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Using Applied Social Science Disciplines To Implement Creative Outdoor Cat Management Solutions and Avoid the Trap of One-Size-Fits-All Policies

July 08, 2024

We suggest developing context-specific diagnostic frameworks that acknowledge the full social-ecological system to move towards implementable solutions for value-based conservation conflicts.

Conflicting values related to management strategies have prevented effective broad-scale population management of outdoor cats for decades. Over the past 3 years, a group of wildlife conservation and cat welfare professionals have been meeting to identify cooperative strategies to reduce the role of pet cats in augmenting outdoor cat populations. 

We use this case study to illustrate how broadening collective understanding of a social-ecological system can identify a more robust set of policy options that must be tailored to the local management and cultural context for successful implementation. Shifting our focus to embrace a shared understanding of the broader system helped us identify areas for collaboration, broaden the policy toolbox, and allow space for policy tools originally framed as opposing panaceas. 

Leong KM, Gramza AR, Duberstein JN, Bryson C, Amlin A 2024. Using applied social science disciplines to implement creative outdoor cat management solutions and avoid the trap of one-size-fits-all policies Conservation Biology, e14321.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 07/09/2024