The Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell University have been involved in developing a special session for the 77th North American Conference focused on the human dimensions of One Health for Fish and Wildlife Management (wildlife heath, risk perception, wildlife disease, etc.) See below for the official conference announcement. View the SFWA Flier.
Throughout the world, natural resource agencies are increasingly recognizing and contending with links between human and animal health. This realization has prompted numerous agencies and organizations to develop and adopt comprehensive wildlife/human health initiatives, reports the Wildlife Management Institute.
The unfortunate reality facing management agencies is that emerging and persistent zoonotic pathogens (those that can be shared by animals and humans) directly and indirectly threaten the health of wildlife, domestic animals and humans while also posing serious economic, cultural, and natural resource impacts. Furthermore, these diseases and their management place heavy burdens on the financial and human resources of state and federal fish, wildlife and land management agencies. Although this is disconcerting in itself, of equal or greater concern to natural resource professionals is the additive effect of negative public perceptions associated with diseased wildlife populations.
A Special Session at the upcoming 77th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference will address the urgent need to promote public support for wildlife health via effective communication strategies. Titled, “Integrating Human Dimensions Knowledge and Wildlife Health Management,” this Special Session will be held on March 14, 2012, at the North American Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and will spotlight the numerous challenges presented to state and federal agencies regarding public perceptions of wildlife-related health risks and stakeholder expectations for wildlife disease management.
The consequences of not effectively managing wildlife health and its biological/psychological influences on the general public will have far-reaching ramifications for the entire field of natural resource management. If wildlife is primarily viewed as a vector of disease, public support for conservation will likely diminish, as positive values associated with wildlife resources are outweighed by human health fears. At stake is public participation in wildlife-oriented recreation, the credibility of the wildlife profession and the status of wildlife as a valued resource.
Speaking at this Special Session will be experts from state and federal resource management agencies as well as researchers from leading universities who will highlight new research and insights pertinent to strengthening fish and wildlife health-related policies and aiding effective implementation. Specifically, presentations will address use of new analytical tools for assessing wildlife disease risks and developing optimal management solutions; stakeholder attitudes and risk perceptions toward wildlife health management; agency capacity to promote fish and wildlife health; and how the One Health paradigm is being applied to build stakeholder relationships and improve communication around fish and wildlife health.
This Special Session, chaired by Shawn Riley and Shauna Hanisch of Michigan State University, will conclude with an emphasis on how human dimensions inquiry can continue to inform our understanding of wildlife health management and the system within which it operates.