Prioritising cat-owner behaviours for a campaign to reduce wildlife depredation

Linklater, W.L., Farnworth, M.J. ORCID: 0000-0001-6226-0818, van Heezik, Y., Stafford, K.J. and MacDonald, E.A., 2019. Prioritising cat-owner behaviours for a campaign to reduce wildlife depredation. Conservation Science and Practice. ISSN 2578-4854

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Behavior prioritisation is underutilised but critical to the success of conservation campaigns. It provides an understanding of the target audience’s values to transcend conflict and informs the design of achievable and effective advocacy campaigns. Depredation by domestic cats may depress wildlife populations, leading to conflict between cat owners and conservationists. We surveyed veterinarians and cat owners at veterinary clinics to prioritise a list of nine cat-management behaviours. Cat-owner behaviours were ranked by their (i) likelihood of implementation and (ii) current adoption rate by cat owners, (iii) perceived effectiveness at reducing predation on wildlife, and (iv) veterinarians’ opinions about their impact on cat welfare. Bringing cats in at night, from before dusk until after dawn, was revealed to be the behaviour most suited to a campaign to reduce cats’ hunting. Behaviours ranked as more effective for conservation (e.g., 24-hour cat confinement) were unlikely to be adopted by cat owners or not supported by veterinarians, whose expert and normative support may be critical to a campaign. Although more conservation-effective behaviours received a lower priority, we discuss the repeated use of behaviour prioritisation to achieve incremental reductions in cat depredation by engaging with cat owners.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Conservation Science and Practice
Creators: Linklater, W.L., Farnworth, M.J., van Heezik, Y., Stafford, K.J. and MacDonald, E.A.
Publisher: John Wiley
Date: 5 April 2019
ISSN: 2578-4854
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 20 Mar 2019 09:23
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2019 08:17

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