Reframing urban “wildlife” to promote inclusive conservation science and practice
Cities are home to both a majority of the world’s human population, and to a diversity of wildlife. Urban wildlife conservation research and policy has importantly furthered ecological understanding and species protection in cities, while also leveraging wildlife conservation to connect people to urban nature. Thus, urban wildlife conservation intersects conservation research, conservation policy, and the general public in cities worldwide. Yet, species that are often framed as “urban wildlife” are often of higher trophic levels, including birds and mammals that serve as “flagship” species for public support. Other forms of urban life including plants and invertebrates are often largely ignored, producing a normative urban wildlife concept that may bias urban wildlife conservation research and policy, and sentiment in the general public. To develop new strategies in urban wildlife conservation for the urban era, we need to move towards a more inclusive and holistic framing of urban wildlife for both research and the public. In this article, we discuss the normative framing of urban wildlife and how this framing may bias urban conservation efforts, and argue for a holistic approach to urban wildlife inclusive of all life forms for future research, publicity and policy interventions.
Published in: Biodiversity and Conservation, 10.1007/s10531-021-02182-y, Springer Nature