Human Dimensions Considerations in Wildlife Disease Management

Techniques and Methods 15-C8
Prepared in cooperation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service
By:  and 
Edited by: Katherine L. D. RichgelsSamantha E. J. Gibbs, and Margaret A. Wild



In 1943, Aldo Leopold observed that the real problem of wildlife management is not how to handle wildlife, but how to manage humans. As with any other aspect of wildlife management, social sciences can improve understanding the human dimensions of wildlife disease management (WDM). Human activities have accelerated the emergence of wildlife diseases, and human concerns about the ecological, social, and economic impacts of wildlife diseases and their management have led to diseases becoming headline-worthy public issues. This chapter provides guidance to help front-line professionals understand and address the public’s perspectives and behaviors relevant to WDM. This chapter focuses on practical needs of wildlife disease managers who have to consider and interact with specific stakeholders and the broader public. The chapter does not dive deeply into social science; instead it briefly reviews some concepts that are most relevant to WDM. The chapter also suggests where to look for assistance and additional resources for further reading. Following brief introductory comments, the chapter is organized around a simple model of the general process for WDM. It addresses three key areas where social science can assist in WDM—audience research to understand stakeholders; engaging stakeholders in wildlife disease management; and using risk communication about wildlife diseases and disease management to inspire risk-wise behavior.

Suggested Citation

Leong, K.M, and Decker, D.J., 2020, Human dimensions considerations in wildlife disease management: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 15, chap. C8, 21 p.,

ISSN: 2328-7055 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Human Dimensions Practices for Wildlife Disease Management
  • Summary and Conclusion
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Human dimensions considerations in wildlife disease management
Series title Techniques and Methods
Series number 15-C8
DOI 10.3133/tm15C8
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description iv, 21 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Section C: Techniques in disease surveillance and investigation in Book 15: Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases
Public Comments This report is Chapter 8 of Section C: Techniques in disease surveillance and investigation in Book 15: Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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