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Thursday, 8 September 2011

animal behavior and wild life conservation

why animal behavior is important for conservation

General Introduction:

Many of the species with whom we share our planet are going extinct
because we overexploit them or destroy their habitat (Ehrlich and Wilson
1991, Caughley 1994). Species extinction and habitat destruction have an immediate
impact upon many economic and social activities because various
uses of wildlife provide income, enjoyment, or recreation for millions of
people (Geist 1994). It is therefore not surprising that interest in the conservation
of biodiversity is increasing among the general public as well as
among behavioral ecologists who study wild animals and their environment.
Two related disciplines, wildlife conservation and wildlife management,
use ethological knowledge to limit the impact of humans on ecosystems.
Wildlife conservation is concerned with the preservation of species and their
habitat in the face of threats from human development. Wildlife management,
including fisheries management, seeks sustainable strategies to exploit
wild species while ensuring their persistence and availability for future use.
Ideally, these strategies should also not damage components of the ecosystem
other than the exploited species. Although the distinction between the two
disciplines is often blurred, wildlife management is often oriented toward
specific objectives for one or a few species of economic interest. The goals of
conservation are broader and include the preservation of genetic diversity so

PART I—Why Animal Behavior Is Important for Conservation
that species will maintain their ability to evolve in response to environmental

change. Recently, however, wildlife conservation and management are
coalescing into a single discipline. Management is often a component of
conservation strategies (for example, limited sport harvest of some highprofile
species can be used to generate funds for habitat preservation [Lewis
and Alpert 1997]), and the conservation of genetic diversity or interpopulation
connectivity is often a goal of wildlife management. For simplicity, we will
use the term management in this introduction to refer both to situations
where wild animals are the subject of some form of exploitative management,
and to situations where they are of concern because they are at risk of
Regardless of how one defines wildlife management or wildlife conservation,
however, practical application of these terms inevitably involves the consideration
of both animal and human behavior. This book explores how
knowledge of animal behavior can help prevent species extinction and
sustainably exploit wildlife populations. It is clear to us, however, that human
behavior plays a far greater role than animal behavior in both conservation
and management.

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