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Playing with fire: trust and the credibility of the profession

  • Author(s): Schmidt, Robert H.
  • et al.
Abstract

I discuss the concepts of trust and credibility in relation to the wildlife profession. Using the recent Canada lynx monitoring controversy in Washington State, I demonstrate that innocent actions have consequences that erode trust. Effective natural resource management requires that we, as individuals, agencies, and a profession, maintain high levels of credibility with the general public. As scientists and educators (and as opposed to elected officials), we enjoy relatively high levels of trust. It is critical that we maintain what we currently have, and that we develop programs and strategies to increase our credibility and the trust obligation that society requires from us.

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