Current Societal Views about Sustainable Wildlife Management and Conservation: A Survey of College Students in China
College of Wildlife and Protected Area, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, China
Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Environment, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NR, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 August 2020
Revised: 28 September 2020
Accepted: 2 October 2020
Published: 6 October 2020
Wildlife conservation and management has become a very complex public policy issue in China as concerns about animal welfare and empathy for animals have emerged, especially in the younger generation. Science-based conservation policy and strategy that focus on sustainable management are perceived as less irrelevant today and can often be in conflict with emerging attitudes and values. Sustainable wildlife management adheres to the conservation concept of effective combination of species conservation and sustainable utilization, with an aim to establish a long-acting species conservation model that promotes all-round development of ecology, society, and economy, and has traditionally formed the basis of conservation management. This study designed a semi-structured questionnaire, which aimed to assess attitudes of Chinese college students towards sustainable wildlife management and wildlife conservation, and investigate the role of demographic and other characteristics on attitude. From October 2018 to April 2019, nine universities (including “Double First-Class” universities, first-tier universities, second-tier universities), and four three-year colleges in China were selected as survey sites, where face-to-face interviews were conducted among students. The results show that students broadly support the sustainable wildlife management but not in issues relating to “Animal Welfare and Rights” and “Trophy Hunting”. Students with lowest support for the theory and practice of sustainable wildlife management are vegetarians, freshmen, and those who have taken environmental protection electives in their educational program.