Indigenous people and Wildlife Hunting in a Philippine Protected Area

Wild animals have contributed an important element in human history and culture around the world. Although the importance of biodiversity and wildlife are always mainstreamed many populations are still under pressures from both natural and anthropogenic threats and disturbances coupled with climate and land-use change have exacerbated the effects. The continuous expansion of human population has increased the encroachment on natural landscapes and exploitation of wildlife species. Human communities near forests and protected areas are an important component for successful conservation as they are the primary beneficiaries of wildlife’s ecosystem services and provisions. However, they may contribute to the overexploitation of natural resources to help satisfy their needs for survival. Among local practices in protected areas is wildlife hunting. This activity is considered a serious threat to the worldwide biodiversity and has contributed largely to the decline of many wildlife species. Furthermore, the gradual disappearance of tropical animal species due to overhunting and habitat loss represents a major risk for biodiversity and tropical rainforest conservation.

In this paper, practices of indigenous people on wildlife hunting activities use, and beliefs from Mt. Apo Natural Park, Mindanao Island, Philippines were assessed. Our study has revealed the majority of wildlife hunters were male and married between the ages of 35-60 years old. The wildlife species hunted in the area include large wildlife species such as the endemic and threatened species that includes large wild boars, macaques, deer and smaller to larger flying foxes.

The stewardship and protection of wildlife are among the cultures of indigenous people. It is very essential that empowering indigenous people to protect wildlife species and their habitats and understanding their ways and traditions as the first steps towards attaining effective local conservation –Tanalgo KC, 2017.

Poverty and the lack of livelihood are among the major motivation and drivers to hunt and use wildlife for food and medicine. Our current findings in this study suggest that wildlife species are important for indigenous people in protected areas, however, hunting practices should be regulated and alternative livelihood sources should be incorporated into management. Consequently, engaging and empowering indigenous people and local communities in wildlife protection combined with appropriate conservation planning are the first step forward in attaining sustainable and effective local conservation in protected areas.

 

Access the Full Paper here: https://goo.gl/537946

Journal of Threatened Taxa: http://threatenedtaxa.org/index.php/…/article/view/2967/4046

 

This paper is a portion of a larger initiative I am working on in assessing wildlife hunting and trade dynamics across protected areas and key wildlife habitats in the Philippines. This project is fully supported by Rufford Small Grant Foundation (UK), IdeaWild Fund (USA), and Nagao Foundation (Japan).

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