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A Model of Incentives for the Illegal Exploitation of Black Rhinos and Elephants: Poaching Pays in Luangwa Valley, Zambia
E. J. Milner-Gulland and N. Leader-Williams
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 29, No. 2 (1992), pp. 388-401
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2404508
Page Count: 14
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1. The decline of Africa's rhinos and elephants over the past decade has alarmed conservationists, yet little is known about the interaction between law enforcement and the economic incentives for illegal exploitation. This study models the relationships between financial gains, detection and penalties for poaching rhinos and elephants in Luangwa Valley, Zambia during 1979-85. 2. We explore how sentencing strategies affect the decisions of poachers in relation to changes in detection rate, penalty and economic variables. We show that a penalty which varies with the output of a poacher is, in theory, a more effective tool against poaching than a fixed penalty. However, the probability of capture is a highly significant factor in the poacher's decision to hunt. 3. The incentives to poach are modelled for an open access situation, the industry structure for a local poacher, and for a monopolist who employs organized gangs. Organized and local gangs have very different reactions to law enforcement. Local poachers will respond to local investment schemes, but the deterrence of organized gangs can only be achieved with improved law enforcement operations.
Journal of Applied Ecology © 1992 British Ecological Society