Wildlife management
Wildlife management attempts to balance the needs of wildlife with the needs of people using the best available science. Wildlife management can include game keeping, wildlife conservation
Wildlife conservation
Wildlife conservation is the preservation, protection, or restoration of wildlife and their environment, especially in relation to endangered and vulnerable species. All living non-domesticated animals, even if bred, hatched or born in captivity, are considered wild animals. Wildlife represents all...

 and pest control
Pest control
Pest control refers to the regulation or management of a species defined as a pest, usually because it is perceived to be detrimental to a person's health, the ecology or the economy.-History:...

. Wildlife management has become an integrated science using disciplines such as mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

, climatology
Climatology is the study of climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of time, and is a branch of the atmospheric sciences...

 and geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 to gain the best results.

Wildlife conservation aims to halt the loss in the earths biodiversity
Holocene extinction event
The Holocene extinction refers to the extinction of species during the present Holocene epoch . The large number of extinctions span numerous families of plants and animals including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and arthropods; a sizeable fraction of these extinctions are occurring in the...

 by taking into consideration ecological principles such as carrying capacity
Carrying capacity
The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment...

, disturbance and succession
Ecological succession
Ecological succession, is the phenomenon or process by which a community progressively transforms itself until a stable community is formed. It is a fundamental concept in ecology, and refers to more or less predictable and orderly changes in the composition or structure of an ecological community...

 and environmental conditions such as physical geography
Physical geography
Physical geography is one of the two major subfields of geography. Physical geography is that branch of natural science which deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, biosphere and geosphere, as opposed to the cultural or built environment, the...

, pedology
Pedology (soil study)
Pedology is the study of soils in their natural environment. It is one of two main branches of soil science, the other being edaphology...

 and hydrology
Hydrology is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability...

 with the aim of balancing the needs of wildlife with the needs of people. Most wildlife biologists are concerned with the preservation and improvement of habitats although reinstatement is increasingly being used. Techniques can include reforestation, pest control
Pest control
Pest control refers to the regulation or management of a species defined as a pest, usually because it is perceived to be detrimental to a person's health, the ecology or the economy.-History:...

, nitrification
Nitrification is the biological oxidation of ammonia with oxygen into nitrite followed by the oxidation of these nitrites into nitrates. Degradation of ammonia to nitrite is usually the rate limiting step of nitrification. Nitrification is an important step in the nitrogen cycle in soil...

 and denitrification
Denitrification is a microbially facilitated process of nitrate reduction that may ultimately produce molecular nitrogen through a series of intermediate gaseous nitrogen oxide products....

, irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

, coppicing
Coppicing is a traditional method of woodland management which takes advantage of the fact that many trees make new growth from the stump or roots if cut down. In a coppiced wood, young tree stems are repeatedly cut down to near ground level...

 and hedge laying
Hedge laying
Hedge laying is a country skill, typically found in the United Kingdom and Ireland, which, through the creation and maintenance of hedges, achieves the following:* the formation of livestock-proof barriers;...


Game keeping is the management or control of wildlife for the well being of game and may include killing other animals which share the same niche
Ecological niche
In ecology, a niche is a term describing the relational position of a species or population in its ecosystem to each other; e.g. a dolphin could potentially be in another ecological niche from one that travels in a different pod if the members of these pods utilize significantly different food...

 or predators to maintain a high population of the more profitable species, such as pheasants introduced into woodland. In his 1933 book Game Management, Aldo Leopold, one of the pioneers of wildlife management as a science, defined it as "the art of making land produce sustained annual crops of wild game for recreational use".

Pest control is the control of real or perceived pests and can be for the benefit of wildlife, farmers, game keepers or safety reasons. In the United States, wildlife management practices are often implemented by a governmental agency to uphold a law, such as the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Many wildlife managers are employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and by state governments.

In the United Kingdom, wildlife management undertaken by several organizations including government bodies such as the Forestry Commission
Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission is a non-ministerial government department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. Its mission is to protect and expand Britain's forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment....

, Charities such as the RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts and privately hired gamekeeper
A gamekeeper is a person who manages an area of countryside to make sure there is enough game for shooting, or fish for angling, and who actively manages areas of woodland, moorland, waterway or farmland for the benefit of game birds, deer, fish and wildlife in general.Typically, a gamekeeper is...

s and contractors. Legislation has also been passed to protect wildlife such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The UK government also give farmers subsidies through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme
Countryside Stewardship Scheme
The Countryside Stewardship Scheme is an agri-environment scheme run by the United Kingdom Government set up in 1991.Originally introduced as a five-year pilot project by the Countryside Commission, the scheme aimed to improve the environmental value of farmland throughout England...

 to improve the conservation value of there farms.


Although wildlife management in the U.S. did not emerge as a profession until the 1930s, there were some early attempts at management. The earliest game law dates back to 1839, when Rhode Island closed the hunting season for white-tailed deer from May to November. Other regulations during this time focused primarily on restricting hunting. At this time, lawmakers did not consider population sizes or the need for preservation or restoration of wildlife habitats.

The profession of wildlife management was established in the United States in the 1920s and '30s by Aldo Leopold
Aldo Leopold
Aldo Leopold was an American author, scientist, ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and is best known for his book A Sand County Almanac , which has sold over two million copies...

 and others who sought to transcend the purely restrictive policies of the previous generation of conservationists, such as anti-hunting activist William T. Hornaday. Leopold and his close associate Herbert Stoddard, who had both been trained in scientific forestry, argued that modern science and technology could be used to restore and improve wildlife habitat and thus produce abundant "crops" of ducks, deer, and other valued wild animals.

The institutional foundations of the profession of wildlife management were established in the 1930s, when Leopold was granted the first university professorship in wildlife management (1933, University of Wisconsin, Madison), when Leopold's textbook 'Game Management' was published (1933), when The Wildlife Society
The Wildlife Society
Founded in 1937, The Wildlife Society is an international non-profit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education...

 was founded, when the Journal of Wildlife Management began publishing, and when the first Cooperative Wildlife Research Units were established. Conservationists planned many projects throughout the 1940s. Some of which included the harvesting of female mammals such as deer to decrease rising populations. Others included waterfowl and wetland research. The Fish and Wildlife Management Act was put in place to urge farmers to plant food for wildlife and to provide cover for them.

In 1937, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act) was passed in the U.S.. This law was an important advancement in the field of wildlife management. It placed a 10% tax on sales of guns and ammunition. The funds generated were then distributed to the states for use in wildlife management activities and research. This law is still in effect today.

Wildlife management grew after World War II with the help of the GI Bill and a postwar boom in recreational hunting. An important step in wildlife management in the United States national parks occurred after several years of public controversy regarding the forced reduction of the elk population in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho...

. In 1963, United States Secretary of the Interior
United States Secretary of the Interior
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior.The US Department of the Interior should not be confused with the concept of Ministries of the Interior as used in other countries...

 Stewart Udall
Stewart Udall
Stewart Lee Udall was an American politician. After serving three terms as a congressman from Arizona, he served as Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969, under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B...

 appointed an advisory board to collect scientific data to inform future wildlife management. In a paper known as the Leopold Report
Leopold Report
The Leopold Report, officially known as Wildlife Management in the National Parks, is a 1963 paper composed of a series of ecosystem management recommendations that were presented by the Special Advisory Board on Wildlife Management to United States Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. Named...

, the committee observed that culling programs at other national parks had been ineffective, and recommended active management of Yellowstone's elk population.

Since the tumultuous 1970s, when animal rights activists and environmentalists began to challenge some aspects of wildlife management, the profession has been overshadowed by the rise of conservation biology
Conservation biology
Conservation biology is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction...

. Although wildlife managers remain central to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act and other wildlife conservation policies, conservation biologists have shifted the focus of conservation away from wildlife management's concern with the protection and restoration of single species and toward the maintenance of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Types of wildlife management

There are two general types of wildlife management:
  • Manipulative management acts on a population, either changing its numbers by direct means or influencing numbers by the indirect means of altering food supply, habitat, density of predators, or prevalence of disease. This is appropriate when a population is to be harvested, or when it slides to an unacceptably low density or increases to an unacceptably high level. Such densities are inevitably the subjective view of the land owner, and may be disputed by animal welfare
    Animal welfare
    Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

  • Custodial management is preventive or protective. The aim is to minimize external influences on the population and its habitat. It is appropriate in a national park where one of the stated goals is to protect ecological processes. It is also appropriate for conservation of a threatened species where the threat is of external origin rather than being intrinsic to the system.


'The control of wildlife through culling and hunting has been criticized by animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 and animal welfare
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

 activists. Critics object to the real or perceived cruelty
Cruelty to animals
Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense. More narrowly, it can be harm for specific gain, such as killing animals for food or for their fur, although opinions differ with...

 involved in some forms of wildlife management.

Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 have also opposed hunting where they believe it is unnecessary or will negatively affect biodiversity. Critics of game keeping note that habitat manipulation and predator control are often used to maintain artificially inflated populations of valuable game animals (including introduced exotics) without regard to the ecological integrity of the habitat.

Game keepers in the UK claim it to be necessary for wildlife conservation as the amount of countryside they look after exceeds by a factor of nine the amount in nature reserves and national parks.

Management of hunting seasons

Wildlife management studies, research and lobbying by interest groups help designate times of the year when certain wildlife species can be legally hunted, allowing for surplus animals to be removed. In the United States, hunting season and bag limits are determined by guidelines set by the US Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for migratory game such as waterfowl and other migratory gamebirds. The hunting season and bag limits for state regulated game species such as deer are usually determined by State game Commissions, which are made up of representatives from various interest groups, wildlife biologists, and researchers.

Open and closed season on Deer in the UK is legislated for in the Deer act 1991 and the Deer Act (Scotland) 1996

Open season

Open season is when wildlife is allowed to be hunted by law and is usually during the breeding season
Breeding season
The breeding season is the most suitable season, usually with favourable conditions and abundant food and water, for breeding among some wild animals and birds . Species with a breeding season have naturally evolved to have sexual intercourse during a certain time of year in order to achieve the...

. Hunters may be restricted by sex, age or class of animal, for instance there may be an open season for any male deer with 4 points or better on at least one side.

Limited entry

Where the number of animals taken is to be tightly controlled, managers may have a type of lottery system called limited. Many apply, few are chosen. These hunts may still have age, sex or class restrictions.

Closed season

Closed season is when wildlife is protected from hunting and is usually during its breeding season. Closed season is enforced by law, any hunting during closed season is punishable by law and termed as illegal hunting or poaching
Poaching is the illegal taking of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws. Violations of hunting laws and regulations are normally punishable by law and, collectively, such violations are known as poaching.It may be illegal and in...


Type of weapon used

In the wildlife management one of the conservation strategy is that the weapon used for hunting should be the one that cause the least damage to the individual and that it should be an advanced weapon so that it may not miss the target and may not hit another individual. This is very important if the trophy hunting is the case. Given State and Local laws, types of weapon can also vary depending on type, size, sex of game and also the geographical layout of that specific hunting area.

See also

  • Age class structure
    Age class structure
    Age class structure in fisheries and wildlife management is a part of population assessment. Age can be determined by counting growth rings in fish scales, otoliths, cross-sections of fin spines for species with thick spines such as triggerfish, or teeth for a few species. Each method has its...

  • Anti-hunting
    Anti-hunting is a term which is used to identify or describe persons or groups, generally in a political context, who stand in opposition to hunting. It is also used to describe efforts to prevent hunting through legislation and other means which can include acts of civil disobedience such as hunt...

  • CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
  • Game Warden
    Game warden
    A game warden is an employee who has the role of protecting wildlife. Game wardens may also be referred to as conservation officers or wildlife officers...

  • Goose egg addling
    Goose egg addling
    Goose egg addling is a wildlife management method of population control for Canada Geese and other bird species. The process of "addling" involves temporarily removing fertilized eggs from the nest, testing for embryo development, terminating embryo development, and placing the egg back in the nest...

  • Hughes v. Oklahoma
    Hughes v. Oklahoma
    Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322 , was a United States Supreme Court decision, which held that the United States Congress may enact legislation governing wildlife on federal lands. When conflicting state law exists, the supremacy clause ensures that federal legislation will prevail. The Court...

  • Hunting
    Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

  • Kleppe v. New Mexico
    Kleppe v. New Mexico
    Kleppe v. New Mexico, 426 U.S. 529 , was a United States Supreme Court decision, which unanimously held that the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 , passed in 1971 by the United States Congress to protect these animals from “capture, branding, harassment, or death,” was a...

  • Land ethic
    Land ethic
    A Land Ethic is a philosophy that guides your actions when you utilize or make changes to the land. This specific term was first coined by Aldo Leopold in his book A Sand County Almanac . Within this work, he wrote that there is a need for a "new ethic", an "ethic dealing with man's relation to...

  • List of politically endorsed exterminations of animals
  • Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife
    Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife
    Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, , was a United States Supreme Court case decided on June 12, 1992, in which the court held that a group of American wildlife conservation and other environmental organizations lacked standing to challenge regulations jointly issued by the U.S...

  • North American Game Warden Museum
    North American Game Warden Museum
    The North American Game Warden Museum is a museum in the International Peace Garden on the Canada–United States international border between the Canadian province of Manitoba and the U.S. state of North Dakota. The museum is located on the American side of the border...

  • Nuisance wildlife management
    Nuisance wildlife management
    Nuisance wildlife management is the term given to the process of selective removal of problem individuals or populations of certain species of wildlife. Other terms for the field, include "Wildlife Damage Management , "Wildlife Control", and "Animal Damage Control" to name a few...

  • Pest control
    Pest control
    Pest control refers to the regulation or management of a species defined as a pest, usually because it is perceived to be detrimental to a person's health, the ecology or the economy.-History:...

  • Range condition scoring
    Range condition scoring
    Range Condition Scoring was developed as a way to quantify biodiversity in a given rangeland system. This practice is widely used in the Sand Hills region of Nebraska, as well as the tallgrass prairie regions, as evidenced by the authoritative book on the subject, “Range Judging Handbook and...

  • Reintroduction
    Reintroduction is the deliberate release of a species into the wild in zones formerly inhabited by said species but where it has disappeared from for a number of reasons, from captivity or relocated from other areas where the species still survives in...

  • Remote-controlled animal
    Remote-controlled animal
    A remote-controlled animal is controlled via a radio link. Electrodes have to be implanted in the animal's brain and it has to carry a receiver . The electrodes do not move the animal directly, as one would move a robot; instead, they are used to signal its desired direction or action, then...

  • Threshold host density
    Threshold host density
    Threshold host density , in the context of wildlife disease ecology, refers the concentration of a population of a particular organism as it relates to disease...

  • Wildlife conservation
    Wildlife conservation
    Wildlife conservation is the preservation, protection, or restoration of wildlife and their environment, especially in relation to endangered and vulnerable species. All living non-domesticated animals, even if bred, hatched or born in captivity, are considered wild animals. Wildlife represents all...

  • Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System

Further reading

  • Bolen, Eric G., Robinson, William. (2002). Wildlife Ecology and Management. Prentice Hall.
  • Caughley, G., A.R.E. Sinclair. (1994). Wildlife Ecology and Management. Blackwell Scientific Publ.

External links

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