Law enforcement staff perceptions of illegal hunting and wildlife conservation in the Gonarezhou National Park, southeast Zimbabwe

E. Gandiwa, P. Zisadza-Gandiwa, L. Mango, J. Jakarasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Globally, pressure from the illegal harvesting of wildlife is a recurrent issue for protected area management. In order to ensure the effective conservation of wildlife resources, law enforcement has been identified as one of the most important components of protected area management. Our study aimed at addressing the following two research questions: (1) what are the perceptions of law enforcement staff in Gonarezhou National Park (GNP), Zimbabwe, about illegal hunting practices, illegal hunter’s characteristics, wild animals commonly targeted and trends of poaching in the park; and, (2) what are the suggestions for reducing illegal hunting and enhancing wildlife conservation in GNP ecosystem? Data were collected using a semistructured questionnaire administered through interviews from 42 law enforcement staff representing 47 % of the total law enforcement staff in GNP from February to May 2011. Our results showed that 76 % (n = 32) of the patrol rangers perceived that most illegal hunters were between 21 and 30 years. Nearly all respondents (95 %; n = 40) reported that most poachers were residents of villages situated within 20 km from the boundary of GNP. Medium to large wild herbivores were reportedly the most illegally animal hunted species whilst large carnivores were the least illegally hunted animals. Most of the respondents (79 %, n = 33) perceived that poaching activities had declined in GNP ecosystem between 2005 and 2010 due to an increase in arrests. Increasing conservation awareness and education in adjacent communal areas would help to further reduce illegal hunting and promote wildlife conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
JournalTropical Ecology
Volume55
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • protected areas
  • communities adjacent
  • management
  • serengeti
  • tanzania
  • campfire
  • biodiversity
  • performance
  • abundance
  • impacts

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