Publications by authors named "Adrian Treves"

34 Publications

Evaluating how lethal management affects poaching of Mexican wolves.

R Soc Open Sci 2021 Mar 10;8(3):200330. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.

Despite illegal killing (poaching) being the major cause of death among large carnivores globally, little is known about the effect of implementing lethal management policies on poaching. Two opposing hypotheses have been proposed in the literature: implementing lethal management may decrease poaching incidence (killing for tolerance) or increase it (facilitated illegal killing). Here, we report a test of the two opposed hypotheses that poaching (reported and unreported) of Mexican grey wolves () in Arizona and New Mexico, USA, responded to changes in policy that reduced protections to allow more wolf-killing. We employ advanced biostatistical survival and competing risk methods to data on individual resightings, mortality and disappearances of collared Mexican wolves, supplemented with Bayes factors to assess the strength of evidence. We find inconclusive evidence for any decreases in reported poaching. We also find strong evidence that Mexican wolves were 121% more likely to disappear during periods of reduced protections than during periods of stricter protections, with only slight changes in legal removals by the agency. Therefore, we find strong support for the 'facilitated illegal killing' hypothesis and none for the 'killing for tolerance' hypothesis. We provide recommendations for improving the effectiveness of US policy on environmental crimes, endangered species and protections for wild animals. Our results have implications beyond the USA or wolves because the results suggest transformations of decades-old management interventions against human-caused mortality among wild animals subject to high rates of poaching.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.200330DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8074884PMC
March 2021

Estimating poaching risk for the critically endangered wild red wolf (Canis rufus).

PLoS One 2021 5;16(5):e0244261. Epub 2021 May 5.

Environmental Studies Department, Antioch University New England, Keene, New Hampshire, United States of America.

The reintroduced red wolf (Canis rufus) population in northeastern North Carolina declined to 7 known wolves by October 2020, the majority of which is due to poaching (illegal killing), the major component of verified anthropogenic mortality in this and many other carnivore populations. Poaching is still not well understood and is often underestimated, partly as a result of cryptic poaching, when poachers conceal evidence. Cryptic poaching inhibits our understanding of the causes and consequences of anthropogenic mortality, which is important to conservation as it can inform us about future population patterns within changing political and human landscapes. We estimate risk for marked adult red wolves of 5 causes of death (COD: legal, nonhuman, unknown, vehicle and poached) and disappearance, describe variation in COD in relation to hunting season, and compare time to disappearance or death. We include unknown fates in our risk estimates. We found that anthropogenic COD accounted for 0.78-0.85 of 508 marked animals, including poaching and cryptic poaching, which we estimated at 0.51-0.64. Risk of poaching and disappearance was significantly higher during hunting season. Mean time from collaring until nonhuman COD averaged 376 days longer than time until poached and 642 days longer than time until disappearance. Our estimates of risk differed from prior published estimates, as expected by accounting for unknown fates explicitly. We quantify the effects on risk for three scenarios for unknown fates, which span conservative to most likely COD. Implementing proven practices that prevent poaching or hasten successful reintroduction may reverse the decline to extinction in the wild of this critically endangered population. Our findings add to a growing literature on endangered species protections and enhancing the science used to measure poaching worldwide.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244261PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8099127PMC
May 2021

Wolf Delisting Challenges Demonstrate Need for an Improved Framework for Conserving Intraspecific Variation under the Endangered Species Act.

Bioscience 2021 Jan 29;71(1):73-84. Epub 2020 Oct 29.

Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.

Recent advances in genomics have increased our understanding of geographic patterns of intraspecific variation and the importance of this variation in enhancing species' potential to adapt to novel threats. However, as part of an effort to limit the scope of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the US government has proposed the removal of the gray wolf from the list of protected species on the basis of a claim that the statute permits a species to be declared recovered given the existence of a single presently secure population. We rebut this interpretation and propose a framework for the conservation of adaptive potential that builds on current agency practice in delineating subspecific recovery units and reconciles the definition of significance in the statute's "distinct population segment" and "significant portion of range" clauses. Such a coordinated policy would enhance the ESA's effectiveness in stemming loss of biodiversity in the face of climate change and other factors altering Earth's ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biaa125DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7791361PMC
January 2021

Large carnivore hunting and the social license to hunt.

Conserv Biol 2020 Oct 13. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Department of Geography, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 1700, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 2Y2, Canada.

The social license to operate framework considers how society grants or withholds informal permission for resource extractors to exploit publicly owned resources. We developed a modified model, which we refer to as the social license to hunt (SLH). In it we similarly consider hunters as operators, given that wildlife are legally considered public resources in North America and Europe. We applied the SLH model to examine the controversial hunting of large carnivores, which are frequently killed for trophies. Killing for trophies is widespread, but undertaken by a minority of hunters, and can pose threats to the SLH for trophy-seeking carnivore hunters and potentially beyond. Societal opposition to large carnivore hunting relates not only to conservation concerns but also to misalignment between killing for trophies and dominant public values and attitudes concerning the treatment of animals. We summarized cases related to the killing of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos), wolves (Canis lupus), and other large carnivores in Canada, the United States, and Europe to illustrate how opposition to large carnivore hunting, now expressed primarily on social media, can exert rapid and significant pressure on policy makers and politicians. Evidence of the potential for transformative change to wildlife management and conservation includes proposed and realized changes to legislation, business practice, and wildlife policy, including the banning of some large carnivore hunts. Given that policy is ultimately shaped by societal values and attitudes, research gaps include developing increased insight into public support of various hunting policies beyond that derived from monitoring of social media and public polling. Informed by increased evidence, the SLH model can provide a conceptual foundation for predicting the likelihood of transient versus enduring changes to wildlife conservation policy and practice for a wide variety of taxa and contexts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13657DOI Listing
October 2020

Liberalizing the killing of endangered wolves was associated with more disappearances of collared individuals in Wisconsin, USA.

Sci Rep 2020 08 17;10(1):13881. Epub 2020 Aug 17.

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, USA.

Although poaching (illegal killing) is an important cause of death for large carnivores globally, the effect of lethal management policies on poaching is unknown for many populations. Two opposing hypotheses have been proposed: liberalizing killing may decrease poaching incidence ('tolerance hunting') or increase it ('facilitated poaching'). For gray wolves in Wisconsin, USA, we evaluated how five causes of death and disappearances of monitored, adult wolves were influenced by policy changes. We found slight decreases in reported wolf poaching hazard and incidence during six liberalized killing periods, but that was outweighed by larger increases in hazard and incidence of disappearance. Although the observed increase in the hazard of disappearance cannot be definitively shown to have been caused by an increase in cryptic poaching, we discuss two additional independent lines of evidence making this the most likely explanation for changing incidence among n = 513 wolves' deaths or disappearances during 12 replicated changes in policy. Support for the facilitated poaching hypothesis suggests the increase (11-34%) in disappearances reflects that poachers killed more wolves and concealed more evidence when the government relaxed protections for endangered wolves. We propose a refinement of the hypothesis of 'facilitated poaching' that narrows the cognitive and behavioral mechanisms underlying wolf-killing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-70837-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7431570PMC
August 2020

Myths and assumptions about human-wildlife conflict and coexistence.

Conserv Biol 2020 08 14;34(4):811-818. Epub 2020 May 14.

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, U.S.A.

Recent extinctions often resulted from humans retaliating against wildlife that threatened people's interests or were perceived to threaten current or future interests. Today's subfield of human-wildlife conflict and coexistence (HWCC) grew out of an original anthropocentric concern with such real or perceived threats and then, starting in the mid-1990s, with protecting valued species from people. Recent work in ethics and law has shifted priorities toward coexistence between people and wild animals. To spur scientific progress and more effective practice, we examined 4 widespread assumptions about HWCC that need to be tested rigorously: scientists are neutral and objective about HWCC; current participatory, consensus-based decisions provide just and fair means to overcome challenges in HWCC; wildlife threats to human interests are getting worse; and wildlife damage to human interests is additive to other sources of damage. The first 2 assumptions are clearly testable, but if they are entangled can become a wicked problem and may need debunking as myths if they cannot be disentangled. Some assumptions have seldom or never been tested and those that have been tested appear dubious, yet the use of the assumptions continues in the practice and scholarship of HWCC. We call for tests of assumptions and debunking of myths in the scholarship of HWCC. Adherence to the principles of scientific integrity and application of standards of evidence can help advance our call. We also call for practitioners and interest groups to improve the constitutive process prior to decision making about wildlife. We predict these steps will hasten scientific progress toward evidence-based interventions and improve the fairness, ethics, and legality of coexistence strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13472DOI Listing
August 2020

Working constructively toward an improved North American approach to wildlife management.

Sci Adv 2018 10 3;4(10):eaav2571. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada.

Mawdsley et al. (2018) respond disapprovingly to our 2018 review of 667 wildlife management systems across Canada and the United States, which found that many of these systems lacked the scientific hallmarks of clear objectives, evidence, transparency, and independent review. Although we strongly agree with several of Mawdsley et al.'s points about the role of science in management, their response suggests confusion about three elements of our approach that we clarify herein: (i) the selection of hallmarks, (ii) the role of science in wildlife management, and (iii) our engagement with wildlife agencies. We contend that both critics and defenders of the current approach to wildlife management in Canada and the United States similarly desire rigorous management that achieves social and ecological benefits. Our original study-which used a clear approach to define hallmarks of science-based management, employed a reasonable set of indicator criteria to test for them, and was based on data available to the general public on whose behalf management is conducted-found evidence that the current approach falls short. However, it also provided a framework for addressing shortcomings moving forward. We suggest that advancing discussion on the operational role of science in management, including clarifying what "science-based management" actually means, could curtail practitioners and critics of the status quo talking over each other's heads and encourage all parties to work constructively to improve the governance of wildlife at a continental scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aav2571DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6170033PMC
October 2018

Carnivore conservation needs evidence-based livestock protection.

PLoS Biol 2018 09 18;16(9):e2005577. Epub 2018 Sep 18.

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.

Carnivore predation on livestock often leads people to retaliate. Persecution by humans has contributed strongly to global endangerment of carnivores. Preventing livestock losses would help to achieve three goals common to many human societies: preserve nature, protect animal welfare, and safeguard human livelihoods. Between 2016 and 2018, four independent reviews evaluated >40 years of research on lethal and nonlethal interventions for reducing predation on livestock. From 114 studies, we find a striking conclusion: scarce quantitative comparisons of interventions and scarce comparisons against experimental controls preclude strong inference about the effectiveness of methods. For wise investment of public resources in protecting livestock and carnivores, evidence of effectiveness should be a prerequisite to policy making or large-scale funding of any method or, at a minimum, should be measured during implementation. An appropriate evidence base is needed, and we recommend a coalition of scientists and managers be formed to establish and encourage use of consistent standards in future experimental evaluations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2005577DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6143182PMC
September 2018

Differentiating between regulation and hunting as conservation interventions.

Conserv Biol 2019 04 24;33(2):472-475. Epub 2018 Oct 24.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation, P.O. Box 2429, Sidney, British Columbia, V8L 3Y3, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13211DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7379586PMC
April 2019

Mismeasured mortality: correcting estimates of wolf poaching in the United States.

J Mammal 2017 Oct 19;98(5):1256-1264. Epub 2017 May 19.

Project Coyote, 2723 Decker Avenue NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107, USA (DRP).

Measuring rates and causes of mortalities is important in animal ecology and management. Observing the fates of known individuals is a common method of estimating life history variables, including mortality patterns. It has long been assumed that data lost when known animals disappear were unbiased. We test and reject this assumption under conditions common to most, if not all, studies using marked animals. We illustrate the bias for 4 endangered wolf populations in the United States by reanalyzing data and assumptions about the known and unknown fates of marked wolves to calculate the degree to which risks of different causes of death were mismeasured. We find that, when using traditional methods, the relative risk of mortality from legal killing measured as a proportion of all known fates was overestimated by 0.05-0.16 and the relative risk of poaching was underestimated by 0.17-0.44. We show that published government estimates are affected by these biases and, importantly, are underestimating the risk of poaching. The underestimates have obscured the magnitude of poaching as the major threat to endangered wolf populations. We offer methods to correct estimates of mortality risk for marked animals of any taxon and describe the conditions under which traditional methods produce more or less bias. We also show how correcting past and future estimates of mortality parameters can address uncertainty about wildlife populations and increase the predictability and sustainability of wildlife management interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyx052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6093422PMC
October 2017

Author Correction: Intergenerational equity can help to prevent climate change and extinction.

Nat Ecol Evol 2018 05;2(5):910

School of Law, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, 97403, USA.

The original Article mistakenly coded the constitutional rights of Australia as containing a governmental duty to protect the environment (blue in the figures); this has been corrected to containing no explicit mention of environmental protection (orange in the figures). The original Article also neglected to code the constitutional rights of the Cayman Islands (no data; yellow in the figures); this has been corrected to containing a governmental duty to protect the environment (blue in the figures).Although no inferences changed as a result of these errors, many values changed slightly and have been corrected. The proportion of the world's nations having constitutional rights to a healthy environment changed from 75% to 74%. The proportions of nations in different categories given in the Fig. 1 caption all changed except purple countries (3.1%): green countries changed from 47.2% to 46.9%; blue countries changed from 24.4% to 24.2%; and orange countries changed from 25.3% to 25.8%. The proportion of the global atmospheric CO emitted by the 144 nations changed from 72.6% to 74.4%; the proportion of the world's population represented by the 144 nations changed from 84.9% to 85%. The values of annual average CO emissions for blue countries changed from 363,000 Gg to 353,000 Gg and for orange countries from 195,000 Gg to 201,000 Gg. The proportion of threatened mammals endemic to a single country represented by the 144 countries changed from 91% to 84%. Figures 1-3 have been updated to show the correct values and map colours and the Supplementary Information has been updated to give the correct country codes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0512-8DOI Listing
May 2018

Hallmarks of science missing from North American wildlife management.

Sci Adv 2018 03 7;4(3):eaao0167. Epub 2018 Mar 7.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation, P.O. Box 2429, Sidney, British Columbia V8L 3Y3, Canada.

Resource management agencies commonly defend controversial policy by claiming adherence to science-based approaches. For example, proponents and practitioners of the "North American Model of Wildlife Conservation," which guides hunting policy across much of the United States and Canada, assert that science plays a central role in shaping policy. However, what that means is rarely defined. We propose a framework that identifies four fundamental hallmarks of science relevant to natural resource management (measurable objectives, evidence, transparency, and independent review) and test for their presence in hunt management plans created by 62 U.S. state and Canadian provincial and territorial agencies across 667 management systems (species-jurisdictions). We found that most (60%) systems contained fewer than half of the indicator criteria assessed, with more criteria detected in systems that were peer-reviewed, that pertained to "big game," and in jurisdictions at increasing latitudes. These results raise doubt about the purported scientific basis of hunt management across the United States and Canada. Our framework provides guidance for adopting a science-based approach to safeguard not only wildlife but also agencies from potential social, legal, and political conflict.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aao0167DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5842039PMC
March 2018

Political populations of large carnivores.

Conserv Biol 2018 06 24;32(3):747-749. Epub 2018 Jan 24.

Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE - 73091, Riddarhyttan, Sweden.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13065DOI Listing
June 2018

Killing wolves to prevent predation on livestock may protect one farm but harm neighbors.

PLoS One 2018 10;13(1):e0189729. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Carnivore Coexistence Lab, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.

Large carnivores, such as gray wolves, Canis lupus, are difficult to protect in mixed-use landscapes because some people perceive them as dangerous and because they sometimes threaten human property and safety. Governments may respond by killing carnivores in an effort to prevent repeated conflicts or threats, although the functional effectiveness of lethal methods has long been questioned. We evaluated two methods of government intervention following independent events of verified wolf predation on domestic animals (depredation) in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA between 1998-2014, at three spatial scales. We evaluated two intervention methods using log-rank tests and conditional Cox recurrent event, gap time models based on retrospective analyses of the following quasi-experimental treatments: (1) selective killing of wolves by trapping near sites of verified depredation, and (2) advice to owners and haphazard use of non-lethal methods without wolf-killing. The government did not randomly assign treatments and used a pseudo-control (no removal of wolves was not a true control), but the federal permission to intervene lethally was granted and rescinded independent of events on the ground. Hazard ratios suggest lethal intervention was associated with an insignificant 27% lower risk of recurrence of events at trapping sites, but offset by an insignificant 78% increase in risk of recurrence at sites up to 5.42 km distant in the same year, compared to the non-lethal treatment. Our results do not support the hypothesis that Michigan's use of lethal intervention after wolf depredations was effective for reducing the future risk of recurrence in the vicinities of trapping sites. Examining only the sites of intervention is incomplete because neighbors near trapping sites may suffer the recurrence of depredations. We propose two new hypotheses for perceived effectiveness of lethal methods: (a) killing predators may be perceived as effective because of the benefits to a small minority of farmers, and (b) if neighbors experience side-effects of lethal intervention such as displaced depredations, they may perceive the problem growing and then demand more lethal intervention rather than detecting problems spreading from the first trapping site. Ethical wildlife management guided by the "best scientific and commercial data available" would suggest suspending the standard method of trapping wolves in favor of non-lethal methods (livestock guarding dogs or fladry) that have been proven effective in preventing livestock losses in Michigan and elsewhere.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0189729PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5761834PMC
January 2018

Reply to comments by Olson . 2017 and Stien 2017.

Proc Biol Sci 2017 11;284(1867)

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, 30A Science Hall, 550 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.1743DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719172PMC
November 2017

Defending the scientific integrity of conservation-policy processes.

Conserv Biol 2017 10 25;31(5):967-975. Epub 2017 Jul 25.

Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, 4072, Australia.

Government agencies faced with politically controversial decisions often discount or ignore scientific information, whether from agency staff or nongovernmental scientists. Recent developments in scientific integrity (the ability to perform, use, communicate, and publish science free from censorship or political interference) in Canada, Australia, and the United States demonstrate a similar trajectory. A perceived increase in scientific-integrity abuses provokes concerted pressure by the scientific community, leading to efforts to improve scientific-integrity protections under a new administration. However, protections are often inconsistently applied and are at risk of reversal under administrations publicly hostile to evidence-based policy. We compared recent challenges to scientific integrity to determine what aspects of scientific input into conservation policy are most at risk of political distortion and what can be done to strengthen safeguards against such abuses. To ensure the integrity of outbound communications from government scientists to the public, we suggest governments strengthen scientific integrity policies, include scientists' right to speak freely in collective-bargaining agreements, guarantee public access to scientific information, and strengthen agency culture supporting scientific integrity. To ensure the transparency and integrity with which information from nongovernmental scientists (e.g., submitted comments or formal policy reviews) informs the policy process, we suggest governments broaden the scope of independent reviews, ensure greater diversity of expert input and transparency regarding conflicts of interest, require a substantive response to input from agencies, and engage proactively with scientific societies. For their part, scientists and scientific societies have a responsibility to engage with the public to affirm that science is a crucial resource for developing evidence-based policy and regulations in the public interest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12958DOI Listing
October 2017

Risk map for wolf threats to livestock still predictive 5 years after construction.

PLoS One 2017 30;12(6):e0180043. Epub 2017 Jun 30.

Carnivore Coexistence Lab, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.

Risk maps are spatial models of environmental hazards such as predation on livestock. We tested the long-term validity of a published risk map built from locations where Wisconsin wolves attacked livestock from 1999-2006. Using data collected after model construction, we verified the predictive accuracy of the risk map exceeded 91% for the period 2007-2011. Predictive power lasting 5 years or more substantiates the claim that risk maps are both valid and verified tools for anticipating spatial hazards. Classification errors coincided with verifier uncertainty about which wolves might be responsible. Perceived threats by wolves to domestic animals were not as well predicted (82%) as verified attacks had been and errors in classification coincided with incidents involved domestic animals other than bovids and verifier uncertainty about which wolves were involved. We recommend risk maps be used to target interventions selectively at high-risk sites.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180043PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5493348PMC
October 2017

Saving the World's Terrestrial Megafauna.

Bioscience 2016 Oct 27;66(10):807-812. Epub 2016 Jul 27.

William J. Ripple Robert L. Beschta, Michael Paul Nelson, Luke Painter Christopher Wolf, and Thomas M. Newsome are affiliated with the Global Trophic Cascades Program of the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University, in Corvallis; TMN is also with the Desert Ecology Research Group of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, in Australia; the Centre for Integrative Ecology at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin University, in Geelong, Australia; and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, at the University of Washington, in Seattle. Guillaume Chapron is affiliated with the Department of Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, in Riddarhyttan. José Vicente López-Bao is with the Research Unit of Biodiversity at Oviedo University, in Mieres, Spain. Sarah M. Durant and Rosie Woodroffe are with the Institute of Zoology at the Zoological Society of London, Regents Park. David W. Macdonald and Amy J. Dickman are with the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford and the Recanati-Kaplan Centre, in Abingdon, United Kingdom. Peter A. Lindsey and Luke T. B. Hunter are affiliated with Panthera, in New York. PAL is also affiliated with the Mammal Research Institute of the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria, in Gauteng, South Africa; and LTBH is also affiliated with the School of Life Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. Elizabeth L. Bennett, Simon Hedges, and Fiona Maisels are affiliated with the Wildlife Conservation Society, in New York; FM is also with the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Stirling, in the United Kingdom. Holly T. Dublin is affiliated with IUCN Species Survival Commission's African Elephant Specialist Group at the IUCN Eastern and Southern African Regional Office in Nairobi, Kenya. Jeremy T. Bruskotter is affiliated with the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University, in Columbus. Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz is with the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. Richard T. Corlett is affiliated with the Center for Integrative Conservation of the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Menglun, Yunnan, China. Chris T. Darimont is with the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, in British Columbia, Canada. Rodolfo Dirzo is affiliated with the Department of Biology at Stanford University, in California. James A. Estes is with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, in Santa Cruz. Kristoffer T. Everatt, Matt W. Hayward, and Graham I. H. Kerley are affiliated with the Centre for African Conservation Ecology at Nelson Mandela University, in Port Elizabeth, South Africa; MWH is also with the School of Biological Science and the School of Environment, Natural Resources, and Geography at Bangor University, in Gwynedd, United Kingdom, and the Centre for Wildlife Management at the University of Pretoria, in South Africa. Mauro Galetti is affiliated with the Departamento de Ecologia at the Universidade Estadual Paulista, in Rio Claro, Brazil. Varun R. Goswami is with the Wildlife Conservation Society, India Program, in Bangalore, India. Michael Hoffmann is with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, in Gland, Switzerland. Mike Letnic is affiliated with the Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia. Taal Levi is affiliated with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, in Corvallis. John C. Morrison is affiliated with the World Wildlife Fund-US, in Hope, Maine. Robert M. Pringle is affiliated with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, in New Jersey. Christopher J. Sandom is with the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex, in Brighton, United Kingdom. John Terborgh is affiliated with the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. Adrian Treves is with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison. Blaire Van Valkenburgh is affiliated with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles. John A. Vucetich is with the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University, in Houghton. Aaron J. Wirsing is with the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington, in Seattle. Arian D. Wallach is with the Centre for Compassionate Conservation in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Technology, in Sydney, Australia. Hillary Young is affiliated with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Li Zhang is affiliated with the Institute of Ecology at the Beijing Normal University, in PR China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biw092DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5421308PMC
October 2016

Reply to comment by Pepin . 2017.

Proc Biol Sci 2017 03 22;284(1851). Epub 2017 Mar 22.

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, 30A Science Hall, 550 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.2571DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5378082PMC
March 2017

Gray wolf mortality patterns in Wisconsin from 1979 to 2012.

J Mammal 2017 Feb 2;98(1):17-32. Epub 2017 Feb 2.

Carnivore Coexistence Lab, 30A Science Hall, 550 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA (MFR).

Starting in the 1970s, many populations of large-bodied mammalian carnivores began to recover from centuries of human-caused eradication and habitat destruction. The recovery of several such populations has since slowed or reversed due to mortality caused by humans. Illegal killing (poaching) is a primary cause of death in many carnivore populations. Law enforcement agencies face difficulties in preventing poaching and scientists face challenges in measuring it. Both challenges are exacerbated when evidence is concealed or ignored. We present data on deaths of 937 Wisconsin gray wolves () from October 1979 to April 2012 during a period in which wolves were recolonizing historic range mainly under federal government protection. We found and partially remedied sampling and measurement biases in the source data by reexamining necropsy reports and reconstructing the numbers and causes of some wolf deaths that were never reported. From 431 deaths and disappearances of radiocollared wolves aged > 7.5 months, we estimated human causes accounted for two-thirds of reported and reconstructed deaths, including poaching in 39-45%, vehicle collisions in 13%, legal killing by state agents in 6%, and nonhuman causes in 36-42%. Our estimate of poaching remained an underestimate because of persistent sources of uncertainty and systematic underreporting. Unreported deaths accounted for over two-thirds of all mortality annually among wolves > 7.5 months old. One-half of all poached wolves went unreported, or > 80% of poached wolves not being monitored by radiotelemetry went unreported. The annual mortality rate averaged 18% ± 10% for monitored wolves but 47% ± 19% for unmonitored wolves. That difference appeared to be due largely to radiocollaring being concentrated in the core areas of wolf range, as well as higher rates of human-caused mortality in the periphery of wolf range. We detected an average 4% decline in wolf population growth in the last 5 years of the study. Because our estimates of poaching risk and overall mortality rate exceeded official estimates after 2012, we present all data for transparency and replication. More recent additions of public hunting quotas after 2012 appear unsustainable without effective curtailment of poaching. Effective antipoaching enforcement will require more accurate estimates of poaching rate, location, and timing than currently available. Independent scientific review of methods and data will improve antipoaching policies for large carnivore conservation, especially for controversial species facing high levels of human-induced mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyw145DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5901075PMC
February 2017

A conceptual framework for understanding illegal killing of large carnivores.

Ambio 2017 Apr 16;46(3):251-264. Epub 2016 Nov 16.

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 30A Science, Madison, WI, USA.

The growing complexity and global nature of wildlife poaching threaten the survival of many species worldwide and are outpacing conservation efforts. Here, we reviewed proximal and distal factors, both social and ecological, driving illegal killing or poaching of large carnivores at sites where it can potentially occur. Through this review, we developed a conceptual social-ecological system framework that ties together many of the factors influencing large carnivore poaching. Unlike most conservation action models, an important attribute of our framework is the integration of multiple factors related to both human motivations and animal vulnerability into feedbacks. We apply our framework to two case studies, tigers in Laos and wolverines in northern Sweden, to demonstrate its utility in disentangling some of the complex features of carnivore poaching that may have hindered effective responses to the current poaching crisis. Our framework offers a common platform to help guide future research on wildlife poaching feedbacks, which has hitherto been lacking, in order to effectively inform policy making and enforcement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-016-0852-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5347529PMC
April 2017

Humanity's Dual Response to Dogs and Wolves.

Trends Ecol Evol 2016 07 13;31(7):489-491. Epub 2016 May 13.

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, 30A Science Hall, 550 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA; Department of Ecosystems and the Environment, School of Agriculture and Forestry Engineering, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Casilla 306, Correo 22 Santiago, Chile.

Dogs were first domesticated 31 000-41 000 years ago. Humanity has experienced ecological costs and benefits from interactions with dogs and wolves. We propose that humans inherited a dual response of attraction or aversion that expresses itself independently to domestic and wild canids. The dual response has had far-reaching consequences for the ecology and evolution of all three taxa, including today's global 'ecological paw print' of 1 billion dogs and recent eradications of wolves.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2016.04.006DOI Listing
July 2016

Blood does not buy goodwill: allowing culling increases poaching of a large carnivore.

Proc Biol Sci 2016 05;283(1830)

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, 30A Science Hall, 550 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA

Quantifying environmental crime and the effectiveness of policy interventions is difficult because perpetrators typically conceal evidence. To prevent illegal uses of natural resources, such as poaching endangered species, governments have advocated granting policy flexibility to local authorities by liberalizing culling or hunting of large carnivores. We present the first quantitative evaluation of the hypothesis that liberalizing culling will reduce poaching and improve population status of an endangered carnivore. We show that allowing wolf (Canis lupus) culling was substantially more likely to increase poaching than reduce it. Replicated, quasi-experimental changes in wolf policies in Wisconsin and Michigan, USA, revealed that a repeated policy signal to allow state culling triggered repeated slowdowns in wolf population growth, irrespective of the policy implementation measured as the number of wolves killed. The most likely explanation for these slowdowns was poaching and alternative explanations found no support. When the government kills a protected species, the perceived value of each individual of that species may decline; so liberalizing wolf culling may have sent a negative message about the value of wolves or acceptability of poaching. Our results suggest that granting management flexibility for endangered species to address illegal behaviour may instead promote such behaviour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.2939DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4874699PMC
May 2016

Predators and the public trust.

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 2017 Feb 3;92(1):248-270. Epub 2015 Nov 3.

School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, 379D Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Rd., Columbus, OH 43210, U.S.A.

Many democratic governments recognize a duty to conserve environmental resources, including wild animals, as a public trust for current and future citizens. These public trust principles have informed two centuries of U.S.A. Supreme Court decisions and environmental laws worldwide. Nevertheless numerous populations of large-bodied, mammalian carnivores (predators) were eradicated in the 20th century. Environmental movements and strict legal protections have fostered predator recoveries across the U.S.A. and Europe since the 1970s. Now subnational jurisdictions are regaining management authority from central governments for their predator subpopulations. Will the history of local eradication repeat or will these jurisdictions adopt public trust thinking and their obligation to broad public interests over narrower ones? We review the role of public trust principles in the restoration and preservation of controversial species. In so doing we argue for the essential roles of scientists from many disciplines concerned with biological diversity and its conservation. We look beyond species endangerment to future generations' interests in sustainability, particularly non-consumptive uses. Although our conclusions apply to all wild organisms, we focus on predators because of the particular challenges they pose for government trustees, trust managers, and society. Gray wolves Canis lupus L. deserve particular attention, because detailed information and abundant policy debates across regions have exposed four important challenges for preserving predators in the face of interest group hostility. One challenge is uncertainty and varied interpretations about public trustees' responsibilities for wildlife, which have created a mosaic of policies across jurisdictions. We explore how such mosaics have merits and drawbacks for biodiversity. The other three challenges to conserving wildlife as public trust assets are illuminated by the biology of predators and the interacting behavioural ecologies of humans and predators. The scientific community has not reached consensus on sustainable levels of human-caused mortality for many predator populations. This challenge includes both genuine conceptual uncertainty and exploitation of scientific debate for political gain. Second, human intolerance for predators exposes value conflicts about preferences for some wildlife over others and balancing majority rule with the protection of minorities in a democracy. We examine how differences between traditional assumptions and scientific studies of interactions between people and predators impede evidence-based policy. Even if the prior challenges can be overcome, well-reasoned policy on wild animals faces a greater challenge than other environmental assets because animals and humans change behaviour in response to each other in the short term. These coupled, dynamic responses exacerbate clashes between uses that deplete wildlife and uses that enhance or preserve wildlife. Viewed in this way, environmental assets demand sophisticated, careful accounting by disinterested trustees who can both understand the multidisciplinary scientific measurements of relative costs and benefits among competing uses, and justly balance the needs of all beneficiaries including future generations. Without public trust principles, future trustees will seldom prevail against narrow, powerful, and undemocratic interests. Without conservation informed by public trust thinking predator populations will face repeated cycles of eradication and recovery. Our conclusions have implications for the many subfields of the biological sciences that address environmental trust assets from the atmosphere to aquifers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/brv.12227DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5245106PMC
February 2017

Hunted carnivores at outsized risk.

Science 2015 Oct 29;350(6260):518-9. Epub 2015 Oct 29.

Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 73091, Riddarhyttan, Sweden. Research Unit of Biodiversity (UO/CSIC/PA), Oviedo University, 33600, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.350.6260.518-aDOI Listing
October 2015

Ecology. Tolerance for predatory wildlife.

Science 2014 May;344(6183):476-7

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1252690DOI Listing
May 2014

Longitudinal analysis of attitudes toward wolves.

Conserv Biol 2013 Apr 7;27(2):315-23. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 550 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, U.S.A.

Understanding individual attitudes and how these predict overt opposition to predator conservation or direct, covert action against predators will help to recover and maintain them. Studies of attitudes toward wild animals rely primarily on samples of individuals at a single time point. We examined longitudinal change in individuals' attitudes toward gray wolves (Canis lupus). In the contiguous United States, amidst persistent controversy and opposition, abundances of gray wolves are at their highest in 60 years. We used mailed surveys to sample 1892 residents of Wisconsin in 2001 or 2004 and then resampled 656 of these individuals who resided in wolf range in 2009. Our study spanned a period of policy shifts and increasing wolf abundance. Over time, the 656 respondents increased agreement with statements reflecting fear of wolves, the belief that wolves compete with hunters for deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and inclination to poach a wolf. Endorsement of lethal control of wolves by the state and public hunting of wolves also increased. Neither the time span over which respondents reported exposure to wolves locally nor self-reported losses of domestic animals to wolves correlated with changes in attitude. We predict future increases in legal and illegal killing of wolves that may reduce their abundance in Wisconsin unless interventions are implemented to improve attitudes and behavior toward wolves. To assess whether interventions change attitudes, longitudinal studies like ours are needed. Análisis Longitudinal de las Actitudes Hacia Lobos.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12009DOI Listing
April 2013