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Human-Wildlife Conflict Management in a Rapidly Changing World

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As human populations continue to expand, interactions with wildlife are expected to increase due to destruction of land and global climate change threatening native habitats. Established areas of protection are becoming essential to species survival and biodiversity protection. National Parks

As human populations continue to expand, interactions with wildlife are expected to increase due to destruction of land and global climate change threatening native habitats. Established areas of protection are becoming essential to species survival and biodiversity protection. National Parks (NP) are a globally ubiquitous method employed to protect wildlife and habitats. Often NPs are mosaics of relatively small protected areas in a “sea” of human-dominated landscapes, and these remaining habitat “islands” are becoming essential to preventing species extinction. However, the establishment of a NP can lead to increased human-wildlife conflicts (HWC) and disenfranchisement of local communities, particularly along their borders. We conducted semi-structured interviews in six different countries to better understand the nature of HWCs at the borders of major NPs: (1) Khao Yai NP, Thailand; (2) Myall Lakes NP, Australia; (3) Chitwan NP, Nepal; (4) Kruger NP, South Africa; (5) Chingaza NP, Colombia, and (6) Yellowstone NP, United States. We evaluated affinity to wildlife, perception of conflicts, management success, and potential solutions at each park to better understand the global nature of HWCs.We also evaluated these data in relationship to the Human Development Index (HDI) to determine if there was a correlation between development and conflict issues. We found the intrinsic value of wildlife to not markedly differ between countries. Conflict was perceived as higher in the United States and Australia but was known to be of greater intensity in Nepal and South Africa. Management of NPs was well-regarded with a slight decrease from less-developed countries to more-developed countries, with solutions that were creative and unique to each region. Results appeared to be related to shifting baselines between countries and also to equivalency in a cross-cultural assessment. When these theories are taken into account, the complexity of HWCs globally is better understood. As our world continues to expand and NPs become some of the only contiguous native habitat and refuges for wildlife, it is important to understand the complex relationships occurring at the interface between natural and human communities and to explore effective solutions to these problems.

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2019-05

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The Impacts of Conservation Practices on Indigenous Populations

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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

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.

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2014-05

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Accredited Zoos and How They Inspire People to Care About Conservation

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Human activities around the world are threatening scores of wildlife species, pushing them closer to extinction. In order to address what many conservationists view as a global biodiversity crisis, it is vital that more people are inspired to care about

Human activities around the world are threatening scores of wildlife species, pushing them closer to extinction. In order to address what many conservationists view as a global biodiversity crisis, it is vital that more people are inspired to care about wild animals and motivated to act in ways that help protect them. The up-close experiences and personal connections that people form with wild animals in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) or the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) can help achieve this. However, it is not very well understood how different types of encounters within these zoos may inspire conservation mindedness and pro-environmental behaviors. During this thesis project, surveys were conducted at the AZA-accredited Arizona Center for Nature Conservation/Phoenix Zoo to understand how interactive, hands-on animal experiences within zoos differ from passively viewing zoo animals when it comes to inspiring people to care about conservation. The Phoenix Zoo is home to two different species of giraffes, and guests can view them from the front of the Savanna Exhibit. Guests can also participate in the Giraffe Encounter, which is a much more interactive, hands-on experience. After surveying guests at both locations, the results showed that fewer people at the Giraffe Encounter responded that they often engage in pro-environmental behaviors. This may indicate that the people who participated in the Giraffe Encounter came to the zoo more for recreation and entertainment than to learn about wildlife. Despite this, more people learned something new about nature or conservation at the Giraffe Encounter than they did at the Savanna Exhibit. On average, guests also felt that the Giraffe Encounter motivated them to learn more about how to help animals in the wild than the Savanna Exhibit did. Overall, there is a strong correlation between having an interactive, hands-on experience with a zoo animal and caring more about wildlife conservation. However, more research still needs to be done in order to conclusively provide evidence for causation.

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2019-12

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Comparing Two Methods of Private Conservation

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The purpose of this thesis is to compare ecolabeling to conservation easements for facilitating multi-use land between food production and conservation. Biodiversity has been on the decline as human agriculture uses more land. According to Encyclopedia Britannica “Half of the

The purpose of this thesis is to compare ecolabeling to conservation easements for facilitating multi-use land between food production and conservation. Biodiversity has been on the decline as human agriculture uses more land. According to Encyclopedia Britannica “Half of the world’s habitable land (some 51 million square km [19.7 million square miles]) has been converted to agriculture, and some 77 percent of agricultural land (some 40 million square km [15.4 million square miles]) is used for grazing by cattle, sheep, goats, and other livestock. This massive conversion of forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other terrestrial ecosystems has produced a 60 percent decline (on average) in the number of vertebrates worldwide since 1970”(Rafferty 2010). The purpose of this paper is to explore ways individual landowners and private businesses can continue to operate profitably on their land while reversing the harmful loss to biodiversity observed in the past 50 years. Two of the most popular methods of achieving conservation on workable land are ecolabeling and conservation easements.

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2020-12