Eulemur fulvus (Brown lemur) in Ankarafantsika. Photo Credit: Kathy West Studios, 2017

Wildlife hunting in complex human-environmental systems: How understanding natural resource use and human welfare can improve conservation in the Ankarafantsika National Park, Madagascar

Cortni Borgerson, Jean F. Randrianasolo, Toky R. Andraina, Evelin J. G. Anjaranirina, Hervet J. Randriamady, Samuel Merson, Luke Dollar, Christopher D. Golden

Abstract


Conservation officials work to manage complex and interacting human-environmental systems, where balancing needs between the two systems can become a source of tension. This study presents information on the use of natural resources by, and the health and welfare of, rural communities within and near Ankarafantsika National Park (ANP) in northwestern Madagascar. We focus on behaviors that are difficult for natural resource managers to measure themselves, including the hunting of threatened and protected wildlife and on sensitive information about human wealth, health, and food security. We surveyed 419 households and measured the health of 1860 individuals in 18 communities adjacent to or within the boundaries of ANP. We found a very high prevalence of child malnutrition, illness, and food insecurity and a heavy reliance on natural products to meet subsistence needs. More than 90% of the population reported that they hunted wildlife and harvested wild vegetables at least one day during the prior week as a direct means to cope with their food insecurity. Further, we found a high reliance on the forest for both health care and the building of adequate shelter. Efforts to improve overall food security would likely improve both human welfare and the long-term conservation of the threatened wildlife and habitat of Ankarafantsika. These data can help both conservation and community livelihood programs to find integrated solutions to the shared challenges of improving the well-being of human populations and the protection of Madagascar’s unique, endemic, and highly threatened biodiversity.

 

Résumé

Les gestionnaires œuvrant pour la protection de la nature sont généralement confrontés à des systèmes socio-écologiques complexes et interactifs dans lesquels la recherche de l’équilibre entre les besoins de ces deux systèmes peut s’avérer être une source de tension. Cette étude présente des informations sur l'utilisation des ressources naturelles par les communautés rurales riveraines du parc national d'Ankarafantsika (PNA) dans le nord-ouest de Madagascar, ainsi que sur la santé et le bien-être de ces communautés. L’étude s’est en particulier orientée sur les comportements difficiles à mesurer pour les gestionnaires de ressources naturelles, à savoir la chasse d'animaux sauvages menacés et protégés et les informations portant sur l’opulence, la santé et la sécurité alimentaire des gens. Une enquête a été réalisée auprès de 419 ménages et l’état de santé de 1860 personnes a été mesuré dans 18 communautés vivant à la périphérie ou à l’intérieur des limites du PNA. Une très forte prévalence de la malnutrition infantile a été observée ainsi que diverses pathologies, une insécurité alimentaire et une dépendance importante à l'égard des produits naturels pour répondre aux besoins de subsistance. Plus de 90% de la population a déclaré qu'elle avait chassé des animaux et récolté des plantes sauvages au moins un jour au cours de la semaine précédente, à titre de moyen direct pour faire face à l'insécurité alimentaire. Une forte dépendance à l'égard des forêts a également été notée pour les produits destinés à la santé et la construction de maisons. Les efforts visant à améliorer la sécurité alimentaire dans son ensemble pourraient vraisemblablement améliorer le bien-être humain aussi bien que la conservation à long terme de la faune et des habitats menacés de l'Ankarafantsika. Ces données peuvent aider les programmes de conservation et de subsistance de la communauté à trouver des solutions intégrées aux problèmes communs de l’amélioration du bien-être des populations humaines et de la protection de la biodiversité unique, endémique et hautement menacée de Madagascar.


Keywords


Hunting; bushmeat; Ankarafantsika National Park; Madagascar; child health; malnutrition; public health; conservation; food security; natural resource use; euplerid; lemur; tenrec; bat; reptile; non-timber forest products

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ISSN: 1662-2510