With increasing negative wildlife-related impacts on humans, public expectations of agency roles are transitioning and wildlife managers are becoming more concerned about public acceptance of management interventions, particularly lethal measures. One goal of human dimensions research in wildlife is to provide managers with a better understanding of the relationship among stakeholders' values, beliefs, and acceptance of management actions. We used data obtained from a survey of Alaska residents on managing wolf (Canis lupus) and grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) predation on moose (Alces alces) and caribou (Rangifer tarandus) to explore 2 general questions: 1) is opposition to lethal control of wildlife context-free (an individual is opposed to lethal control regardless of circumstance) or context specific (an individual's support or opposition to lethal control depends on circumstances)? And 2) does perceived impacts of wildlife on humans make a difference in an individual's expression of support or opposition to lethal actions? We found that support for lethal methods for management of wolves and grizzly bears to minimize predation on moose and caribou was influenced by the impact that predation was perceived to have on humans' access to moose and caribou, whether access was a concern primarily for food or recreational hunting. Specifically, respondents were more likely to support the use of lethal methods to control predation in situations where the effect of predation on moose and caribou had the greatest subsequent impact on humans' access to these big game resources. Conversely, lethal control of predators was less likely to be supported in situations where the impact of predators on moose and caribou was perceived to be less severe with respect to human needs. We use the phrase “impact dependency” to highlight the importance of context-specific influences on public evaluations of management actions. Although inherent characteristics of potential management interventions (e.g., relative humaneness, cost, efficiency, etc.) are important considerations in decision making, our findings suggest that researchers and managers also should consider how public support or opposition for a particular management action is influenced by public perceptions of the nature of impacts being experienced by people.
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