Title: Comparing stakeholder risk perceptions and behaviours related to chronic wasting disease in free-range and captive deer

Authors: Elena C. Rubino; Christopher Serenari

Addresses: Division of Agriculture, Arkansas Forest Resources Center, University of Arkansas System, Monticello, AR, USA; College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, University of Arkansas at Monticello, Monticello, AR, USA ' Department of Biology, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA

Abstract: Despite its integral role in hunting industries, venison production, and safeguarding wildlife populations worldwide, captive cervid breeding creates challenges related chronic wasting disease (CWD) transmission. Thus, it is vital that wildlife managers understand stakeholders' perceptions of the relationship between captive deer and CWD, and its implications for CWD management. We used mail-based and online surveys to assess Texas hunter and landowner perceptions (n = 984) of risks associated with CWD in free-range and captive deer populations, as well as their willingness to participate in actions that help prevent the spread of CWD. Risk perceptions related to the seriousness and susceptibility of CWD among captive deer were higher than free-range deer, while concern was lower. Additionally, increased willingness to engage in preventative actions was more frequently predicted by risk perceptions related to free-range deer than captive deer. These results can be used to help agencies improve their decision-making regarding CWD recommendations and policies.

Keywords: cervids; CWD; deer breeding; deer farming; individual actions; prevention; public perceptions; survey; wildlife policy; wildlife privatisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGENVI.2023.136296

International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 2023 Vol.22 No.4, pp.435 - 449

Received: 03 Nov 2022
Accepted: 21 Aug 2023

Published online: 26 Jan 2024 *

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