Exploring the relevance of the multidimensionality of wildlife recreationists to conservation behaviors: A case study in Virginia


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Wildlife recreationists' participation in conservation behaviors could provide key support to the conservation efforts of state fish and wildlife agencies. However, little is known about how identifying with multiple forms of wildlife recreation (i.e., hunters, anglers, birders, wildlife viewers) may influence participation in conservation behaviors, specifically for supporting state fish and wildlife agencies and their conservation goals. Using a mixed-mode survey of Virginia wildlife recreationists, we explored the hypothesized relationship between individuals' participation in conservation behaviors and their identification with multiple forms of consumptive and nonconsumptive wildlife recreation. We found wildlife recreation identity is multidimensional, with many individuals identifying with consumptive and nonconsumptive identities simultaneously. Further, consumptive-only recreationists (i.e., hunters and/or anglers) participated in conservation behaviors less often than nonconsumptive-only recreationists (i.e., birders and/or wildlife viewers) and recreationists with both consumptive and nonconsumptive identities were less likely to support a state fish and wildlife agency in the future. Our findings underscore the importance of all types of wildlife recreationists, especially those with intersecting identities, as state fish and wildlife agencies work to advance conservation. Hence, developing multi-faceted engagement strategies may enhance support for state fish and wildlife agencies among their growing wildlife recreation constituency.



anglers, birders, conservation behavior, hunters, recreation identity, state fish and wildlife agencies, wildlife recreation, wildlife viewers