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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Vertebrates: A resource needing management

  • Author(s): Spencer, Donald A.
  • et al.

In this keynote address, a case is made for continued effort at finding new and improved ways to manage vertebrate pest problems in increasingly man-modified environments. However, this is met with objections by those promote a hands-off philosophy: “Leave Nature to her own devices.” The author lists four basic needs for managing vertebrate populations: 1) Certain vertebrate post imminent hazards, because of their lethal defense mechanisms or their role as disease vectors; 2) Wildlife competes with man for food, in terms of growing crops or stored foods; 3) Vertebrates frequently require management of their populations for their own benefit; and 4) Vertebrate populations require control when they get out-of-balance and exert adverse effects on associated species that man is endeavoring to perpetuate. The author discusses examples and case histories from throughout North America, noting that societal attitudes toward animal control and pesticides are changing, and the credibility of professionals in wildlife management is sometimes challenged or lost to environmental emotions.

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