SLN Webinar: Using ranger-based monitoring data for predicting poaching pressure

We are pleased to invite you to our upcoming webinar on the topic of illegal hunting and wildlife conservation. The webinar will focus on the pressing issue of illegal hunting and its impact on large herbivores, specifically mountain ungulates. Despite increased conservation efforts, many species are still at risk of extinction, and more effective interventions are needed. Our speaker, Arash Ghoddousi, will share his research on analysing ranger-based monitoring data to inform adaptive management. He will present a case study from Golestan National Park, where they identified the main determinants of illegal hunting, such as accessibility, law enforcement, and prey availability. Our discussant, Munib Khanyari, will also share his insights on human-nature relationships in the Trans-Himalayan region of India.

The webinar is open to all and will take place on Tuesday, 11th April 2023 at 14:00 pm Bishkek time. We will discuss the important role of park rangers in wildlife conservation and how data collection can be used to make more effective decisions for conservation management.  We hope to see you there!

About the talk

Poaching is driving many species toward extinction and large herbivores such as mountain ungulates are particularly at risk. Despite ever-increasing conservation efforts worldwide to combat poaching, the status of many target species is alarming and more effective interventions are needed. One of the main requirements for effective conservation measures against poaching is robust predictions of its prevalence and distribution. However, this information is often lacking due to inconsistent or complex data collection approaches. One of the often-untapped sources of data is ranger-based monitoring. In many protected areas, rangers are tasked with patrolling areas and noting their sightings either in analogue (e.g., logbooks) or digital (e.g., GPS) formats. However, in most cases these data are left not analyzed, failing to support adaptive management and decision-making processes.

1401:032016:13C:2566:CAMERA1:3 Illegal hunting in Golestan NP

In this study, we aimed to address this issue and developed a workflow for analyzing data on poaching and wildlife detections from analogue logbooks in an occupancy modelling framework to inform adaptive management. We used Golestan National Park as the case study. We obtained logbook data from nine ranger stations from 2014-2016, and digitized and geolocated 4800 daily patrols. We tested three hypotheses of (1) accessibility, (2) law enforcement, and (3) prey availability as the main determinants of poaching. Our results revealed a low probability (12%) of poacher detection during patrols. Poaching distribution was best explained by prey availability (especially urial), indicating that poachers target areas with high concentrations of ungulates. Poaching pressure was estimated to be high in 39% of our study area. To alleviate poaching pressure, we recommend ramping up patrolling intensity in 12% of the national park. Our approach illustrates the value of analogue ranger logbooks for evidence-based and adaptive planning of protected area management.

DCIM101GOPRO Ranger Patrols in Golestan NP

About our Guests

Arash Ghoddousi is a research fellow at Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany.‚Äč His research interests lie in understanding the interaction of ecological and social factors in natural systems and how they impact the effectiveness of conservation interventions. The focus of his research is on understanding and improving the effectiveness of protected areas and law enforcement mechanisms, offering insight into human-wildlife conflict and poaching, as well as, improving methods of monitoring large mammals. Arash is particularly interested in the conservation of big cats and mountain ungulates with a special focus on southwest Asia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. He has close collaborations with conservation organizations around the world including various specialist groups of IUCN (e.g., Cat, Bear and Caprinae SGs), the Snow Leopard Network, and the Society for Conservation Biology – Europe Section.

Meet our discussant – Munib Khanyari – I recently completed my PhD that looked at investigating the impact of environmental and social factors on GIN transmission dynamics between interacting domestic and wild ungulates, exhibiting spatio-temporal dynamics, in temperate Asian rangelands. I now work with the Nature Conservation Foundation as a Program Manager. I work primarily across the Trans-Himalayan region of India, aiming to build positive human-nature relationships.

Date/Time

Tuesday, 11th April, 2023 at 14:00pm Bishkek time

Location

ZOOM, to join this talk, REGISTER HERE

Please note

  • If you have never used Zoom before, we recommend that you try the link 10 minutes before the start of the lecture.
  • Please feel free to write questions in the comment area and there will be time for questions/discussion at the end of the talk.
  • Please note that the session will be recorded and later featured on the SLN website. If you have concerns about this please let us know before the session.

Ranger patrols in Golestan NP

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