PerspectiveConservation

When the hunter becomes the hunted

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Science  19 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6241, pp. 1312-1314
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa8465

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Summary

Historically, wild predators were overwhelmingly viewed as threats to livestock, wild “game,” and public health. Over time, public perceptions have broadened to include recognition of predators' intrinsic value and their role in structuring ecosystems. Nowhere are these changing perceptions better illustrated than in Yellowstone National Park, where the U.S. government deliberately eliminated wolves in the 1920s, only to actively restore them in the 1990s. Large carnivores are now recovering across much of North America and Europe but declining elsewhere (1, 2). Predator control, once widely accepted by the public, has become a source of intense social conflict (3, 4). Robust scientific evidence and broad stakeholder involvement are crucial for effective management of predator populations.