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Understanding complex drivers of wildlife crime to design effective conservation interventions

In conservation understanding the drivers of behavior and developing robust interventions to promote behavioral change is challenging and requires a multifaceted approach. This is particularly true for efforts to address illegal wildlife use, where pervasive and sometimes simplistic narratives often obscure complex realities. We used an indirect questioning approach, the unmatched count technique, to investigate the drivers and prevalence of wildlife crime in communities surrounding 2 national parks in Uganda and combined scenario interviews and a choice experiment to predict the performance of potential interventions designed to tackle these crimes. Although poverty is often assumed to be a key driver of wildlife crime, we found that better-off households and those subject to human-wildlife conflict and those that do not receive any benefits from the parks' tourism revenue sharing were more likely to be involved in certain types of wildlife crime, especially illegal hunting. The interventions predicted to have the greatest impact on reducing local participation in wildlife crime were those that directly addressed the drivers including, mitigating damage caused by wildlife and generating financial benefits for park-adjacent households. Our triangulated approach provided insights into complex and hard-to-access behaviors and highlighted the importance of going beyond single-driver narratives.

This journal article is not available for free online, however, you may request the full text for free via Research Gate: www.researchgate.net/publication/332327330

Publication information

  • External: X00215
  • Published: Apr 2019 - Wiley
  • Area: Uganda
  • Themes: Biodiversity, Poverty
  • Source pub: Conversation Biology
  • Language: English

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Henry Travers, Lucy J. Archer, Geoffrey Mwedde, Dilys Roe, Julia Baker, Andrew J. Plumptre, Aggrey Rwetsiba and E.J. Milner-Gulland (2019) Understanding complex drivers of wildlife crime to design effective conservation interventions. Conservation Biology. First published online in April 2019 https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13330

Project information

International wildlife crime has moved to the top of the conservation and development agenda following the recent surge in illegal poaching and trafficking of wildlife. But calls for law enforcement to combat the involvement of criminal syndicates and militia risk alienating rural communities. How can responses be more pro-poor? This project aimed to build capacity for pro-poor responses in Uganda through learning more about the interactions between wildlife crime and poverty.

More at www.iied.org:
Building capacity for pro-poor responses to wildlife crime in Uganda

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