Understanding Conservationists' Perspectives Concerning the Ethical Dilemmas Associated with Declines in African Vulture Populations

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Several African vulture populations are declining due to anthropogenic causes. This research explored viewpoints of conservationists to identify ethical dilemmas and extrapolate potential solutions that balance the needs of African vultures and the welfare of impacted societies. The methodology consisted of two parts: A Q-Methodology activity and a semi-structured interview. The Q-Methodology activity used statements in a ranked system to discover what the participants prioritized. The semi-structured interview allowed for an in-depth understanding as to why the respondents ranked the statements as they did. These steps addressed not only what the subjects believed, but why they believed it, a key element in uncovering the ethical standpoints of the respondents. One major finding demonstrated that overall, participants held a deontological (duty-driven) viewpoint that fuels them to pursue conservation work. Exploring views of conservationists familiar with the African vulture declines is the first step to creating ethical policies to save the vultures.