Monday 21 December 2015

Carnivore hunting policy and science don't align, researchers find

Date: December 18, 2015
Source: University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

An international group of biologists say that policies regulating the hunting of large carnivores do not always align with basic scientific data, which can undermine conservation efforts.

The team, which includes University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Abess Center biologist Neil Hammerschlag, found that current harvest levels for the recently de-listed population of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States have led to decreased survival and reproduction, smaller packs, social disruption and a reversal from population growth to decline.

The research team includes scientists with decades of experience studying wolves, lions, African wild dogs, tigers, dingoes and sharks. They reported their findings in the Dec. 18 issue of the journal Science.

"While regulated carnivore hunting can potentially minimize human-wildlife conflict and provide revenue for conservation, it can also drive population declines of threatened species," said marine predator expert Neil Hammerschlag, of the UM Rosenstiel School and UM Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy. "Well-regulated hunting of predators needs to be guided by strong science and consider both the costs and benefits for conservation."

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