Chapter 5 Discussion Questions: Charismatic Animals, Carnivores, and
the Politics of Wildlife
- How would you define a charismatic animal? What are the key characteristics that differentiate a charismatic from a non-charismatic animal? What wildlife do you feel a strong attachment towards (either positive or negative)? Why?
- How important a role have charismatic wildlife played in the support for and passage of legislation such as the Endangered Species Act? Discuss.
- What, if any, negative consequences have resulted for wildlife biodiversity conservation due to the attachment of people to charismatic wildlife? Explain.
- What types of wildlife have tended to be neglected for protection? Why? What do you think could be done to rectify this neglect?
- The wild horse is an example of a charismatic species that have proven to be a public policy challenge for those interested in wildlife conservation. Read the following reports (and any others that you can locate) concerning wild horses:
A. Committee to Review the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Management Program. Using science to improve the BLM wild horse and burro program: A way forward [Internet]. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2013 [cited 2013 Jun 20]; Available from: www.nap.edu/download.php?record_id=13511
B. Committee to Review the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Management Program; Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources. Division on Earth and Life Studies. National Research Council. Using science to improve the BLM horse and burro program: A way forward [Internet]. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press; 2013 [cited 2013 Jun 20]; Available from: www.nap.edu/download.php?record_id=13511
C. Frosch, Dan. Report criticizes U.S. stewardship of wild horses. New York Times [Internet].2013 Jun 6 [cited 2013 Jun 10]; Available from: www.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/us/reportcriticizes-us-stewardship-of-wild-horses.html
D. U.S. General Accountability Office. Bureau of Land Management: Effective long-term options needed to manage unadoptable wild horses. Washington, D.C.: USGAO; 2008 Oct.Report No.: GAO-09–77. http://www.gao.gov/assets/290/282664.pdf
E. Philipps, Dave. As wild horses overrun the West, ranchers fear land will be gobbled up. New York Times [Internet]. 2014 Sep 30 [cited 2014 Oct 1]; Available from: www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/us/as-wild-horses-overrun-the-west-ranchers-fear-land-will-be-gobbled-up.html?emc=edit_th_20141001&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=10365419
Then write an analysis of the wild horse dilemma. What are the major issues? Develop a proposal to “solve” this dilemma.
6. Attitudes and perceptions of wildlife species can change through time. Identify a species that has undergone change(s) in its perceptions by humans. What were the causes of the change(s)? What can be learned about preserving wildlife diversity from this case?(7) The reintroduction of wolves to the U.S. West has been a major challenge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies and groups interested in biodiversity conservation. Read reports available concerning this issue such as:
A. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Final environmental impact statement: The reintroduction of
gray wolves to Yellowstone national park and central Idaho [Internet]. 1994 [cited 2016 Mar24]; Available from: www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/eis_1994.pdf
B. Adaptive Management Oversight Committee. Mexican wolf Blue Range reintroduction project 5-Year Review: AMOC responses to public comment component [Internet]. 2005 [cited 2016 Apr 13]; Available from: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/ref/collection/statepubs/id/2423 C. Mexican Wolf Livestock Coexistence Council. 2014 strategic plan [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2014 Mar 31]; Available from: http://nebula.wsimg.com/44f097fc32f18ec546b4b7e11d1f4486?AccessKeyId=9B17E8A0ABBE291EE878&disposition=0&alloworigin=1
D. Reese, April. Can a grazing buyout program ease life for wolves and ranchers? High Country News [Internet]. 2014 Feb 17 [cited 2014 Aug 19]; Available from: www.hcn.org/issues/46.14/46.3/can-a-grazing-buyout-program-ease-life-for-wolves-and-ranchers
E. Klinkenborg, Verlyn. After years of progress, a setback in saving the wolf. New York
Times [Internet]. 2013 Jun 1 [cited 2013 Jun 2]; Available from: www.nytimes.com/2013/
Then discuss the causes of the underlying conflicts over the reintroduction of wolves including the following points: What are the major points of contention among those involved? How has the USFWS and other agencies involved tried to mediate between these opposing viewpoints? What measures have they taken to alleviate the conflict? How successful have these steps been? If you were in charge of the effort to reintroduce wolves, what would be your approach? Why?
7. The book discusses the “Killing Wolves To Make Them More Acceptable” hypothesis. How valid do you think this hypothesis is? Discuss.
8. The book discusses an apparent discrepancy between the attitudes of majorities of the populace in several Western states that are tolerant of wolves and grizzlies and those of a smaller proportion of people who have opposed attempts to build populations of these carnivores. What are the underlying causes of this discrepancy? What are the reasons why the smaller proportion have tended to dominate state policies concerning these carnivores? What is your assessment of the chances for a shifting of politics with those tolerant of carnivores having more influence over policies towards these species? Why?
9. Compensation programs have been developed in order to increase tolerance for carnivores who harm those who live near them. Describe these programs and assess how successful they have been—what have been the reasons for their success or failure?