Matching Items (41)
- All Subjects: conservation
- Creators: School of Life Sciences
- Member of: Barrett, The Honors College Thesis/Creative Project Collection
The purpose of my thesis is to illustrate the story of the black-footed ferret's conservation, and to provide my own suggestions for how to eventually get the species removed from the Endangered Species List, marking a successful rebound in population numbers. I highlight my personal experience working at the Phoenix Zoo's black-footed ferret breeding center. In the first chapter, I present the species by describing its morphology, diet, reproduction, behaviors, range, and habitat. In the second chapter, I recount the chronological history of the conservation of the species, starting with its rediscovery following its putative "extinction", and ending with its present status. In the third chapter, I discuss the threats that have led to the species' overall decline and continue to affect its persistence today. In the fourth and final chapter, I conclude by making recommendations regarding what needs to occur in order to eventually get the species delisted.
Globally, many species of shark are facing rapid population decline. This is due to increasing fishing pressures, primarily from the booming demand in China for shark fins for soup. In recent years there has also been an increase in international shark conservation efforts, but there is still a long way to go in gathering support for those efforts. Public perception of sharks in America has been greatly influenced by negative media representations of them, Jaws being one of the most influential. Many of these representations are based on inaccurate information that has been disproven by science, but still lingers in popular culture. Symbolic Interactionism Theory proved to be a useful framework for unpacking the connections between public perception, mainstream culture and media, and conservation regarding sharks. A social psychological theory, Symbolic Interactionism describes the ways that people construct meaning about a topic through direct and indirect interactions, and how this meaning can change on individual, social, and cultural levels. By changing the way sharks are perceived and represented to the public, these important and incredible animals may gather the support they need to continue living in the world's oceans.
A literature review summarizing the current status of conservation efforts of the Mojave Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) including a brief overview of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and its applicability to this species' conservation. A genetic and physiological comparison of the morphologically similar Mojave species with the Sonoran (Gopherus morafkai) species proceeded by an analysis of if and how the ESA should apply to the Sonoran population. Analysis of current plans and interagency cooperations followed by a multi-step proposal on how best to conserve the Sonoran population of Desert tortoise.
Zoos are doing amazing projects to help wildlife globally and locally. A lot of people aren't aware of what goes on with these conservation projects because much of it happens behind the scenes. So I decided to make a film to explain how zoos facilitate our world's wildlife. My film can be viewed at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JmLGf138zY
Conservation is a complicated entity consisting of a multitude of professional fields including social issues, cultural issues, and physical science. This thesis evaluates the positive and negative aspects of two broad types of conservation: top down fortress conservation and bottom up community-based conservation. Fortress conservation has many negative aspects, such as displacing human communities and preventing utilization of resources. However, it also has positive aspects, such as preventing the destruction of delicate ecosystems and slowing down extinctions. Community-based conservation is more inclusive and focuses on including the indigenous populations located within the proposed conservation site in the decision-making process. Its negatives include having an anthropocentric goal instead of valuing nature's intrinsic values. Understanding the differences inherent in these two methods is necessary in order to implement a conservation network with the highest chance for success.
Consumption of seafood poses a substantial threat to global biodiversity. Chemical contamination found in both wild-caught and farmed seafood also presents significant health risks to consumers. Flame retardants, used in upholstery, plastics, clothing, and other products to reduce fire danger, are of particular concern as they are commonly found in the marine environment and permeate the tissues of fish that are sold for consumption via multiple pathways. By summarizing various metrics of sustainability and the mercury content in consumed species of fish and shellfish, researchers have found that high levels of chemical contamination was linked with lesser fishery sustainability. I conducted a literature review of flame retardant content in seafood to further compare contamination and sustainability in addition to the initial analysis with mercury. My review suggests that the widespread issue of fishery collapse could be alleviated by demonstrating to stakeholders that many unsustainable fish stocks are mutually disadvantageous for both human consumers and the environment. Future research should address the need for the collection of data that better represent actual global contaminant concentrations in seafood.
American youth are not well exposed to animal- and nature-related careers. This is especially important to consider due to the recent push to be more environmentally conscious. In addition, youth are spending less time outside and more time in front of screens. This is driving down biophilia strength. The combination of a weaker connection with nature and more screen time has been connected to a new condition named Nature-Deficit Disorder. In order to expose youth to animal- and nature-related careers while attempting to combat the growing presence of Nature-Deficit Disorder, a three day teaching program named Wild Careers was created. This program was presented to teens in December 2015 through a partnership with the education department of Arizona Animal Welfare League. The curriculum was centered on highlighting relevant careers and background information. Topics such as animal welfare and conservation were taught as cornerstones during the program due to their encompassing importance to the career fields in question. It was felt to be important to inform participants about the context of these fields through specially planned activities and guest speakers. Participants were challenged to conduct online research, think critically, and get hands-on during this program. Wild Careers also exposed the participants to animals and the relevant species management stories. The surveys given before and after the presentation of the created curriculum provided evidence that supported an increased understanding of careers and enjoyment of participants. I propose that other non-formal teaching environments should be created that target exposing youth to animals, nature, and related careers.
Southern Arizona was once described as a "sea of grass" extending across the four major valleys, the Sulphur Spring Valley, the San Pedro Valley, the San Simon Valley and the San Bernardino Valley. But today the majority of that land is covered with desert shrubs like mesquite, leaving little to none of the natural grasses that once dominated these valleys. By the late 1800s Americans were flocking to southern Arizona to take advantage of some of the lushest grasslands the United States had to offer. Yet today we can find very little of these grasslands remaining, and so the image of this once productive land has been long forgotten. This thesis/creative project takes an in-depth look at what the land in Cochise County, Arizona once was, what it has become, and what happened to cause these drastic changes. It looks at the four major theories as to what caused these changes. The first of which is the overgrazing of cattle through the cattle boom of the late 1800s. The second is the effect of climactic events like drought and an increase in aridity over time. The third is the encroachment of what was thought to be non-native mesquite, which choked out the natural grasses. And the fourth and final theory is that the overarching suppression of fire by settlers allowed desert shrubs to expand their ranges into the grasslands. Through historical records like newspaper articles, photo archives, land surveys, military travel journals, census data, weather records as well as prior research works and interviews with researchers, conservationists and ranchers, a history of these lands is presented to show the major turning points in the lands' use and determine what led to their deterioration.
Black-footed ferrets have become one of the most popular conservation success stories because of the miraculous rediscovery of the species after being declared extinct and the growing population today. The stability of the species is still highly variable as the ferrets are threatened by disease, habitat fragmentation, human infringement, and the extermination of their main prey item the prairie dog. The complexity of the issue arises from negative public perceptions of prairie dogs leading to less citizen support for protection which in turn undermines progress in black-footed ferret conservation. General issues with the bureaucracy of conservation helps to delay a formal protection of species at risk which would be especially important for species that are actively being removed or exterminated by humans like the prairie dog. Careful analysis of the black-footed ferret and the prairie dog through the lenses of their natural histories, conservation histories, and modern conservation methods suggest that the public’s opinion and support is the greatest tool for the protection of species at risk because of the complexity of conservation and the rallying bureaucratic motion.
Prairie dogs were once abundant across the plains and grasslands of the Western half of the United States. Four of the five subspecies are found in the United States and have lost 98% of their historical abundance since 1870 due to extermination campaigns, habitat loss, and plague. This species is threatened by extinction and already extirpated across most of its range and yet given very little federal or state protection, except for the Utah prairie dog. This leaves most conservation efforts to grassroots and non-profit conservation organizations. This paper looks at the framework used by conservation organizations within conservation campaigns to communicate the need for prairie dog conservation efforts. Thirty-six organizations were found and six frames were identified. The most common frames emphasized prairie dogs’ role as a keystone species and addressed concerns surrounding cattle ranching and prairie dogs and plague transmission. Other frames were used occasionally and showcase underutilization of a wider variety of targeted frames. This paper is the first of its kind to analyze how prairie dog conservation is being communicated through framing theory. This field is under-researched and has the potential to grow and be helpful to future campaigns as they develop communication strategies and create partnerships with other like-minded organizations.