Matching Items (28)

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Struggle for Existence: Mexican Gray Wolves in the American Southwest

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The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is a genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) that was driven to the brink of extinction as a result of human persecution. The wolf is listed as Endangered under the

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is a genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) that was driven to the brink of extinction as a result of human persecution. The wolf is listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and a recovery program is underway in Arizona and New Mexico to restore its population. However, the wolf is struggling to recover due to high mortality, which is a result of continued human hostility toward it. This thesis examines historical and current human attitudes toward the wolf and the implications that they have had on the extermination and recovery of the subspecies. An overview is given of wolf biology, the history of wolf extermination and recovery, and recent events relating to the recovery of the wolf. Negative impacts on ranching, hunting, and human safety are the main reasons for opposition toward wolves and wolf recovery; these concerns are analyzed, and solutions to them are proposed, with the goal of addressing them while fostering non-lethal coexistence with the wolf. In addition, opposition to wolves and wolf recovery is tied in with larger socio-political issues and is influenced by the representation of the wolf in culture; these issues in the context of wolves are also analyzed.

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2017-05

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Psychological, Ecological, and Ethical Dimensions of Bottlenose Dolphin Captivity

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Bottlenose dolphins, or Tursiops truncates, have captured the attention of humans for centuries leading people to keep them in captivity. However, people's love and an increase in knowledge for these creatures have sparked many ethical debates on whether dolphins should

Bottlenose dolphins, or Tursiops truncates, have captured the attention of humans for centuries leading people to keep them in captivity. However, people's love and an increase in knowledge for these creatures have sparked many ethical debates on whether dolphins should be kept in captivity. In this paper, I discuss the different dimensions of bottlenose dolphin captivity focusing on the physiological, psychological, ecological and ethical concerns raised when comparing captive to wild bottlenose dolphins. In an analysis of the scientific literature, I found that captive bottlenose dolphins experience negative physical and psychological effects, including a shorter life span and a decrease in brain size. They also engage in more risky and harmful behaviors. Preexisting brain structures in bottlenose dolphins indicate enhanced emotional processing possibly leading to a more difficult life in captivity. Furthermore, modeling of bottlenose dolphin social networks have found that removal of dolphins from existing populations have negative repercussions for ecological communities, particularly effecting present and future pods due to their complex social systems called fission fusion societies. Furthermore, removal can have a deleterious effect on the environment due to their role as top predators. Available data suggest that bottlenose dolphins should be classified as non-human persons due to their cognitive abilities such as self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, and symbolic communication. This moral classification demands significant human duties and responsibilities to protect these cetaceans. Due to their similarities to humans, these results suggest that keeping bottlenose dolphins in captivity is ethically questionable and perhaps unjustifiable as captivity violates their basic rights.

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2017-05

Does Nature Nurture?: The Positive Impact of Outdoor Immersion on Physical and Mental Health, and the Creation of an Arizona Outdoor Adventure Guide

Description

Spending time outdoors can have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of individuals. These physiological and psychological benefits were comprehensively reviewed, accompanied by a brief history of these views in American society and how modern programs are

Spending time outdoors can have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of individuals. These physiological and psychological benefits were comprehensively reviewed, accompanied by a brief history of these views in American society and how modern programs are promoting outdoor activity. Some of the populations targeted in this research include children, veterans, the elderly, and the clinically ill. A guidebook for Arizona outdoor adventures \u2014 containing original landscape photography \u2014 was created to encourage ASU students to explore local hikes, campsites, and other outdoor opportunities near the city of Phoenix. Each entry contained a brief description of the area or trail, along with the distance from the ASU Tempe campus and information on the length and difficulty of the hike, if applicable. A section at the end of the book was aimed at education readers on basic outdoor survival protocol, as many people venture into the wild with very little understanding of the dangers associated with their activities. A website was made that mirrors the guidebook, but was intended to be a more accessible method of sharing our information. The final component of the project involved maintaining a social media account over the course of the year, allowing us to expand our reach to people beyond ASU and this community. Over the course of the project, the account gained a large following, and several posted photos went on to be featured on prominent regional accounts. By combining the four components described previously, several resources were created for people, particularly students attending ASU, to gain a better understanding of the outdoor adventures available to them, and the benefits that spending time surrounded by nature can have.

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2017-05

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An evaluation of the ecological and human health factors in protein source decisions

Description

Protein is an essential macronutrient in the human diet, but the source of this protein has both human health and environmental impacts. Health complications can result from protein deficiency, but the practices by which protein sources are raised, grown, or

Protein is an essential macronutrient in the human diet, but the source of this protein has both human health and environmental impacts. Health complications can result from protein deficiency, but the practices by which protein sources are raised, grown, or harvested have environmental consequences, potentially reducing biodiversity, essential habitat, and crucial stocks of natural resources. Terrestrial cultivation encroaches on natural habitats and consumes resources inefficiently, while overfishing has greatly depleted wild fishery stocks. These environmental factors, along with concerns about nutrients, contaminants and the ethics of animal protein has led to confusion about weighing the risks and benefits associated with alternative sources of protein. Providing consumers \u2014 and policy makers \u2014 with a comprehensive account of major protein sources and their impacts in an understandable form is crucial to reducing environmental degradation and improving human health. Here I provide a general framework to compare the health and environmental impacts of livestock, seafood, and plant protein, and illustrate the application of this framework with case studies for each of these categories.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Flame retardant contamination in seafood and its significance for conservation

Description

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,

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.

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2014-05

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A HISTORY AND COMPARISON OF WOLF CONSERVATION IN THE WESTERN UNITED STATES AND ITALY

Description

Abstract This thesis is derived from the conservation biology field of study and seeks to chronicle and characterize the history of wolf conservation in the US, with a focus on post-ESA listing and present day events. The compelling question this

Abstract This thesis is derived from the conservation biology field of study and seeks to chronicle and characterize the history of wolf conservation in the US, with a focus on post-ESA listing and present day events. The compelling question this thesis seeks to address is how to make long-term wolf conservation effective and feasible in the United States. An overview of wolf life history is provided, as well as a brief overview of early wolf-human interactions in Europe and the US, before reviewing the following regions in the US: Yellowstone, Idaho/Montana/Wyoming, Alaska, and Arizona. The trend identified in all regions is described as a hostile political atmosphere with particular resentment by some stakeholders towards the federal enforcement of wolf conservation via the ESA. A comparative section on Italy is provided in contrast to this US theme, as Italy tends to have a much more relaxed attitude towards wolf conservation. For success in the future of wolf conservation three suggestions are made. First, efforts to protect wolves through federal regulation are to be dismissed. Second, efforts should instead focus on education of key demographics regarding responsible environmental management and wolf management specifically. Thirdly, conservationists must actively strive to remarket the wolf as a symbol of the freedom of the west as opposed to the symbol of Washington's encroachment on state's rights.

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2014-12

Educational Workshops to Bring Awareness of Animal Related Careers in the Framework of Animal Welfare and Conservation

Description

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

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.

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2016-05

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The Ethics of Keeping Large Felids in Zoos

Description

This thesis aims to address the ethics of keeping the big cats, such as lions, tigers, and leopards, in zoos. It is a practice that has generated some controversy in light of scientific studies reporting stress among wide-ranging animals in

This thesis aims to address the ethics of keeping the big cats, such as lions, tigers, and leopards, in zoos. It is a practice that has generated some controversy in light of scientific studies reporting stress among wide-ranging animals in captive enclosures, as well as in the context of wider discussions in animal welfare and conservation ethics in zoos. A driving question for this project, therefore, was "What are the arguments for and against keeping large felids in zoos/captivity?" This thesis examines the historical and current ethical approaches to evaluating the ethics of maintaining big cats in zoos. Due to many of the big cat species listed as endangered species on the IUCN redlist, the species-centered approach to zoo ethics is becoming the common viewpoint, and, as a result, zoos are deemed ethical because of their contribution to ex situ conservation practices. Further, the ethical arguments against zoos are minimized when the zoos provide suitable and appropriate enclosures for their large felids. Of course, not all zoos are created equal; the ethics of zoos need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but in general, it is ethical to maintain big cats in zoos.

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Date Created
2014-05

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The Impacts of Conservation Practices on Indigenous Populations

Description

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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Listing the American Pika (Ochotona princeps): The role of science in a political world

Description

In 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) petitioned the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to list the American pika (Ochotona princeps) as an endangered species. After several petition

In 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) petitioned the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to list the American pika (Ochotona princeps) as an endangered species. After several petition denials, the petition was evaluated during both 90-day, and 12-month reviews. Ultimately, both petitions were denied and the pika was not given protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). During the petitioning years, 2007 through 2013, there were many newspaper publications, press releases, and blog entries supporting the listing of the pika. Information published by these media ranged from misleading, to scientifically inaccurate. The public was swayed by these publications, and showed their support for listing the pika during the public comment period throughout the 12-month status review in California. While the majority of the public comments were in favor of listing the pika, there were a few letters that criticized the CBD for making a poster child out of a "cute" species. During the 12-month status review, the CDFW contacted pika experts and evaluated scientific literature to gain an understanding of the American pika's status. Seven years after the original petition, the CDFW denied listing the pika on the grounds that the species is not expected to become extinct in the next few decades. This case serves as an example where a prominent organization, the CBD, petitions to list a species that does not warrant protection. Their goal of making the pika the face of climate change failed when species was examined.

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2014-05