Public Support for Sustainable Commercial Harvesting of Wildlife: An Australian Case Study
This paper surveys a sample of 204 members of the Australian public to determine their attitude to the sustainable commercial harvesting of wildlife generally, and considers their specific support for the sustainable commercial harvesting of each of 24 Australian native species. The general attitude of the sample to wildlife harvesting is related to their attitude to nature conservation. The relationship between respondents’ support for the sustainable commercial harvesting of each of the species and their degree of endangerment based on IUCN Red List rankings is established and found to be an inverse one. Support for the commercial sustainable use of each of the species is compared with the willingness of respondents to pay for their conservation. Support for sustainable commercial harvesting of species is found to be inversely related to the willingness of respondents to pay is for a particular species’ conservation. In turn, this willingness to pay is found to rise with the degree of endangerment of species. While the likeability of a species has some influence on whether there is support or not for its commercial harvesting, it does not seem to be the predominant influence— the degree of endangerment of a species appears to be the major influence here. Even so, this does not imply majority support for the harvest of all species that are not threatened; rather, majority support for harvest was observed only for some species known to be abundant. None of the species that appear in the Red List have majority support for harvesting. Implications are outlined of the results for the policy of promoting wildlife conservation by means of sustainable use.
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