Recent articles have called for enhanced quantitative proficiency in wildlife students, arguing that such training will increase scientific rigor and produce wildlife researchers and managers who are better able to remedy current problems and to address future challenges in wildlife management. The idea that better, or more rigorous, science is the panacea for controversial natural resource problems is a cavalier and common presumption in many applied professions and one to which wildlife science and management is not immune. However, science and management are distinct processes and although scientific rigor is important, dialogue between the 2 processes is more critical for successful interaction. Integrated training that exposes students to nontraditional coursework and develops essential professional skills, such as planning, consensus-building, and communication, can help produce graduates to bridge the science–management gap and promote the conservation of natural resources. Changes in the structure and coursework of university wildlife departments can help to develop more effective wildlife professionals.
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Vol. 71 • No. 1