Predator Control: Here We Go Again

Carnivores elicit a variety of responses from society, and predator management has a correspondingly diverse history in the wildlife management profession. Attempts to manage or control predators often create controversy, and therefore is a constantly contentious issue with wildlife managers. In many regards, views regarding predator management have changed considerably during the past few decades, but recent trends suggest that predator management strategies are being considered and/or implemented in various management scenarios. Societal changes, large-scale changes in landscape conditions, and the realization that predation issues are complex mandate careful consideration be given to predator management scenarios prior to implementation. We examine key issues pertaining to the issue of predation management, and summarize relevant issues regarding predator management across the southeastern region of the United States. Using empirical evidence, we recommend a protocol to assist land managers when considering predator management or during interactions with stakeholders and the laity. Our protocol specifically questions management goals, the correct identification of the offending predator species, the consideration of extrinsic factors and the careful evaluation of the alternatives for predator management. We recommend those considering predator management clearly define objectives of the proposed management scheme, thoroughly assess societal beliefs, and ensure that management activities implement best management practices for trapping.

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