, and current and proposed options for management of conflicts. While almost half of the participants expressed respect or concern for wolves and bears, slightly more than half felt frustrated by conflicts, and unable to adequately protect themselves or their property. Government management policies were not perceived as helpful. The author concluded that implementation of a community-based management program combined with education would empower residents while minimizing conflict-related killing of wolves and bears.
This article proposes a framework to perform rigorous, quantitative cost/benefit analysis of proposals to relocate plant and animal species threatened by climate change. The framework is consistent with the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s guidelines, and can be used to evaluate a single proposed relocation, to compare species as well as strategies or locations, and to focus future research by pinpointing areas where data is insufficient.
Do Formal Inspections Ensure that British Zoos Meet and Improve on Minimum Animal Welfare Standards?Submitted on Jan 14, 2014 (Original item from 2013) Entertainment Animals | General Animal Protection | Wildlife and Exotics
This study explored whether inspections lead to animal welfare improvements in British zoos. The authors examined two consecutive inspection reports for 136 zoos in Britain to determine the level of compliance with minimum animal welfare standards. The results showed no evidence of an overall improvement in this area. The findings also pointed to a lack of consistency between inspectors and a high proportion of zoos failing to meet minimum animal welfare standards. Based on the study, the authors suggest that the current system of inspection and licensing is subpar and in need of improvement.
This study investigates what percentage of plastic items are apparently bitten by fish or sharks as well as the size of fish who bite plastic and whether bitten items have particular characteristics. Hard plastic debris was collected from randomly selected plots on a Hawai'ian beach. Bitten items were recorded as a percentage of all items by count (15.8%) and by weight (17.3%). Items that were blue, yellow, or bottle-shaped were most frequently bitten. There was a wide range of bite-mark sizes, indicating engagement by a variety of species and/or those at varied stages of growth.
Polar bears have been a symbol for climate change, but a proposal to upgrade their listing under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has resulted in a diversion of public attention from climate change toward the hunting of polar bears. This article focuses on the reconfiguration of polar bear conservation discourse that took place leading up to the 2013 CITES decision. The authors suggest that the focus on the commercial hunting and global trade in polar bear parts has resulted in an overshadowing of sustainable hunting and climate change-induced habitat loss. They conclude that more nuanced media coverage of polar bear conservation is necessary to facilitate appropriate multilateral conservation policies.
Does Colour Matter? The Influence of Animal Warning Coloration on Human Emotions and Willingness to Protect ThemSubmitted on Jan 03, 2014 (Original item from 2013) Advocacy Strategies | General Animal Protection | Wildlife and Exotics
The role of animal coloration in people’s willingness to protect animals was explored in this study. Children and youth in Slovakia were shown altered and unaltered images of aposematic (those with warning coloration) and cryptic animals. The results showed that participants were significantly more willing to protect aposematic animals over inconspicuous, cryptic animals. These findings, the authors suggest, indicate that the use of aposematic animals in conservation programs may increase their popularity and public support.
Is Hunting Large Carnivores Different from Hunting Ungulates? Some Judgments Made by Norwegian HuntersSubmitted on Dec 27, 2013 (Original item from 2013) General Animal Protection | Wildlife and Exotics
In Norway, previously threatened populations of large carnivore are recovering. In this study explores hunters’ attitudes towards the eventual use of hunting to manage these growing populations. 672 Norwegian hunters were surveyed as part of the study about their motivations, priorities, and values about carnivore hunting compared to their attitudes about ungulate hunting.
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