Special Issue "Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2015).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kate Littin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Animal Welfare, Regulation & Assurance, Ministry for Primary Industries, P.O. Box 2526, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
Interests: animal welfare policy and standards; vertebrate pest management; animal welfare; humane endpoints
Dr. Trudy Sharp
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station, Centre of Ecosystem Science, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia
Interests: animal welfare (particularly wildlife and pest animals), behavioural science, assessment of animal welfare impacts, humane slaughter methods
Prof. Ngaio Beausoleil
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Interests: animal welfare; welfare assessment; pain; breathlessness; dyspnoea; wildlife welfare; animal behaviour; conservation welfare

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The management of unwanted wildlife brings with it significant challenges for the people and animals involved. It is complicated for having intentional and unintentional, and direct and indirect, impacts – many of which we don’t fully understand or take into account. Understanding these challenges, and balancing the competing community, animal and environmental interests, is necessary for the ongoing effective and acceptable management of these animals.

We would like to invite original articles addressing these dimensions of the management of unwanted wildlife and vertebrate pests. Articles are particularly welcome on:

  • the impacts of control and management techniques
  • aspects of human-animal interaction including attitudes to animals, their control and particular techniques
  • balancing social, economic, environmental and animal welfare aspects when managing unwanted wildlife
  • practical solutions for incorporating animal welfare considerations into control and management programs
  • considering animal welfare and wildlife management in the context of conservation
  • alternative management strategies for pest animal species e.g. commercial and recreational hunting and fishing
  • development and impacts of new technologies, and
  • challenges for managing unwanted wildlife and vertebrate pests into the future

Dr. Kate Littin
Dr. Trudy Sharp
Dr. Ngaio Beausoleil
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • vertebrate pest management
  • wildlife management
  • animal welfare
  • human-wildlife conflict
  • ethics

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Moles and Mole Control on British Farms, Amenities and Gardens after Strychnine Withdrawal
Animals 2016, 6(6), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6060039 - 08 Jun 2016
Cited by 2
Abstract
Moles are considered pests in Britain, but this issue has been little studied. Lower welfare standards have been tolerated for moles than for most other managed wild mammal species, as use of both the controversial poison, strychnine, and unregulated traps have been permitted. [...] Read more.
Moles are considered pests in Britain, but this issue has been little studied. Lower welfare standards have been tolerated for moles than for most other managed wild mammal species, as use of both the controversial poison, strychnine, and unregulated traps have been permitted. Strychnine was withdrawn in 2006 and there were fears that mole populations would increase as a result. In 2007, we conducted a comprehensive, nationwide survey of land manager perceptions, opinions and behaviour regarding moles and mole control on farms, amenities and domestic gardens in Britain. We surveyed 2150 land managers (achieving a 59% response rate) and ground-truthed 29 responses. Moles were reported to be present on most farms and amenities, and 13% of gardens, and were more common in lighter soils. Where present, moles were usually considered pests, this being more likely in Wales, Scotland and northern England, on livestock and mixed farms, and on large, high-value amenities, e.g., racecourses and golf courses. Mole control followed similar patterns to mole presence. More control may occur than is economically, and therefore potentially ethically, justified. Control should be more carefully considered and, where necessary, more effectively targeted. Kill-trapping was the favoured recent and future method on farms and amenities, even if strychnine was to be reintroduced; however, because mole traps are currently unregulated, some might not meet current welfare standards if tested. We found no evidence for an increase in moles since a farm questionnaire survey conducted in 1992; this could have wider implications for future wildlife management policy changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Welfare Impacts of Pindone Poisoning in Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
Animals 2016, 6(3), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6030019 - 26 Feb 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Control methods used to manage unwanted impacts of the European rabbit in Australia and New Zealand include the use of toxic bait containing the anticoagulant pindone. Towards increased certainty in evaluating the animal welfare impacts of pindone poisoning in rabbits, we recorded behavioral [...] Read more.
Control methods used to manage unwanted impacts of the European rabbit in Australia and New Zealand include the use of toxic bait containing the anticoagulant pindone. Towards increased certainty in evaluating the animal welfare impacts of pindone poisoning in rabbits, we recorded behavioral and post-mortem data from rabbits which ingested lethal quantities of pindone bait in a laboratory trial. Pindone poisoning in rabbits resulted in welfare compromise, primarily through functional impairments related to internal haemorrhage over a maximum duration of 7 days. Applying this data to a formal assessment framework for ranking animal welfare impacts indicated that pindone had relatively high severity and also duration of welfare impacts in comparison to other rabbit control methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Finding the Balance: Fertility Control for the Management of Fragmented Populations of a Threatened Rock-Wallaby Species
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1329-1344; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040414 - 16 Dec 2015
Cited by 4
Abstract
Populations of Australian marsupials can become overabundant, resulting in detrimental impacts on the environment. For example, the threatened black-flanked rock-wallaby ( Petrogale lateralis lateralis ) has previously been perceived as overabundant and thus ‘unwanted’ when they graze crops and cause habitat degradation. Hormonally-induced [...] Read more.
Populations of Australian marsupials can become overabundant, resulting in detrimental impacts on the environment. For example, the threatened black-flanked rock-wallaby ( Petrogale lateralis lateralis ) has previously been perceived as overabundant and thus ‘unwanted’ when they graze crops and cause habitat degradation. Hormonally-induced fertility control has been increasingly used to manage population size in other marsupials where alternative management options are not viable. We tested whether deslorelin, a superagonist of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), would suppress reproduction in free-living adult female rock-wallabies without adversely impacting body condition. We trapped, synchronised reproduction and allocated female rock-wallabies to a placebo implant (control, n = 22), one (n = 22) or two (n = 20) subcutaneous implants of deslorelin. Females were then recaptured over the following 36 months to monitor reproduction, including Luteinising Hormone levels, and body condition. Following treatment, diapaused blastocysts reactivated in five females and the resulting young were carried through to weaning. No wallabies treated with deslorelin, conceivede a new young for at least 27 months. We did not observe adverse effects on body condition on treated females. We conclude that deslorelin implants are effective for the medium-term suppression of reproduction in female black-flanked rock-wallabies and for managing overabundant populations of some marsupials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
The Efficiency of an Integrated Program Using Falconry to Deter Gulls from Landfills
Animals 2015, 5(2), 214-225; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5020214 - 10 Apr 2015
Cited by 2
Abstract
Gulls are commonly attracted to landfills, and managers are often required to implement cost-effective and socially accepted deterrence programs. Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of an intensive program that integrated the use of trained birds of prey, pyrotechnics, and playback of [...] Read more.
Gulls are commonly attracted to landfills, and managers are often required to implement cost-effective and socially accepted deterrence programs. Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of an intensive program that integrated the use of trained birds of prey, pyrotechnics, and playback of gull distress calls at a landfill located close to a large ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis) colony near Montreal, Quebec, Canada. We used long-term survey data on bird use of the landfill, conducted behavioral observations of gulls during one season and tracked birds fitted with GPS data loggers. We also carried out observations at another landfill located farther from the colony, where less refuse was brought and where a limited culling program was conducted. The integrated program based on falconry resulted in a 98% decrease in the annual total number of gulls counted each day between 1995 and 2014. A separate study indicated that the local breeding population of ring-billed gulls increased and then declined during this period but remained relatively large. In 2010, there was an average (±SE) of 59 ± 15 gulls/day using the site with falconry and only 0.4% ± 0.2% of these birds were feeding. At the other site, there was an average of 347 ± 55 gulls/day and 13% ± 3% were feeding. Twenty-two gulls tracked from the colony made 41 trips towards the landfills: twenty-five percent of the trips that passed by the site with falconry resulted in a stopover that lasted 22 ± 7 min compared to 85% at the other landfill lasting 63 ± 15 min. We concluded that the integrated program using falconry, which we consider more socially acceptable than selective culling, was effective in reducing the number of gulls at the landfill. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Wildlife in U.S. Cities: Managing Unwanted Animals
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1092-1113; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040401 - 11 Nov 2015
Cited by 9
Abstract
Conflicts between people and wild animals in cities are undoubtedly as old as urban living itself. In the United States it is only of late, however, that many of the species now found in cities have come to live there. The increasing kind [...] Read more.
Conflicts between people and wild animals in cities are undoubtedly as old as urban living itself. In the United States it is only of late, however, that many of the species now found in cities have come to live there. The increasing kind and number of human-wildlife conflicts in urbanizing environments makes it a priority that effective and humane means of conflict resolution be found. The urban public wants conflicts with wildlife resolved humanely, but needs to know what the alternative management approaches are, and what ethical standards should guide their use. This paper examines contemporary urban wildlife control in the United States with a focus on the moral concerns this raises. Much of the future for urban wildlife will depend on reform in governance, but much as well will depend on cultural changes that promote greater respect and understanding for wild animals and the biotic communities of which they and we are both a part. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
Open AccessReview
Is Wildlife Fertility Control Always Humane?
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1047-1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040398 - 21 Oct 2015
Cited by 12
Abstract
Investigation of fertility control techniques to reduce reproductive rates in wildlife populations has been the source of much research. Techniques targeting wildlife fertility have been diverse. Most research into fertility control methods has focused upon efficacy, with few studies rigorously assessing animal welfare [...] Read more.
Investigation of fertility control techniques to reduce reproductive rates in wildlife populations has been the source of much research. Techniques targeting wildlife fertility have been diverse. Most research into fertility control methods has focused upon efficacy, with few studies rigorously assessing animal welfare beyond opportunistic anecdote. However, fertility control techniques represent several very different mechanisms of action (modalities), each with their own different animal welfare risks. We provide a review of the mechanisms of action for fertility control methods, and consider the role of manipulation of reproductive hormones (“endocrine suppression”) for the long-term ability of animals to behave normally. We consider the potential welfare costs of animal manipulation techniques that are required to administer fertility treatments, including capture, restraint, surgery and drug delivery, and the requirement for repeated administration within the lifetime of an animal. We challenge the assumption that fertility control modalities generate similar and desirable animal welfare outcomes, and we argue that knowledge of reproductive physiology and behaviour should be more adeptly applied to wild animal management decisions. We encourage wildlife managers to carefully assess long-term behavioural risks, associated animal handling techniques, and the importance of positive welfare states when selecting fertility control methods as a means of population control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
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Other

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Open AccessCase Report
Predator Bounties in Western Canada Cause Animal Suffering and Compromise Wildlife Conservation Efforts
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1034-1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040397 - 19 Oct 2015
Cited by 3
Abstract
Although predation bounty programs (rewards offered for capturing or killing an animal) ended more than 40 years ago in Canada, they were reintroduced in Alberta in 2007 by hunting, trapping, and farming organizations, municipalities and counties, and in 2009 in Saskatchewan, by municipal [...] Read more.
Although predation bounty programs (rewards offered for capturing or killing an animal) ended more than 40 years ago in Canada, they were reintroduced in Alberta in 2007 by hunting, trapping, and farming organizations, municipalities and counties, and in 2009 in Saskatchewan, by municipal and provincial governments and the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association. Bounty hunters use inhumane and non-selective killing methods such as shooting animals in non-vital regions, and killing neck snares and strychnine poisoning, which cause suffering and delayed deaths. They are unselective, and kill many non-target species, some of them at risk. Predator bounty programs have been found to be ineffective by wildlife professionals, and they use killing methods that cause needless suffering and jeopardize wildlife conservation programs. Our analysis therefore indicates that government agencies should not permit the implementation of bounty programs. Accordingly, they must develop conservation programs that will minimize wildlife-human conflicts, prevent the unnecessary and inhumane killing of animals, and ensure the persistence of all wildlife species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
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