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Rangers can't be with every elephant: assessing rangers' perceptions of a community, problem-solving policing model for protected areas

  • William D. Moreto (a1) and Richard Charlton (a1)

Abstract

Recent studies have highlighted that illegal activities occurring within protected areas, including the poaching of fauna and flora, cannot be addressed with increased law enforcement alone. Moreover, research on the increasingly militarized nature of front-line conservation efforts has pointed to potentially detrimental aspects of such approaches. This has led to a shift in focus to identifying ways to further engage local communities in the prevention and reduction of wildlife crimes. However, few studies have examined the potential for changing the responsibilities of front-line conservation personnel or their views on such changes. Such insight is vital in forecasting the successful adoption of, or possible resistance towards, a more community-oriented policy. We examined rangers’ perceptions in Uganda to assess their attitudes towards traditional enforcement strategies and alternative, non-enforcement approaches for reducing illegal activities in protected areas. Our findings suggest that although respondents believed that traditional enforcement strategies (e.g. foot patrols) are important and effective in reducing wildlife crime, these strategies on their own were insufficient to address illegal activities. Study participants emphasized the importance of expanding the role of front-line rangers, in line with approaches suggested in the policing literature. We discuss the implications of our findings for transdisciplinary conservation science research and front-line conservation policy and practice.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

(Corresponding author) E-mail william.moreto@ucf.edu

References

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