Wildlife feeding in parks: Methods for monitoring the effectiveness of educational interventions and wildlife food attraction behaviors

Jeffrey L. Marion, Robert G. Dvorak, Robert E. Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Opportunities to view and interact with wildlife are often an important part of high quality recreational experiences. Such interactions frequently include wildlife feeding, resulting in food-conditioned behaviors that may cause harm to both wildlife and visitors. This study developed and applied efficient protocols for simultaneously evaluating wildlife feeding-related behaviors of visitors and related foraging behaviors of chipmunks along a trail in Zion National Park. Unobtrusive observation protocols permitted an evaluation of educational messages delivered, and documentation of wildlife success in obtaining human food and the strength of their food attraction behavior. Significant improvements were documented for some targeted visitor behaviors and human food available to chipmunks, with minor differences between treatments. Replication of these protocols as part of a long-term monitoring program can help protected area managers evaluate and improve the efficacy of their interventions and monitor the strength of food attraction behavior in wildlife.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-442
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Dimensions of Wildlife
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Keywords

  • Efficacy of management actions
  • Food-attraction behavior
  • Human-wildlife interactions
  • Information/education
  • Wildlife feeding
  • Wildlife monitoring
  • Zion national park

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