Human disease hinders anti-poaching efforts in Indian nature reserves

Velho, Nandini, Srinivasan, Umesh, Prashanth, N.S, and Laurance, William F. (2011) Human disease hinders anti-poaching efforts in Indian nature reserves. Biological Conservation, 144 (9). pp. 2382-2385.

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Where hunting pressure is high, anti-poaching efforts are often crucial for protecting native wildlife populations in nature reserves. However, many reserves suffer from inadequate support and provisioning of staff, especially in developing nations. In Pakke Tiger Reserve in northeastern India, we found that malarial infection is a serious hindrance for front-line patrolling staff that limits the time they can spend in the field. We assessed the consequences of malaria both for local people and park staff in the general region and its indirect effects on wildlife protection. To accomplish this we compiled data from annual epidemiological records of malaria, the number of malaria cases and associated mortality, financial costs, and loss of time spent patrolling. Over a 4-year period (2006–2009), the majority (71%) of forest department staff in Pakke Tiger Reserve suffered from malaria. Malaria treatments cost park managers nearly 3% of their total budget and caused a net loss of 44,160 man hours of anti-poaching effort. The government forest and health departments involved in the employment and health of park staff have separate missions and responsibilities, yet our findings show that a multi-disciplinary approach to conservation is essential to avoid overall systemic failure.

Item ID: 18777
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2917
Keywords: India; malaria; Pakke Tiger Reserve; park management; poaching; protected areas
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2011 06:38
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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