Background

Awareness Raising Programme 2013.
Illegal fiber at El Alto, Bolivia.
A Conservancy Rhino Ranger stands proudly before a cow and calf that he has tracked during a patrol.

 

COMMUNITIES TACKLING WILDLIFE CRIME: WHAT WORKS?

It is well-recognised that there is no simple solution to tackling wildlife crime. There is, however, growing recognition among practitioners and policy makers of the need to engage rural communities that neighbour or live with wildlife as key partners.

By virtue of their proximity to, and knowledge of wildlife, local people are well placed to participate in, or support, poaching and illegal trade. And sometimes the incentives to do just this are very strong – especially when there are few perceived benefits from engaging in conservation, or even costs associated with living close to wildlife.

But local knowledge also means that local communities are exceptionally well placed to detect, report on, and help prevent wildlife crime. If the incentive structures are right – whether they are financial, cultural or other types of incentives - communities can be highly motivated to be the first line of defence against wildlife crime.

Details of how and where community-level interventions should be implemented and how effective they are in tackling wildlife crime are, however, vague. There is no one-size-fits-all model. This database of case studies is a first step in trying to assemble evidence and examples of what works – and what doesn’t - and why.

Read more on IIED and partners’ work on engaging communities to tackle wildlife crime.