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A Framework to Evaluate Wildlife Feeding in Research, Wildlife Management, Tourism and Recreation
Animal Welfare Program, University of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 August 2013; in revised form: 27 September 2013 / Accepted: 27 September 2013 / Published: 11 October 2013
Simple Summary: Human feeding of wildlife is a world-wide phenomenon with very diverse effects on conservation, animal welfare and public safety. From a review of the motivations, types and consequences of wildlife feeding, an evaluative framework is presented to assist policy-makers, educators and managers to make ethical- and biologically-based decisions about the appropriateness of feeding wildlife in the context of research, wildlife management, tourism and recreation.
Abstract: Feeding of wildlife occurs in the context of research, wildlife management, tourism and in opportunistic ways. A review of examples shows that although feeding is often motivated by good intentions, it can lead to problems of public safety and conservation and be detrimental to the welfare of the animals. Examples from British Columbia illustrate the problems (nuisance animal activity, public safety risk) and consequences (culling, translocation) that often arise from uncontrolled feeding. Three features of wildlife feeding can be distinguished: the feasibility of control, the effects on conservation and the effects on animal welfare. An evaluative framework incorporating these three features was applied to examples of feeding from the literature. The cases of feeding for research and management purposes were generally found to be acceptable, while cases of feeding for tourism or opportunistic feeding were generally unacceptable. The framework should allow managers and policy-makers to distinguish acceptable from unacceptable forms of wildlife feeding as a basis for policy, public education and enforcement. Many harmful forms of wildlife feeding seem unlikely to change until they come to be seen as socially unacceptable.
Keywords: animal welfare; conservation; framework; harm; intentional feeding; provisioning; public safety; wildlife
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Dubois, S.; Fraser, D. A Framework to Evaluate Wildlife Feeding in Research, Wildlife Management, Tourism and Recreation. Animals 2013, 3, 978-994.
Dubois S, Fraser D. A Framework to Evaluate Wildlife Feeding in Research, Wildlife Management, Tourism and Recreation. Animals. 2013; 3(4):978-994.
Dubois, Sara; Fraser, David. 2013. "A Framework to Evaluate Wildlife Feeding in Research, Wildlife Management, Tourism and Recreation." Animals 3, no. 4: 978-994.