Evenly split: exploring the highly polarized public response to the use of lethal methods to manage overabundant native wildlife in Australia

Mark Boulet, Kim Borg, Nicholas Faulkner, Liam Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The use of lethal methods to manage locally overabundant wildlife populations is rarely without some level of public opposition or debate. While a range of factors have been found to be associated with public support for the use of lethal methods, research has predominately focused on a small set of species in a limited number of countries. We build the evidence base in this area by presenting the results of a quasi-experimental study conducted in Victoria, Australia, to understand what influences public attitudes towards using lethal methods to manage overabundant kangaroo and koala populations. A computer assisted telephone survey of 1000 Victorians measured how attitudes towards lethal methods differed across different scenarios. Results indicate that while there was almost equal support and opposition to the use of lethal methods overall, survey respondents were more likely to support lethal methods if welfare reasons were given as justification, if the target species were kangaroos (rather than koalas), and if the impacts were occurring now rather than in future. Age, gender and profession were also significantly associated with support or opposition. These findings can help wildlife managers engage better with the public when lethal methods are required to manage overabundant populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125995
Number of pages8
JournalJournal for Nature Conservation
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Influences
  • Kangaroos
  • Koalas
  • Predictors
  • Public attitudes
  • Wildlife management

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