Rumours about wildlife pest introductions: European rabbits in Spain
- 265 Downloads
Rumours associated with wildlife are frequent, although they have received little attention in the scientific literature. Studying rumours is important because of their relevance not only in a broad theoretical sense but also in environmental management. The goal of this study is to explore the complexity of the relationships between humans and wildlife through a thematic analysis of rumours associated with allegedly introduced European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that cause crop damage in Spain. For this purpose, potential rumours were identified using the Google search engine. Data analysis consisted of reading and re-reading Web-based texts to identify main themes, ideas and topics with the assistance of NVivo 10 software. The analysis identified three main themes: (1) the reviewed websites referred to allegedly introduced rabbits which differed from native rabbits; (2) differences were based on alleged observations of unnatural behaviour, physiology or physical appearance of introduced rabbits; (3) rumours were frequently used in the context of the rabbit management conflict; e.g. farmers accused hunters of releasing harmful rabbits. This study suggests that the analysis of wildlife-release rumours sheds light on the position of parties involved in conflicts associated with the (alleged) introduction of wildlife species. It stresses the importance of rumours in conservation and environmental management, and opens the door to future research.
KeywordsConflict Farming Human dimension of wildlife Hunting Pest species Thematic analysis
I thank Dr Rafael Villafuerte, Erik Andersson, A. Jasmyn J. Lynch and one anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on previous drafts of the manuscript and all the colleagues who provided me some key references for this study. Discussions with colleagues in my research group helped define and redefine codes as well as identify main themes. This project was supported by the Talentia Postdoc Program launched by the Andalusian Knowledge Agency, and co-funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (COFUND—Grant Agreement n267226) and the Ministry of Economy, Innovation, Science and Employment of the Junta de Andalucía. I am currently supported by V Plan Propio de Investigación of the University of Sevilla.
- Allport, G.W., and L. Postman. 1947. The psychology of rumour. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
- Alvares, F. 1999. Are releasing wolves? Boletim informativo do Grupo Lobo 14: 1–3 (in Portuguese).Google Scholar
- Alvares, F., J. Domingues, P. Sierra, and P. Primavera. 2011. Cultural dimension of wolves in the Iberian Peninsula: Implications of ethnozoology in conservation biology. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research 24: 313–331.Google Scholar
- Anderson, C. 2010. Presenting and evaluating qualitative research. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 74: 141. Retrieved 15 February, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2987281/.
- Bazeley, P. 2009. Analysing qualitative data: More than identifying themes. Malaysian Journal of Qualitative Research 2: 6–22.Google Scholar
- Bazeley, P., and K. Jackson. 2013. Qualitative data analysis with NVivo. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Benejam, L., J. Carol, J. Benito, and E. García-Berthou. 2007. On the spread of the European catfish (Silurus glanis) in the Iberian Peninsula: First record in the Llobregat river basin. Limnetica 26: 169–171.Google Scholar
- Blackman, D., A. Corcoran, and S. Sarre. 2013. Are there really foxes: Where does the doubt emerge? Journal of Knowledge Management Practice 14. Retrieved 23 May, 2016, from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2241882.
- Bruno, S., and S. Maugeri. 1992. Guide of snakes of Europe. Barcelona: Ediciones Omega (in Spanish).Google Scholar
- Cabral, M., J. Almeida, P.R. Almeida, T. Dellinger, N. Ferrand de Almeida, E. Oliveira, J.M. Palmeirim, A.I. Queiroz, et al. 2005. Red book of vertebrates in Portugal. Lisbon: Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas (in Portuguese).Google Scholar
- Campion-Vincent, V. 1990b. Stories of viper releases. A contemporary French legend. Ethnologie Française 20: 143–155 (in French).Google Scholar
- Campion-Vincent, V. 2005. The restoration of wolves in France: Story, conflicts and use of rumour. In Mad about wildlife: Looking at social conflict over wildlife, ed. A. Herda-Rapp and T.L. Goedeke, 99–122. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
- DAISIE—Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. 2009. Sylvilagus floridanus. In European Invasive Alien Species Gateway. Retrieved 22 February, 2015, from http://www.europe-aliens.org/speciesFactsheet.do?speciesId=52904.
- Delibes-Mateos, M., and A. Delibes. 2013. Pets becoming established in the wild: Free-living Vietnamese potbellied pigs in Spain. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation 36: 209–215.Google Scholar
- Goedeke, T.L. 2005. Devils, angels or animals: The social construction of otters in conflict over management. In Mad about wildlife: Looking at social conflict over wildlife, ed. A. Herda-Rapp and T.L. Goedeke, 25–50. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
- Herda-Rapp, A., and T.L. Goedeke. 2005. Mad about wildlife: Looking at social conflict over wildlife. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
- Kapferer, J.N. 1990. Rumours. The oldest media in the world. Seuil (in French): Paris.Google Scholar
- Larson, B. 2011. Metaphors for environmental sustainability: Redefining our Relationship with Nature. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- López, C. 2013. A pest of mountain rabbits devastates vineyards in Gata de Gorgos. Lasprovincias.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 May, 2016, from http://www.lasprovincias.es/v/20130425/alicante/plaga-conejos-montana-arrasa-20130425.html.
- Low, T. 2003. Feral future: The untold story of Australia’s exotic invaders. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- MAGRAMA. 2015. Preview of the annual book of statistics about farming, feeding and environment 2014. Madrid: MAGRAMA (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 May, 2016, from http://www.magrama.gob.es/estadistica/pags/anuario/2014-Avance/AE_2014_Avance.pdf.
- Miles, M.B., and A.M. Huberman. 1994. Qualitative data analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Morgan, H., and K. Tucker. 1984. Rumor!. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Palomo, L.J., J. Gisbert, and J.C. Blanco. 2007. Atlas and red book of terrestrial mammals in Spain. Madrid: Dirección General para la Biodiversidad-SECEM-SECEMU (in Spanish).Google Scholar
- Peacock, D. 2009. The grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis in Adelaide, south Australia: Its introduction and eradication. The Victorian Naturalist 126: 150–155.Google Scholar
- QSR International. 2015. NVivo 10. Retrieved 15 February, 2016, from http://www.qsrinternational.com/.
- Radford, B., J. Nickell, and L. Coleman. 2006. Lake monster mysteries: Investigating the world’s most elusive creatures. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.Google Scholar
- Sidorovich, V.E., L.L. Tikhomirova, and B. Jedrzejewska. 2003. Wolf Canis lupus numbers, diet and damage to livestock in relation to hunting and ungulate abundance in northeastern Belarus during 1990–2000. Wildlife Biology 9: 103–111.Google Scholar
- Singleton, G.R., L.A. Hinds, C.J. Krebs, and D.M. Spratt. 2003. Rats, mice and people: Rodent biology and management. Canberra: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.Google Scholar
- Villafuerte, R., and M. Delibes-Mateos. 2008. The rabbit. In Atlas and red book of terrestrial mammals in Spain, ed. L.J. Palomo, J. Gisbert, and J.C. Blanco, 490–491. Madrid: Dirección General para la Biodiversidad-SECEM- SECEMU (in Spanish).Google Scholar
- Viñuela, J., J.J. Luque, J.A. Fargallo, P. Olea, A. Paz, and F. Mougeot. 2010. Conflicts between farming and biodiversity conservation. Vole pests in Castilla y León. In Family agriculture in Spain 2010, ed. Unión de Pequeños Agriculturores y Ganaderos, 199–206. Madrid: Unión de Pequeños Agricultures y Ganaderos (in Spanish).Google Scholar
- Zaldivar, C. 2006. The reptiles of La Rioja: Geographic distribution, gossips and legends. Páginas de Información Ambiental 24: 24–27 (in Spanish).Google Scholar