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Wildlife and Exotics

 

Effects of Social Disruption in Elephants Persist Decades after Culling

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This study showed differences in elephants’ core social ability based on previous experiences of social disruption. Elephants who had experienced separation from family members and relocation during culling operations in previous decades performed poorly on tests of their social knowledge, which was in sharp contrast to the well-developed social abilities of an undisturbed population of elephants. This study sheds new light on the potential long-term negative consequences of severely disruptive human activity on elephants’ key decision-making abilities, which are fundamental to their ability to function in complex societies.

Attitudes Towards Catch-and-Release Recreational Angling, Angling Practices and Perceptions of Pain and Welfare in Fish...

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This study examined how the general public in New Zealand perceives issues of fish welfare and pain, specifically regarding catch-and-release angling. The results showed that most respondents believed that fish are capable of feeling some pain and that catch-and-release angling causes pain and compromises survival in fish. The majority of participants saw angling as an acceptable practice, though believed it is in need of guidelines and regulations to improve the welfare of fish.


Attitudes of College Undergraduates Towards Coyotes (Canis latrans) in an Urban Landscape: Management and Public Outreach...

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This study examined attitudes towards coyotes and coyote management among college undergraduates in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, where coyotes are a recent addition. The survey showed a significant gap in respondents’ understanding of basic coyote biology and ecology. The study uncovered important differences between key demographic groups as well as a preference for coyote management practices that involve an action on coyotes (lethal or non-lethal) over those that restrict human behavior. The researchers also found that a fear of coyotes resulted in respondents being less likely to support the presence of coyotes and less likely to believe that guardians should be directly responsible for protecting their companion animals.

A Multiplex PCR Method to Identify Bushmeat Species in Wildlife Forensics

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This article presents a new method for identifying the species of origin of bushmeat, i.e., meat that is illegally harvested from wild animals, often endangered species. As part of the study, the method was tested on 250 samples of bushmeat confiscated from Switzerland airports. All but one of the samples had sufficient DNA to proceed. The samples were identified as belonging to four groups: birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles. Two thirds of the samples originated from wild species, and a third of these were listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) appendices.

Eighteen Reasons Animal Behaviourists Avoid Involvement in Conservation

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There is frequently hesitation about applying concepts and methods of animal behavior towards solving conservation problems. This paper addresses 18 perceived impediments that may deter animal behaviorists, and provides compelling counter-arguments for each, emphasizing the relevance of animal behavior to many conservation issues. The authors call for animal behaviorists to become more involved in conservation.



Predictive Model of Avian Electrocution Risk on Overhead Power Lines

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This research study explored factors associated with bird electrocutions by overhead power lines. The authors examined historical data from southern California to identify patterns of electrocution by voltage, month, and year, as well as at-risk species. Based on their review, they developed a predictive model that allows for the identification of poles that are likely to lead to avian electrocutions so they can be targeted for retrofitting.



Social Networks, Long-Term Associations and Age-Related Sociability of Wild Giraffes

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This study analyzed the social network of wild giraffes in Etosha National Park, Namibia, over a period spanning 6 years. It found the giraffe population was highly interconnected, either directly or indirectly, suggesting a cohesive network in which information or disease would quickly reach all giraffes. Stable long-term relationships between female-female and male-female pairs were found, spanning many years, and female giraffes interacted with larger numbers of other females as they matured. The findings provide evidence for the importance of socialization for giraffes, which may illuminate the potential negative consequences for those kept in isolation in captivity.

Outdoor Cats: Identifying Differences Between Stakeholder Beliefs, Perceived Impacts, Risk and Management

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There is frequent conflict of opinion over the management of outdoor cats and the risk they pose to wildlife and ecosystems. This study surveyed three stakeholder groups—the general public, supporters of trap-neuter-return (TNR) methods, and members of a bird and conservation advocacy organization—on their attitudes and beliefs about outdoor cats and their management options. While there were significant differences between the three groups in opinions, there were also areas of potential agreement. The authors suggest that focusing on these areas could help policymakers address situations of conflict and stalled debate, which arouses strong feelings on both sides.

Schoolchildren and One of the Most Unpopular Animals: Are They Ready to Protect Snakes?

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Snakes are considered to be an often overlooked and unpopular species when it comes to conservation. This study explored schoolchildren’s attitudes towards snakes and found (contrary to popular belief) that many liked snakes and most wanted to see them protected. Prior contact with snakes was often associated with a greater appreciation for these animals. The results suggest that children have an interest in the protection of less charismatic species.



Public Opinions of Endangered Species in Florida

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Florida residents were surveyed on their attitudes, opinions, and knowledge about endangered species. While respondents did not consider endangered species protection as important as other key issues such as the economy, healthcare, and taxes, over half indicated they had a high level of concern for endangered species, and 85% were likely to pay attention to news stories on the issue. 66% of respondents believed the Endangered Species Act should be strengthened. Other topics covered by the survey include beliefs about the influence of humans on species endangerment, state and national influence, attitudes towards protection policies, and willingness to avoid harmful activities or engage in environmental civic behavior.

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