Wildlife: How and Why? (WSJCANC)

Summary:

Participants will learn basic ideas about scientific fish and wildlife management by using management tools and devices. They will see how Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) wildlife biologists have historically managed wildlife to ensure healthy populations.

Grade Level:

4 - 8

Recommended Setting:

Indoor or outdoor classroom

Outdoor Activity:

No

Location:

Witt Stephens Junior Central Arkansas Nature Center, Little Rock

Contact:

Education Coordinator, 501-907-0636

Duration:

45 minutes

Suggested Number of Participants:

30

Objectives:

  • Define wildlife management.
  • Identify specific management tools and their uses.
  • Understand the importance of science to fish and wildlife management.
  • Apply science to management decisions in a hypothetical situation.
  • Learn the history of scientific management.

Key Terms*:

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC)

Amendment 75 of 1996

Carrying capacity

Central Arkansas Nature Center (CANC)

Conservation

Habitat

Hunting

Limiting factors

Preservation

Species

Wildlife biologist

Wildlife management

Wildlife management area (WMA)

Wise use

*See glossary for definations

Materials:

Check sheets

Drip torch

Materials from Project WILD Checks and Balances

Power Point on creating food plots from a quail management program

Radio telemetry equipment

Scales

Snares

Traps

Background:

There are four tenets to wildlife management: 1) It must be based on facts; 2) Man affects wildlife; 3) Management must help the habitat – it cannot only help wildlife, and 4) Conservation is the wise use of resources. Wildlife management is centered on natural resources conservation. For effective wildlife management, animals must be studied. A wildlife manager’s tools deal with habitat manipulation, biological research, species management and human interaction.

Procedure:

  1. Introduce yourself and the CANC. Explain that it is owned and operated by AGFC and showcases the agency’s mission. Also tell how Amendment 75 of 1996 funds paid for the facility and allow free admission.
  2. Define wildlife management, and discuss the role of the wildlife biologist. Distinguish between conservation and preservation. Emphasize that hunting is a critical conservation tool used by wildlife biologists to manage wildlife numbers.
  3. Provide illustrations that show how wildlife biologists use scientific methodology in their work.
  4. Show participants the Power Point presentation of wildlife biologists at work.
  5. Point out that while AGFC operates 118 wildlife management areas covering 280,000 acres, more than 90 percent of the land in Arkansas is privately owned. Explain that private landowner participation is critical to proper wildlife management.
  6. Demonstrate the drip torch, scales, snares, traps and telemetry equipment.
  7. Involve participants in an activity that requires decision-making using real-life scenarios. An excellent choice is Project WILD Checks and Balances. For more information about Project WILD, contact AGFC at 501-223-6300 or visit the website: www.agfc.com.
  8. Review key terms: carrying capacity, conservation, habitat, species, etc.

Modifications:

  • Assign participants to investigate the AGFC wildlife management areas listed in the hunting regulations guidebooks and on the website at www.agfc.com. They could use Google Earth to find the WMAs. Participants could use this information for reports.
  • Use the latest hunting season summary statistics to create math lessons. (This can be included in the post-visit teacher packet.)

Review:

  • How does conservation and wise use differ from preservation and non-use? (Preservation means no hunting or consumption of animals. Conservation means active management of animals that may include hunting as a tool.)
  • Why is hunting considered a wildlife management tool? (Hunting keeps population numbers under control. Hunters capture important data for wildlife biologists to use, and hunting license sales fund wildlife management work that benefits all wild animal species.)
  • Why does man affect wildlife? Can species survive without man’s help?

Glossary:

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) – the state agency responsible for managing fish and wildlife populations

Carrying capacity – the amount of fish that a given water body can sustain based on its nutrient and oxygen levels, presence of pollutants, biological food chain, and habitat structure for various species; carrying capacity is closely monitored by AGFC fisheries biologists to maintain fish populations within healthy ranges

Conservation – planned management of natural resources (including wildlife and habitat) to prevent exploitation, destruction or neglect; includes the concept of wise use

Habitat – living place for wild animals that includes available food, water and space

Hunting – pursuing game species during legal hunting season, thereby providing population control and funds for all wildlife management work through hunting license purchases and hunting equipment excise taxes

Limiting factors – elements that affect the amount of wildlife that a particular habitat can sustain, including food, water, space, predators, and more

Preservation – the practice of restricting access to an area, especially by prohibiting hunting and fishing, to protect wildlife and fish from consumption; example – Arkansas state parks are hunting preservations where hunting is illegal, but fishing is allowed in many parks

Species – a classification of animals immediately below the genus level

Wildlife biologist– a scientist who studies and manages wild animals

Wildlife management – the practice of researching and applying professional, biological standards to ensure wildlife species remain at healthy levels balanced with available habitat

Wildlife management area (WMA) – a special use area managed by AGFC for wildlife that often has individual regulations governing taking of wildlife and fish; the agency has 118 WMAs encompassing 280,000 acres in Arkansas

Wise use – a conservation concept that incorporates hunting and fishing as part of scientific management of wildlife and fish