Exploring the interactions of wildlife and rural communities in Carara National Park, Costa Rica
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Park officials at Carara National Park, Costa Rica, face considerable challenges. They believe poaching has become a significant threat to the park’s biodiversity and that their enforcement measures, largely due to limited funds, are inadequate. Through family-level interviews in six communities surrounding Carara National Park, this study aims to understand the dynamics of poaching by identifying animals at risk of poaching and identifying communities to target future enforcement measures. Interviews inquired about interactions with wildlife, perceived populations of wildlife, sale of wildlife, opinions towards hunting, and observed hunting activities. Summary statistics, CART modeling and probit regressions are used to analyze the data. Results indicate hunting is not prevalent in terms of the number of families that hunt. However, these families can still have significant impacts on wildlife populations with poaching occurring for both subsistence and market-oriented reasons. Two potential community sets are identified as areas to target enforcement. Based on the number of reported families engaging in hunting, enforcement should be targeted in Bijagual and Tárcoles. However, exploring truthfulness through CART and probit regression analysis indicates enforcement should be targeted in El Sur and La Hacienda. Ultimately, future enforcement measures will be determined by Carara officials. Although potential target communities are identified and management practices such as ecotourism and community-based management are potentially viable avenues for reducing poaching, the park faces considerable challenges for enforcement due to its limited financial capabilities.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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