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Human-Wildlife ConflictComplexity in the Marine Environment$
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Megan Draheim, Francine Madden, Julie-Beth McCarthy, and Chris Parsons

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687145

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687145.001.0001

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Hawaiian Monk Seals

Hawaiian Monk Seals

Labels, Names, and Stories in Conflict

(p.117) 7 Hawaiian Monk Seals
Human-Wildlife Conflict

Rachel S. Sprague

Megan M. Draheim

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how the labels, names, and stories humans attach to wildlife can both influence the perception of human–wildlife conflict and guide efforts to reduce conflict and aid conservation efforts. How people talk about marine conservation, specific species, and human–wildlife conflict is not only a reflection of how they see the world but also influences attitudes toward conservation in others. This chapter will use a case study of the Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi) and the theory of social constructionism to explore these concepts and suggest ways that conservation professionals might use language and stories about animals to positively impact conservation efforts and reduce conflict. The Hawaiian monk seal is a highly endangered species endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and has been the object of intense conservation efforts. However, a recent increase in the seal’s population in the main Hawaiian Islands has resulted in increased conflict with and over the seals, especially between some native Hawaiians and local communities, the federal government, and other stakeholders. The narratives and stories about seals help to further drive conflict between those who want to protect the main Hawaiian Islands seal population and those who see it as a threat to their way of life.

Keywords:   Hawaiian monk seal, conservation, conflict, human–wildlife conflict, social constructionism, marine conservation, Hawaii

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