Saturday, December 9, 2006

Understanding the Cuddle Factor

Here's a site you may or may not agree with. The "cuddle factor" affects some cat lovers, too. It affects many logical people who'd otherwise demand the elimination of feral cats for their devastating predation on our bird populations. Can you say enablers?
People are readily drawn to red foxes—those dainty, furry animals with endearing faces. Some people are struck by their smallness and others are engaged by their intelligent or inquisitive eyes. Whether this is labeled anthropomorphic (ascribing human traits to an animal), a subjective response, or just plain "cuddle factor," people respond to warm, furry animals. Show people pictures of a red fox and a drab, but endangered, chicken-sized bird and most will immediately respond to the fox.

It is natural for people to react emotionally to wildlife. Wildlife managers also respond with feelings to the natural world and is likely one of the reasons they have chosen their profession. But because it is their mission to protect all fish, wildlife, and native ecosystems, they must temper their feelings with good science and consistent management ethics, a tough path where there is often little room to indulge the cuddle factor.

No comments: