Provide education programmes to improve behaviour towards mammals and reduce threats
Overall effectiveness category Likely to be beneficial
Number of studies: 2
Background information and definitions
Where human behaviour is central to the threat to a species, an education programme may be devised to address this. Such programmes may tackle a wide range of threats to mammals and be aimed to difference audiences, such as local residents, farmers or other businesses. The effects of programmes may be measured in terms of the response of target species or in terms of changes in human behaviour that directly impact the magnitude of the threat.
This intervention covers situations where awareness of ways of reducing threats to mammals is focussed on specific narrow target groups, largely through one-to-one interactions. For more widely-targeted programmes, see Use campaigns and public information to improve behaviour towards mammals and reduce threats.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A before-and-after study in 2002–2009 in a temperate broadleaf forest and grassland site in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (Balme et al. 2009) found that educating ranchers on methods for reducing livestock losses, along with implementing stricter hunting policies, increased leopard Panthera pardus density and reduced leopard mortalities. Four years after both livestock husbandry workshops and hunting policy changes were implemented, there were 11.2 leopards/100 km2, compared to 7.1/100km2 in the first year of implementation. Nine leopards were killed during the first three years after livestock husbandry workshops and hunting policy changes were implemented compared to 23 over the previous two years. In January–July 2005, workshops were held to teach improved husbandry techniques to local landowners. Before January 2005 leopards could be killed legally if they had killed livestock. After January 2005 permits were only granted if the same leopard was confirmed (using inspections and camera traps) to have killed three or more livestock within two months and if the landowner could provide evidence that they were trying to reduce attacks on livestock. Thirty-five leopards were radio-collared and monitored between April 2002 and December 2007. Camera traps were used in January–March 2005, January–March 2007, and March–May 2009 to estimate changes in the leopard population size.Study and other actions tested
A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2008 of a residential area in Colorado, USA (Baruch-Mordo et al. 2011) found that visiting properties to educate about the danger of garbage to black bears Ursus americanus did not increase use of wildlife-resistant dumpsters. Where educational visits were carried out, the trend in availability of garbage to wildlife (before visits: 13–15% of households; after visits: 16–26%) did not differ from those in neighbourhoods that were not visited (before visits: 9–15% of households; after: 16–17%). Similarly, there was no difference in use of bear-resistant containers between neighbourhoods that were visited (before visits: 11–17% of households; after: 16–23%) or not visited (before visits: 14–19% of households; after: 17–18%). In two neighbourhoods, 91% and 87% of residences were visited and residents were spoken to or had educational material delivered. Two further neighbourhoods, did not receiving any visits. Household garbage disposal facilities were surveyed in July–September 2008, before and after visits. Garbage was regarded as accessible if placed outside containers, or in non-bear-resistant containers.Study and other actions tested