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Understanding stakeholders’ opinions and preferences for non-native pet trade management in Florida

Episcopio-Sturgeon, Diane J., Pienaar, Elizabeth F.
Human dimensions of wildlife 2019 v.24 no.1 pp. 46-60
attitudes and opinions, compliance, decision making, interviews, invasive species, issues and policy, pets, risk, stakeholders, trade, Florida
There is growing recognition of the link between the non-native pet trade and the introduction and establishment of invasive species due to the release and escape of non-native pets. However, it is unclear whether participants in the pet trade recognize the magnitude of this invasion risk. Successful mitigation of the pet trade invasion risk requires stakeholder support for, and participation in, regulations. We conducted 29 interviews in Florida to investigate key stakeholders’ opinions about the pet trade invasion risk and the effectiveness of potential regulations to mitigate this risk. Respondents framed the effectiveness of regulations in terms of their feasibility. Respondents also identified lack of trust and the existence of an adversarial relationship among stakeholder groups as major barriers to managing the pet trade invasion risk. Compliance with regulations may be improved if policy makers and managers utilize participatory decision-making to engage stakeholders in management of this risk.