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1 October 2016 WILDLIFE HEALTH AND PUBLIC TRUST RESPONSIBILITIES FOR WILDLIFE RESOURCES
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Abstract

A significant development in wildlife management is the mounting concern of wildlife professionals and the public about wildlife health and diseases. Concurrently, the wildlife profession is reexamining implications of managing wildlife populations as a public trust and the concomitant obligation to ensure the quality (i.e., health) and sustainability of wildlife. It is an opportune time to emphasize the importance of wildlife health, specifically to advocate for comprehensive and consistent integration of wildlife health in wildlife management. We summarize application of public trust ideas in wildlife population management in the US. We argue that wildlife health is essential to fulfilling public trust administration responsibilities with respect to wildlife, due to the central responsibility of trustees for ensuring the well-being of wildlife species (i.e., the core resources of the trust). Because both health of wildlife and risk perceptions regarding threats posed by wildlife disease to humans and domestic animals are issues of growing concern, managing wildlife disease and risk communication vis-à-vis wildlife health is critical to wildlife trust administration. We conclude that wildlife health professionals play a critical role in protecting the wildlife trust and that current conditions provide opportunities for important contributions by wildlife health professionals in wildlife management.

© Wildlife Disease Association 2016
Daniel J. Decker, Krysten Schuler, Ann B. Forstchen, Margaret A. Wild, and William F. Siemer "WILDLIFE HEALTH AND PUBLIC TRUST RESPONSIBILITIES FOR WILDLIFE RESOURCES," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 52(4), 775-784, (1 October 2016). https://doi.org/10.7589/2016-03-066
Received: 17 March 2016; Accepted: 1 June 2016; Published: 1 October 2016
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