Mangalane community's perceptions of poverty as a factors influence involvement in Rhino poaching : a case of Mozambique

Vundla, Nelisiwe Lynette (2019-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) involves the illicit purchase, movement and exchange of wildlife specimens as commodities within and across national boundaries. The illicit trade of wildlife is one of the largest threats to the survival of species, including rhinoceros and elephant populations in the wild, and has negative implications on the stability of national economies. Literature states that the limited research at different levels of the illicit chains makes the trade difficult to disrupt. On the one hand, scholars argue that poverty is a driver for involvement in illegal wildlife. On the other hand, some scholars suggest that IWT is driven by growth of wealth in the consumer countries in south-east Asia thus raising the demand for illegal products. This paper aims to understand the socio-economic drivers motivating poor communities, such as Mangalane in Mozambique, to become involved in IWT. The purpose is to understand the community’s perception to identify some key challenges that research conservation projects have not explicitly addressed. Ultimately, this paper contributes to understanding some intervention gaps from the perspective of the community to address IWT. The participants were randomly selected but excluded persons under the age of 16 years as they are regarded as minors according to Mozambique law. The study acknowledged the sensitivity of rhinoceros poaching issues which may challenge the reasoning capacity of minors or threaten their social security. A total of 119 surveys were collected of 480 households (25%) from four out of five villages of the Mangalane community located in Mozambique near the southeast border of South Africa’s Kruger National Park (KNP). A participatory focus group session followed to assist in explaining some of the findings to ensure that the community participated in the interpretation of data. The study found that poverty of income has negative implications on wildlife, but mainly wildlife that is necessary for substance consumption, or trade, to supplement household income. The poaching of high value species such as rhino has no immediate use for the community, yet some individuals are involved. Although the community may be collectively defined as poor, poverty levels differ within one community and there are also more affluent individuals within a poor community. These affluent members are more likely to participate in poaching as one must be resourced to participate in poaching. Generally, poor people do not like poachers because they threaten the social security of the community as poachers are also linked to other crimes in the community such as cattle theft and human trafficking. Poor people like wildlife, however, the community’s tolerance of wildlife is very low when the cost of living with it exceeds the benefits received therefrom. The community also expressed a strongly felt need to be granted natural resource use rights. The community is positive towards the protected area and policies, but has a problem with the way policies are implemented, arguing that they are biased toward certain members of the community who are repeat offenders but are allowed to return to the community without prosecution. Furthermore, policies are enforced and not communicated resulting in conflict between law enforcement officials and community members. The community is willing to work with park rangers, but argue that they also need to support safety and security in the community as the community also assists in reporting poaching suspects. In conclusion, poverty is not the absolute motivator for involvement in IWT. Rather, poaching can be a result of a political protest for the use of natural resource and the lack of understanding of conservation laws and retaliation against protected areas due to unfulfilled promises. The absence of proactive human-wildlife conflict management strategies demotivates the community from reporting suspected illegal activity. The investment in anti-poaching raises curiosity within communities about the value of rhino horn in that protected areas make huge investments for protective measures and criminal syndicates are prepared to die to access rhinoceros horn, but the local community is deprived of the wealth. Local communities do not take likely to poaching or poachers, but what is good for wildlife, such as security, must also be good for the community. Wealthy criminal syndicates create fear and social unrest within the community. Fundamentally, under capacitated and under resourced law enforcement officials perpetuate negative relationship between the community and the protected area as they are unable to respond to safety concerns in the community. Apart from benefiting from wildlife, HWC has to be reduced and people must be able to enjoy the protected area so that they understand what they are protecting. Protected areas are at risk of being globally relevant and locally irrelevant as local communities are unable to enjoy the facilities on a daily basis. The researcher urges the consideration of reintegrative shaming approaches which aim to reintegrate offenders as good members of society through positive communication and respect while acknowledging wrong doing.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Onwettige wildhandel (IWT) behels die ongewettigde aankoop, verskuiwing en verhandeling van spesies wilde diere, as handelsware, binne en oor nasionale grense. Die onwettige handel met wild is een van die grootste bedreigings vir oorlewing van spesies, insluitende renoster- en olifantbevolkings in die natuur, en dit hou ook negatiewe implikasies vir die stabiliteit van nasionale ekonomieë in. Dit staan op rekord dat die beperkte navorsing op verskillende vlakke van dié ongewettigde handelsketting dit moeilik maak om die handel te ontwrig. Aan die een kant redeneer ingeligtes dat armoede die dryfveer vir betrokkenheid is, maar aan die ander kant meen sommige weer dit is te wyte aan die toename in rykdom in die verbruikerslande in suidoos Asië dat die aanvraag na onwettige produkte die hoogte ingejaag word. Hierdie studie probeer om begrip aan die dag te lê vir die sosio-ekonomiese dryfvere wat arm gemeenskappe, soos Mangalane in Mosambiek, motiveer om by IWT betrokke te raak. Die doel is om begrip te toon vir die gemeenskap se persepsie om een of ander sleuteluitdaging te identifiseer wat navorsingsbewaringsprojekte nie duidelik aangespreek het nie. Per slot van rekening dra hierdie studie by tot begrip van sommige intervensiegapings, gesien uit die perspektief van die gemeenskap, om IWT aan te spreek. Die deelnemers is lukraak gekies, maar diegene onder ouderdom 16 is uitgesluit aangesien hulle volgens wet in Mosambiek as minderjariges beskou word. Die studie het die sensitiwiteit van renosterstropingsaangeleenthede erken wat moontlik die redenasievermoë van minderjariges kan aanroep, of hulle maatskaplike sekerheid kan bedreig. Altesaam 119 opnames is in vier dorpe van die Mangalane-gemeenskap gedoen, wat teen die suidoostelike grens van Suid-Afrika se Kruger Nasionalepark in Mosambiek geleë is. Deelnemende fokusgroepe was byderhand om hulp te verleen met die breedvoeriger verduideliking van sommige van die bevindings om sodoende te verseker dat die gemeenskap deel was van die interpretasie van data. Die studie het bevind dat tekort aan inkomste ’n negatiewe implikasie op wildlewe het, maar hoofsaaklik op wildlewe wat vir substansie-verbruik, of handel om huishoudelike inkomste aan te vul, benodig word. Die stroop van spesies van hoë waarde, soos die renoster, het geen onmiddellike gebruik vir die gemeenskap nie, hoewel sommige individue wel daarby betrokke is. Hoewel die gemeenskap in die geheel as arm beskou word, verskil armoedevlakke binne een gemeenskap en daar is ook meer welgestelde individue binne ’n arm gemeenskap. Daar is ’n groter waarskynlikheid dat hierdie gegoede lede deel sal hê aan stropery aangesien finansiële vermoëndheid daarvoor ’n noodsaaklikheid vir stropery is. Oor die algemeen hou arm mense nie van stropers nie, aangesien hulle sosiale sekuriteit binne die gemeenskap bedreig en ook met ander geringer misdade, soos beesdiefstal, verbind word. Arm mense hou van wild, maar die gemeenskap se toleransie daarvoor is baie laag wanneer die lewenskoste om daarmee saam te leef die voordele wat daarvoor ontvang kan word, oortref. Die gemeenskap het ook ’n sterk behoefte vir die gebruiksregte van natuurlike hulpbronne uitgespreek. Die gemeenskap hou van die beskermde gebied en beleid, maar het ’n probleem met die wyse waarop die beleid toegepas word. Hulle voer aan dat hulle bevooroordeeld teenoor sekere lede van die gemeenskap is, wat gewoonte-oortreders is en toegelaat word om na die gemeenskap terug te keer sonder dat vervolging ingestel word. Die gemeenskap is grotendeels tevrede met veldwagters, maar meen dat hulle sterker behoort te staan teenoor veiligheid en sekuriteit in die gemeenskap aangesien die gemeenskap hulle kant bring met die uitwys van verdagte stropers. Ten slotte, armoede is nie die absolute motiveerder vir betrokkenheid by IWT nie. Stropery kan eerder die gevolg wees van politieke protes om regte vir die gebruik van natuurlike hulpbronne. Die besteding aan teen-stropery maak nuuskierigheid binne gemeenskappe gaande oor die waarde van renosterhoring, aangesien in beskermde gebiede reuse-besteding met die oog op beskerming gedoen word. Misdaadsindikate is bereid om te sterf ten einde toegang daartoe te verkry terwyl die plaaslike gemeenskap van die rykdom ontneem word. Daarbenewens word misdaad deur die hoë inkomste-ongelykhede tussen beskermde gebiede en plaaslike gemeenskappe bevorder. Plaaslike gemeenskappe hou nie van stropers en stropery nie, maar wat vir die wildlewe voordelig is, soos sekuriteit, moet ook vir die gemeenskap voordelig wees. Benewens voordeel uit die wildlewe, moet HWC (Human Wildlife Conflict) verminder word en mense moet in staat gestel word om die beskermde gebied te geniet sodat hulle begrip het vir wat hulle beskerm.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/106163
This item appears in the following collections: