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Study finds populist ‘backlash’ rising against wildlife agencies

Cara J

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The rise of populism in the United States is affecting a range of issues, and according to a recent study, wildlife management is no exception. The study published in Biological Conservation found “indications of backlash from a populist hunting culture in the U.S.,” apparently in reaction to “a shift in wildlife values” away from traditional activities like hunting and fishing toward non-consumptive uses and a greater concern for animal welfare. In states where this shift was greatest, researchers found lower levels of trust in state wildlife agencies. Researchers also found a rise in ballot initiatives to “fight back” against limits on hunting. “As agencies try to adapt to change and appeal to a broader constituency, traditionalists feel like they may be losing power, and backlash comes into play,” said lead author Michael Manfredo, human dimensions of natural resources professor at Colorado State University. “If the traditional client group has historically provided the support for these agencies, think about the difficulty they would have in that circumstance of backlash in reaching out to new constituents.” Between 2002 and 2004, Manfredo and his fellow researchers surveyed the wildlife values of over 12,600 people, examined hunting-related ballot initiatives and investigated the public’s trust [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/study-finds-populist-backlash-rising-against-wildlife-agencies/

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