To protect or neglect? Design, monitoring, and evaluation of a law enforcement strategy to recover small populations of wild tigers and their prey
Although law enforcement is frequently used to protect tigers and their prey, the conditions under which enforcement is likely to be effective in recovering small populations of wild tigers are not well understood. Johnson et al. evaluated the effectiveness of a law enforcement strategy to recover tigers and their prey in Lao PDR. Over a seven-year period, the team monitored along a theory of change to evaluate assumptions about the causal linkages between intermediate results and biological outcomes. Although we found a strong positive correlation between funding for enforcement and days patrolled and a significant negative correlation between days patrolled and overall hunting catch per unit effort, ultimately a proliferation in snaring was associated with decline in several indices of tiger abundance. Johnson et al. conclude that actions were sufficient to reduce poaching and increase prey populations, but insufficient to curtail extirpation of tigers.
Johnson, A., Goodrich, J., Hansel, T., Rasphone, A., Saypanya, S., Vongkhamheng, C., Venevongphet, Strindberg, S. 2016. To protect or neglect? Design, monitoring, and evaluation of a law enforcement strategy to recover small populations of wild tigers and their prey. Biological Conservation, 202: 99-109. doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2016.08.018