Understanding the drivers of subsistence poaching in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area: what matters for community wildlife conservation?

Published online
04 Dec 2019
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Ntuli, H. & Sundström, A. & Sjöstedt, M. & Muchapondwa, E. & Jagers, S. C. & Linell, A.
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Africa South of Sahara & Limpopo & Mozambique & South Africa & Zimbabwe


While subsistence poaching is a large threat to wildlife conservation in Southern Africa, this behaviour is seldom researched. Individual and community level factors that really drive such behaviour are less understood because of both lack of data and literature's predominant focus on commercial poaching. To study the drivers of subsistence poaching, this article uses primary survey data from a large number of respondents and communities in the Great Limpopo, a transfrontier reserve spanning across Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. We focus on two features, reported poaching incidences in the community and the previous hunting behaviour of individuals, in multivariate regression analysis. There is no evidence of the role of education, employment and livestock ownership on poaching. However, speaking to previous theoretical accounts, our results suggest that factors such as age, gender, trust, group size, local institutions, resource quality and perceptions about park management influence subsistence poaching. The findings indicate that capacity building in local institutions, training related to wildlife management and public awareness campaigns could be used by policymakers to affect peoples' perceptions and behaviours in this context.

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