A national assessment of wildlife information transfer to the public



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Texas A&M University


A self-administered questionnaire was developed using the Tailored Design Method (Dillman 2000) to assess how information about wildlife, beyond traditional hunting and fishing issues, was transferred to the public by the five selected governmental agencies: state wildlife management agencies (DNRs), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USDA Wildlife Services (WS), Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The questionnaire addressed agency mission and record-keeping, as well as public demand for information and agency response concerning non-traditional wildlife issues, including: conflicts between humans and wildlife; human health and safety; attracting wildlife; viewing wildlife; general curiosity; and wildlife in distress (i.e., injured, diseased, orphaned).

Respondents said that providing the public with information on wildlife and related issues is a significant part of their mission. Unfortunately, few kept permanent records of their interactions with constituents or had established formal protocols for handling queries about non-traditional wildlife issues. 

Several factors may prevent effective transfer of information about non-traditional wildlife issues to the public, including the historic emphasis on consumptive users. However, collaborative efforts between governmental and non-governmental organizations may prove to be an effective way to respond to public demand.