Whale stranding rescues : a contribution to conservation?
The purpose of this dissertation is to question and reflect upon the human involvement in whale stranding rescues. The overall question considered in this study was, should New Zealanders be rescuing stranded whales, and if so, is the current management approach of the Department of Conservation (DOC) appropriate? To answer this question the 'human-whale' relationship was analysed from a historical perspective through the agenda-setting process, and through an investigation of the characteristics of whales that appeal to humans. Theory relating to human treatment of animals was used to gain an understanding of the motivation behind whale rescues. This study concluded that New Zealanders can justifiably continue to rescue stranded whales from a moral and ecological ethics perspective. This study then identified and highlighted the major issues when the whale stranding rescue response is analysed in the context of conservation, as administered by DOC. This study concluded that changes are required to DOC's management approach. These changes should reduce the opportunity costs to conservation, increase benefits through not only public relations, but also conservation awareness, and create a commitment to whale stranding rescues at an institutional level rather than through public, individual staff or non-governmental organisation pressures or alternatively, consider contracting the responsibility to other organisations. This study of whale stranding rescues highlights the need to insure that both anthropomorphic and ecological values are balanced in resource management, and the difficulty in achieving this 'balance'.... [Show full abstract]