Showing posts from August, 2014

Why farmers who want to shoot lions and wolves can’t be bribed

This is an article I wrote for The Conversation on 26 August 2014:
Bribery won’t stop Sweden’s wolf hunters

Conservationists have recently become very excited about financial incentives. The idea is to pay people to do things that will help biodiversity, for example, where farmers are paid not to till crops that reduce soil erosion or where landowners are given money to plant trees to capture carbon in the atmosphere.

This technique, considered by some as bribery to do what you want, has actually changed environmental behaviour for the better in some significant instances.

“Great”, I hear conservationists say, “let’s pay everyone to do exactly what we want!” The possibilities are endless: we could give farmers money to set aside land for nature, we could make fishing more sustainable, or we could reward people to not kill threatened predators. There are, however, problems with the system behind paying people to do things that they wouldn’t normally do, not least because sometimes money ca…

Trophy hunting is not poaching and can help conserve wildlife

Taken from my article published on The Conversation

There has been a huge increase in attention recently to the problem of wildlife poaching, mostly from the stream of grisly stories from Africa about rhino and elephants illegally killed for their horn and ivory. At the same time there has been a growing awareness of trophy hunting, with pictures of hunters, sometimes minor celebrities, posing next to their kill prompting furious outcry. But these two forms of wildlife are being wrongly lumped together. Despite both resulting in an animal’s death, they are entirely different.

Poaching is the illegal killing of wildlife, undertaken for reasons that may include revenge, meat for food or sale, tradition or money. Poachers might be poor locals from the area to foreigners capitalising on the lucrative illegal wildlife trade. By contrast, trophy hunting is the entirely legal killing of wildlife, often carried out by rich foreigners for sport and enjoyment. Both result in one animal fewer in t…