Dossier: hunting and human-wildlife conflict.
Hunting is a topic that attracts polarised viewpoints. But as Mark Rowe demonstrates, when it comes to limiting human-wildlife conflict and to wider conservation measures, it’s not always so simple.
Mention ‘hunting’ and most of us think of poaching – primarily for ivory and the demands of Chinese medicine – or trophy hunting (see maps below); and the unpalatable image of a triumphant (usually) white Westerner straddling a dead, charismatic mammal. But the issue is a much wider and more nuanced one.
Jun 05, 2020
Most laws ignore human-wildlife conflict—this makes us vulnerable to pandemics.
Never before have we seen how the human use of wildlife can yield such catastrophe, as we have with COVID-19.
Apr 10, 2020
Periyar Tiger Reserve.
A Trendsetter in Converting Poachers to Protectors
Then a range forest officer with Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Kerala, Raju K. Francis still remembers that distant afternoon in 1994, when he arrested elusive forest brigand Aruvi from a hideout near an ancient cave in Theni district of Tamil Nadu, where local gangs used to hide smuggled sandalwood. Aruvi was the leader of a 23-member team of wildlife poachers and sandalwood smugglers operating from K.G. Patti, Varusanadu and Lower Gudalur regions of Theni, which were around 20 kilometres from PTR.
Mar 10, 2020
Poaching and the problem with conservation in Africa (commentary).
Across Africa, state-led anti-poaching forces, no matter how well funded and equipped, have been unable to curtail the high levels of poaching currently observed.
Poaching is a complex topic that cannot be solved by myopic, top-down enforcement approaches. Crime syndicates may be fuelling the poaching of elephant and rhino but they are not the source of the problem. Rather than treat the symptoms by spending millions on weapons and anti-poaching forces, which experience has repeatedly shown does not stop poaching, there is a need to understand the underlying causes of the poaching problem if it is to be solved.
Devolving power and benefits to local communities will enable local communities to acquire full responsibility for anti-poaching operations, which they are much better positioned to do than external agencies who do not have the social networks and local knowledge needed to effectively perform oversight functions in the local area. As witnessed in the Luangwa Valley and Namibian conservancies, there is every likelihood that there will be a significant decline in poaching once community conservation is properly implemented.
Mar 09, 2020