Probing rural poachers in Africa : Why do they poach ?
– Researchers interviewed 173 self-admitted rural poachers living in the margins of Ruaha National Park in Tanzania to understand why they harvest bushmeat.
– While poverty was a major factor, not all poachers were destitute; a sizeable proportion say they poach to supplement their income.
– How the villagers view their financial status compared to others reflected their poaching activities.
– Conservation strategies should adopt a multidimensional approach to target those who are well-off in addition to the poor, according to the researchers.
top-down measures relying on increasing patrols, arrests, and penalties through law enforcement may be sufficient to prevent poachers who poach to earn extra income, but they will be ineffective for those who do so to meet basic needs, the authors said. Also, if poachers from poor households have to face jail time or penalties, they may lose a significant source of livelihood, forcing other family members to take up poaching.