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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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   Table of Contents - Current issue
July-September 2021
Volume 19 | Issue 3
Page Nos. 139-203

Online since Monday, August 30, 2021

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Rhinos as “The Mine” and the Fugitive Meanings of Illegal Wildlife Hunting p. 139
Rebecca Witter
Most scholarship and policy documentation that examines the problem of “rhino poaching” assumes that the potential for economic gain drives impoverished people to hunt threatened and endangered wildlife illegally. The amount of money illegal hunters can extract from the lethal trade in rhinoceros' horn is extraordinary. Yet, the provocation of one convicted hunter, who referred to rhinos as “the mine” (as in a gold mine) reveals complicated meanings underneath and adjoined to monetary explanations. In the transfrontier region comprising the Kruger and Limpopo National Parks, men have responded to colonial and post-colonial dispossession through institutions of migrant labour. When dispossessed mine labourers developed the wealth of southern African colonial states, they salvaged for themselves, economic benefits, status, and dignity. In the post-colonial context, the protection of threatened species forecloses opportunities for migrant labour and generates the need for “peripheral” or illegal labour. The killing of protected wildlife to trade in their parts enables hunters to extract money, cultural continuity, and dignity from the very processes that impoverish and dispossess them. Improved understandings of people's motivations to hunt wildlife illegally necessitate theorisations that are more explicitly co-produced, derived from and responsive to the people living (and dying) with conservation by dispossession.
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Engaging End-Users to Maximise Uptake and Effectiveness of a New Species Recovery Assessment: The IUCN Green Status of Species p. 150
Molly K Grace, Hannah L Timmins, Elizabeth L Bennett, Barney Long, EJ Milner-Gulland, Nigel Dudley
When developing a novel conservation assessment, tradeoffs between generality and precision, and between realism and simplicity, will inevitably need to be made. Engaging potential end-users during development can help developers navigate these tradeoffs to maximise uptake. End-user engagement can also produce feedback about external perceptions, allowing changes to be made prior to the final design. Here, we report on end-user consultations about the species recovery assessment method introduced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is a new component of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This species recovery assessment was originally called the 'Green List of Species.' We conducted two types of end-user consultation over a two-year period—1) key informant interviews, and 2) technical consultations about the details of the assessment method, including identification of factors that increased the amount of time required to conduct an assessment. A main finding from the key informant interviews was that the name 'Green List of Species' was inappropriate for the assessment, given the potential for misunderstanding the scope of the assessment and potential confusion with the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas. We therefore proposed the name 'Green Status of Species', a suggestion accepted by IUCN. A repeated concern in key informant interviews was the perception that the species recovery assessments were complex, indicating a potential tradeoff between scientific rigour and simplicity. To address this concern, we used feedback from the technical consultations to identify assessment steps which were most in need of refinement, and implemented solutions and made recommendations to streamline those steps (e.g., we found that the number of spatial units used in an assessment was positively correlated with assessment time, and increased greatly when more than 15 spatial units were used). This process of end-user engagement makes it much more likely that the Green Status of Species will be used in conservation communication, monitoring, and decision-making—helping achieve the ultimate goal of biodiversity recovery.
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Conservation's All about Having a Blether and Getting People on Board: Exploring Cooperation for Conservation in Scotland p. 161
Sam Staddon
A 'blether' is a colloquial Scottish term signifying 'a lengthy chat between friends', and this paper draws its inspiration from the conservationist who suggested that 'having a blether' and 'getting people on board' is what conservation is all about. Contributing to scholarship on conservation conflict and on convivial conservation, this paper explores the 'who', 'where' and 'when' of 'having a blether', seeking to understand what might cultivate and contribute to cooperative relations between conservationists and other land-managers. It draws on feminist political ecology and anthropologies of conservation to provide a framework with which to unpack the personal, spatial and temporal dimensions of conservation relationships, and applies this to a case study in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. Considering the 'who' in conservation relations, led to looking beyond professional affiliations to highlight the importance of intersectional identities and interests, as expressed through personal connections and emotions. Considering the 'where' of cooperation for conservation, so-called 'informal' and 'everyday spaces' were found to be highly significant as shared sites in which productive relationships can be built. Considering the 'when' of conservation relations revealed their emergent nature, and of the building of understanding and appreciation through shared pasts and experiences. This paper promotes the need to open up and move beyond stereotyped stakeholder groups, to consider what promotes not only commonalities but also appreciation of differences. It also draws attention to the political and structural forces that mediate conservation relations and shutdown opportunities for greater cooperation and inclusivity. Ultimately, this paper highlights the need for dialogue and for listening to diverse others with care and attention, seeing the ideal and practice of 'having a blether' and 'getting people on board' as a way to promote cooperative – or convivial – conservation.
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A Review of the Role of Law and Policy in Human-Wildlife Conflict p. 172
Katie Woolaston, Emily Flower, Julia van Velden, Steven White, Georgette Leah Burns, Clare Morrison
Interactions between people and wildlife are often mediated by laws, policies, and other governance instruments with profound implications for species conservation. Despite its importance for conservation practice, governance of these human-wildlife relationships is an under-researched area. Our research aim was to understand the link between law/policy and human-wildlife conflict (HWC) and the implications for species conservation using a systematic quantitative review of the literature on the human dimensions of HWC. We identified 133 relevant HWC studies, conducted in 45 countries, involving 114 species. Over 80% of the articles mentioned law, mainly national-level legislation, with little reference to customary or tribal law. However, only 40%, stated whether the laws had influenced the HWC—most reported negative associations with HWC or a mix of positive and negative associations. The perceived ineffectiveness of law was primarily attributed to lack of implementation, support, and enforcement and perceived erroneous laws. The few positive associations included stakeholder involvement, management flexibility, and adequate compensation. Our findings reveal a knowledge deficit on the detailed effects of law on HWC and conservation conflicts in general. Overall, law as an institution seems to exacerbate or prolong most conflicts instead of providing a pathway to coexistence and enhancing species conservation.
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Domesticating the Exotic? An Online Survey of Attitudes towards the International Wildlife Pet Trade p. 184
Andrea Contina, Christopher E Anderson, David C Hille, William F Oakley, Eli S Bridge, Jeffrey F Kelly, Haley O Smith, Jennifer Koch, Lori L Jervis
There are a variety of perspectives on wildlife management and conservation, necessitating interdisciplinary research to develop better management strategies. We answered the call to action provided by Teel et al. (2018) to integrate social sciences into conservation and explored an important but understudied issue: views on the international pet-trade of exotic animals. Some pet owners advocate the pet trade as a means to promote conservation, where removing wild animals from their natural habitat could protect them from degraded environments. To gauge how prevalent this attitude is in a cross-national sample, we conducted an online survey that asked 882 participants worldwide to evaluate the pet trade and its relationship with biological conservation. Overall, our survey results showed regional patterns and indicated that younger respondents were more likely to consider international pet trade as a form of acceptable conservation practice compared to older respondents. Education also played a role in shaping views on the pet-trade and indicated that respondents with higher education degrees were less prone to accept pet trade as a substitute for conservation practices. Our research provides novel insights applicable to education programmes and international conservation efforts while highlighting variation in attitudes even among professionals with formal training in natural sciences and ecology.
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Can Philanthropy Enable Collective Action to Conserve Rivers? Insights from a Decade of Collaboration in the Colorado River Basin p. 190
Gina G Gilson, Dustin E Garrick
Philanthropy plays an important but often invisible role in conserving rivers. We examine the influence of philanthropy on collective action and collaborative governance within the Colorado River Basin, a region where philanthropic support has been growing to achieve conservation objectives. Our short communication combines financial data, interviews, and documentary evidence to capture the opportunities and risks associated with philanthropy's increasing role. Financial expenditures are substantial, averaging $30.8 million USD per year from six large foundations (2013-2019). This funding has enabled collective action, particularly at the basin level, by strengthening or creating new forums for collaboration and investing in technical expertise to equip a broader range of voices in decision-making. It has also favoured market-based strategies and discourses, created dependencies for smaller organisations, and, in some instances, reinforced structural barriers to participation. We recommend transparent reporting of philanthropic spending related to collective action and conservation governance, and argue that foundations should explicitly consider and address legacies of exclusion for marginalised actors and groups.
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Captive Markets p. 195
Sophie Haines
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A Path Towards the Future of Wildlife Conservation p. 197
Divya Karnad
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White People and the Animals they Love p. 199
Lisa Ann Richey
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Hunting in Malta: Illuminating a Dark Corner of European Politics of Conservation p. 202
Frédéric Keck
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