Conservation Communication

Contributed Paper
ROOM: Room 10 – Anasazi

10:30AM The Fisherman and the Fishing Cat: How Coastal Lives Depend on a Wild Cat’s Habitat
Ashwin Naidu; Sujeevan K. Bullard; Mallika Vijayakumar
Many films and videos are meant to entertain people who are influenced in many ways by their viewing experiences. A documentary style film, in general, provides information to the public, educates people, and can bring awareness into the society. As a part of this project, we filmed and produced a documentary on community-based conservation efforts for the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) – an endangered wild cat species, just like the tiger (Panthera tigris), that has not been given as much attention. Our goal with this documentary was to create an exciting story to make people aware of fishing cats and the threats they face due to aquaculture, persecution, and other human developments. We filmed this documentary in undesignated mangroves outside protected areas in the Krishna and Godavari River Deltas in coastal South India, and in wetlands among unprotected forests of people’s backyards near the Gal Oya National Park in Southeast Sri Lanka. We recorded the current status of fishing cats, their sympatric species, and threats to their survival. We recorded field studies on tracking fishing cats, understanding their distribution, and identifying how the livelihoods of local and tribal people depend on areas where fishing cats live. We edited the recorded videos to create a story and presented the film to university students and faculty in South India who helped review it. We are projecting the release of this film to the public in May 2017 in two languages, English and Telugu, and we hope that the film will increase global awareness and educational support to local communities. We believe visual communication-based educational efforts, such as this film, can help enhance citizen stewardship toward monitoring and protecting endangered species, and their globally important habitats.
10:50AM Communicating Conservation: How Biologists Can Use Video to Engage the Public
Corey J. Shaw
Video is an incredibly powerful tool that researchers and managers can use to promote conservation, research, or awareness of environmental issues. There is a great need for scientists to communicate the results of their work in a manner that is relatable and engaging to both the public and policy makers. Members of the public without technical training in the field have difficulty understanding complex scientific messages. This, coupled with a barrage of information clamoring for their attention creates a challenge for establishing a meaningful connection between science and everyday life. The public is influenced by what they see, particularly video. They may not read scientific papers about wildlife management and conservation, but adamantly watch, and learn from, short videos on social media. Video clarifies and simplifies a grander message of why biologists’ work is important. Furthermore, video aids biologists by providing specimen vouchers and revealing short glimpses into behavior and ecology. I introduce a suite of accessible videography tools to help conservation biologists bridge the gap by conveying important scientific messages clearly and concisely for the public and policy makers. I give examples of how amateurs can shoot professional looking video, how GoPros can reveal a unique perspective into environments, and how to easily manage raw video once it’s shot. Utilizing this toolbox helps connect the public to the underlying importance of conservation of natural resources and makes it accessible for all to see.
11:10AM Non-Lead Hunting Education: A Collaborative Solution
Leland Brown
Research over the past several decades has exposed the risk of lead exposure to wildlife when consuming the remains of animals shot with lead ammunition. Particularly acknowledged for the role in mortality of California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus), lead exposure has also been documented as a significant source of mortality in multiple other scavenging raptor species, including Bald (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos). Attempts to address wildlife lead exposure struggle with social acceptance from stakeholder communities. Success depends largely on developing collaborative relationships with diverse stakeholders. In 2015, the Oregon Zoo initiated the Non-lead Hunting Education program, a pilot effort to reduce wildlife lead exposure from ammunition, both in current native wildlife and in preparation for the expected return of California Condors into northern California, with subsequent dispersal north to Oregon. The complicated socio-political status of firearms, hunting, and conservation in the United States drove development of a program focusing on collaboration to encourage behavior change that can withstand both political and management shifts. The diversity of exposure pathways from hunting ammunition highlight the need for an evaluative process that documents the success of program actions along a variety of metrics, not exclusively biological reduction of lead exposure. Documenting changes in human behavior over a complex issue remains challenging and evaluation protocols were developed within the program, tracking both implementation success and behavioral shifts within stakeholder groups. Particular effort was made to develop survey strategies to track outreach impact on intended behavior and knowledge/belief categories that may impact those behaviors. Review of the data gathered through the initial years of program implementation emphasizes the success of the collaborative approach while also reinforcing the need for consistent, long-term engagement with stakeholders.
11:30AM Recent Developments in Midwest Grassland Bird Conservation
Kelly VanBeek; Thomas Will
Grassland bird conservation in the Midwest faces persistent challenges in sustaining the ecological and economic values of grass-based ecosystems. Several recent projects have provided new tools and insights as we continue to expand the horizon of grassland conservation in the Midwest. One such tool is “The Conservation Atlas for Midwest Grasslands,” an online mapping and data-sharing platform, hosted by Data Basin, which organizes spatial information about bird populations, ecosystem services, and conservation opportunities. The Atlas also synthesizes strategic guidance generated by regional and international initiatives and provides a platform for collaborative grassland project development. Another project, a graduate student symposium emphasizing cross-sector collaboration, highlights burgeoning areas of success including innovate agricultural practices such as biofuels derived from native species, and how socioeconomic spatial data can inform conservation planning. Thirdly, focal species planning for Bobolink provides new approaches to regional population objectives and grassland conservation strategies as identified by international partners. A broad network of Midwestern professionals associated with grassland conservation contributed to these projects and serves as a critical component in fostering future collaboration. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program aims to capitalize on network activities to ultimately impact grassland bird populations in the corn-belt region of the United States.
11:50AM Mirror, Mirror: Examining the Reflection of Hunting and Fishing Through Advertisements
Ashley Tanner; Evan Tanner; Samuel Fuhlendorf
Advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry that markets both products and ideas to the general public. While other fields have recognized the influence of marketing, the natural resource fields have generally ignored the impacts of associated advertising. As wildlife and fisheries agencies work to adapt and appeal to a wider audience, advertisements could be sending a different, sometimes subliminal message that agencies may not intend to send, even within their own publications. To further examine the characteristics of advertising in our field, we chose to review advertisements within the 2015, hunting and fishing regulation guides for 49 states. We reviewed 7,518 pages with 3,012 ads. States with less than $19 million (n=17) in license income contained at least twice as many ads per page than higher-grossing states ($20-93 million), suggesting that these states may supplement income with advertisements. Most ads containing people depicted adult males (87.8%), while fewer contained adult females (19.6%) or children of any gender (20.8%), accurately reflecting national gender demographics of hunting and fishing. Males were most often depicted independently or with other adult males (73.9%) in service (e.g. hunting guide) or equipment related advertisements, while adult females were most often depicted with adult males (71.1%) or children of any gender (27.4%) in service or education related advertisements. Children of any gender were most often depicted with males (65.1%), or with other children (34.9%) in organization (e.g. Ducks Unlimited) or tourism related advertisements. Nationally, minority ethnic groups represent 14-6% of fisherman and hunters, however only 4.6% of ads depicted a person of ethnic minority, and were mostly associated with education or organization related advertisements. Our assessment suggests that advertisements are a mirror of the demographics of hunting and fishing, and may be useful in discussions of gender stereotypes and minority representation in the wildlife and fisheries recreation.


Contributed Paper
Location: Albuquerque Convention Center Date: September 26, 2017 Time: 10:30 am - 12:10 pm