Journal of Wildlife Management 3: Humans and Beavers (a brief link to 510)

Attempting to cross boundaries… Thought this would be a good article to tie together our two core classes from this semester. Enjoy!

Stakeholer Norms Toward Beaver Management in Massachusetts
Jonker, S.A. et al,
Journal of Wildlife Management, Sept., 2009

In Massachusetts, USA, both human and beaver (Castor canadensis) population levels are increasing, beaver damage complaints are escalating, and beaver management options are restricted by the 1996 Wildlife Protection Act. We looked at the public's norms toward beavers in Massachusetts. In 2002 we sent a mail-back questionnaire to a random sample of 5,563 residents in 3 geographic regions in Massachusetts and to residents who submitted a beaver complaint to Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) in 1999-2000 (47.3% overall response rate). Respondents supported some form of beaver management. As severity of beaver damage was perceived to increase, respondents were more willing to accept lethal management and control of beavers. These results emphasize the importance of how tolerance and acceptability of wildlife are influenced by the type of activity the animal is engaged in, the type of management action that is proposed, the positive or negative perception of a species in the eye of the public, and the public's preference for future population levels. A full understanding of these 4 points will help tailor management accordingly, because this knowledge can define a threshold of acceptance by the public for anticipated management actions. Restoration of full beaver management authority to the cognizant wildlife management agency would facilitate application of normative information to determine appropriate management response for minimizing conflicts between humans and beavers.

Beaver-Human Battle Royale!!! Something I have experience with from this past summer working at Tamarac NWR in Rochert, MN. Can't tell you the countless man hours spend cleaning out culverts… Eventually we would get sick of doing such things and we aould blow-up beaver dams and/or the CO would shoot the beaver. I have pics and video of blowing up the dams if anyone is interesed. I didn't realize beaver management was such a large deal until I worked there. Hopefully this article can provide some insights to you all…

The balancing act of managers to please the public, while dealing with policy constraints and keeping the overall health of ecosystem and its processes intact.

Little known fact: Humans and Beavers are the only animal species that change ecosystems in order to create habitat for themselves. Other examples anyone?

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