Episode 332: A shot in the dark

The word science is often used as a shield when discussing wildlife policies, particularly management of predators in relation to depredation. Whether it’s governments, lobbyists for hunters and trappers, or even some wildlife protection advocates, the word can get flung around so much you’d think there’s an endless well of studies on the subject.

But there’s a surprisingly small amount of reliable research available – and much of what has been published in journals has significant flaws. That means that, to paraphrase the title of the study we’re discussing today, wildlife management becomes a shot in the dark.

Dr. Adrian Treves of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with his coauthors, published a study earlier this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment that looks at the existing science on this subject. Titled Predator Management Should Not Be a Shot in the Dark, Treves and his team reviewed the majority of available studies on the effectiveness of depredation, and their shocking findings led them to recommend a suspension of all “lethal predator control methods that do not currently have rigorous evidence for functional effectiveness in preventing livestock loss until gold-standard tests are completed.”

To talk about his study, the research, and the ramifications he and his team may face for going against the status quo, Defender Radio was joined by Dr. Adrian Treves.

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