Understanding attitudes towards scavengers implications for conservation action

Published: 21-09-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/hmxns7gbwc.1
Niall Walkden


Abstract- Given that human attitudes towards many scavengers are negative, there is an urgency to understand which factors influence attitudes, to increase the effectiveness of conservation interventions. To investigate attitudes towards scavengers, comparative to sympatric predators, we undertook a questionnaire survey of 176 South African residents. We measured responses to 16 attitudinal questions (summed into two axes; affect (affection and emotional response) and utility (instrumental value)), towards eight locally occurring animals, four scavengers and four predators. There were significantly lower affect and utility scores for scavenger species and path analysis indicated affect scores were influenced by engagement with nature and vicarious experience, whereas vicarious experience and socio-economic group influenced utility. To improve attitudes towards scavengers new positive media and cultural narratives of scavengers are likely to be influential. Additionally, communities where the risk of conflict is high should be prioritised to enable both direct and indirect experience, and enhanced knowledge of scavengers. Raw data in xlsx format in "Clean Master" Questionnaire (Appendix 1) and Pictures (Appendix 2)