Predator Control and the Valuation of Wildlife
This summer, I am investigating the advantages that large predators bring to their ecosystems, as well as the costs, benefits, challenges, and feasibility of a wide array of wildlife management methods. I’m focusing my research on the Hopland Research and Extension Center in Mendocino County, where sheep ranchers are deeply invested in the impacts that coyotes have on their operations. I’m exploring historical methods and attitudes toward large carnivore management to find practical solutions that can be applied to ranching operations at Hopland today. Reframing the issue from one which centers around human-wildlife conflict to one that focuses on coexistence requires an interdisciplinary approach, and I’m utilizing economics, policy, and ecology to reveal what value is being lost when wildlife is lethally controlled.