Too Many Deer!
A Case Study in Managing Urban Deer Herds
Department of Biological Sciences
Western Illinois University
A town meeting is the setting for this case study in which students explore the topics of overpopulation, bioethics, and management of urban wildlife. The case makes use of role playing, small group discussion, interrupted case techniques, and critical analytical reflective papers to enable students to examine a common urban forest management problem. Hidden within the examination of making decisions about deer herds is a set of questions that brings out the scientific method and its application. Although developed for a non-majors biology course, by restructuring some of the activities and asking different questions the case could be successfully used in an introductory biology course for majors, an ecology course, a conservation biology seminar, or a course on bioethics.
- To experience and explore a situation in which science, management, and the public all interconnect.
- To examine the negative effects of a species on its ecosystem.
- To identify and evaluate the feasibility of alternative solutions and consider the practical difficulties of making and implementing decisions within the context of multiple stakeholders.
- To explore the interface between bioethics and planning based on scientific information.
- To apply the scientific method by identifying the problem, identifying possible solutions, seeking additional information, and making a decision about which possible solution should be applied.
KeywordsUrban wildlife; deer; wildlife management; overpopulation; conservation; bioethics
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type MethodsPublic Hearing, Role-Play, Dilemma/Decision
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Ecology | Wildlife Management |
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