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Treves A, Paquet PC, Artelle KA, Cornman AM, Krofel M, Darimont CT. 2021. Transparency about values and assertions of fact in natural resource management. Frontiers in Conservation Science: Human-Wildlife Dynamics, in press. For a short elevator speech and abstract, click here. Reporters please note this paper is still under embargo, please email Adrian Treves for an update.

Louchouarn NX, Santiago-Ávila FJ, Parsons DR, Treves A. in press. Evaluating how lethal management affects poaching of Mexican wolves. Royal Society Open Science 8 (registered report):: 2003300.

Elevator speech

We find that U.S. policy loosening Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for Mexican wolves led to substantial increases in the hazard and incidence of cryptic poaching (illegal take followed by concealment of evidence such as destruction of radio-collar). We observed a shift from reported to cryptic poaching with concealment of evidence, i.e., driving the heightened illegal activity underground. The observed spike in cryptic poaching cannot be accounted for by migration, super-additive mortality following legal removals, or transmitter failures. In this context, we are concerned by the USFWS practice of sharing telemetry frequencies with members of the public that may have competing interests that oppose wolf recovery. Wolf population growth slowed or stopped during those periods of reduced ESA enforcement. We recommend the USFWS increase protections for Mexican wolves in a revised 10j rule and eliminate other actions that might abridge protections afforded by the ESA. We recommend agencies report missing marked animals in all endangered species programs worldwide, so evaluation of cryptic poaching and other causes of mortality can be done scientifically and transparently.

Besides its relevance for the endangered Mexican wolves of Arizona and New Mexico that are perilously close to extinction in the wild, our paper is noteworthy for its relevance to national wolf delisting. It is also relevant to nationwide concerns over the reproducibility crisis, because it is a new form of registered report. The methods were subject to peer review before the analyses were done. That approach is intended to reduce three kinds of bias in scientific publication that have been blamed in part for the reproducibility crisis in science broadly. The first sort of bias it combats is researcher bias in which methods drift as results unfold. The second bias it combats is confirmation bias (reviewers and authors tending to approve or communicate results that support their preconceptions) and publication bias (editors and reviewers being unimpressed by null results or counter-intuitive results and being overly impressed by flashy results). The idea is that the journal agrees to publish no matter the results as long as the methods-based peer review and the final manuscript followed the registered methods strictly. Therefore, the current analysis presents the highest standards of scientific evidence ever brought to bear on the question ‘Does killing buy goodwill?’ and the answer is no.

Just Preservation

In 2018, we published our ethic of public trusteeship, non-anthropocentric, multispecies justice that presents a method to give voice to future generations and to nonhumans when decisions are made to allocate or preserve nature. Start here with the original article Treves, A., Santiago-Ávila, F., Lynn, W.S. (equal co-authors) 2018. Just Preservation. Biological Conservation 229: 134-141.

The newest discussion of Just Preservation played out in 2021 in in the journal Animal Sentience, which included commentaries by several dozen colleagues and our replies to each: F.J. Santiago-Ávila, A. Treves (equal co-authors), W.S. Lynn, Just preservation, trusteeship and multispecies justice. Animal Sentience 393. This continues our work on trusteeship, legal standing for nonhumans, and future generations, and equitable consideration of nonhumans as members of our moral community.

Carroll, C. Carroll, C., Rohlf, D.J., von Holdt, B.M., Treves, A., Hendricks, S.A. 2020. Wolf delisting challenges demonstrate need for an improved framework for conserving intraspecific variation under the Endangered Species Act. Bioscience  biaa125,1-12. doi:10.1093/biosci/biaa125. .

Darimont, C.T., Hall, H., Mihalik, I., Artelle, K.A., Eckert, L., Paquet, P. Large carnivore hunting and the social license to hunt. Conservation Biology.

Santiago-Ávila, F.J., Chappell, R.J., Treves, A., 2020. Liberalizing the killing of endangered wolves was associated with more disappearances of collared individuals in Wisconsin, USA. Scientific Reports 10:13881.