This is the second post in our series on the top 10 wildlife conservation challenges and solutions, to provide some quick and easy to read background information to our game Conservation Crisis.
Challenge #2 – Poverty Poaching
IWT is not the only reason for poaching. Where people live in poverty and struggle to earn enough money to feed their families, they may be forced to rely on poaching to survive. Poor people may lay traps in your reserve to catch animals to eat as ‘bushmeat’ if they can’t afford to buy meat from the market. It is these poor people who may also become involved in IWT – if poaching militias offer to pay them to hunt an animal, they may feel they have little choice but to accept because they need the money.
Solution #2 – Livelihood Schemes
It is important to understand that these people are not nasty people, they have been forced into poaching through no other choice, so conservationists should always try to help them get out of poverty rather than blaming them. A great way to do that is to run livelihood schemes – these are projects that give people support to get jobs and generate an income. That might be by helping people learn how to farm better and give them seeds so they can grow their own food, or training them to make souvenirs for the tourists that visit the reserve.