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Ambio. 2002 Feb;31(1):49-54.

Local hunting and the conservation of large mammals in India.

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  • 1Centre for Ecological Research and Conservation, 3076/5 IV Cross Gokulam Park, Mysore 570 002, India. mdm@ncf-india.org


Hunting by local communities is among the most widespread threats to Indian wildlife, yet, the understanding of its nature, extent, and impacts on wildlife has been poor. We surveyed 2 protected areas--Kudremukha and Nagara-holé--in southern India to assess the impacts of local hunting on large mammals. Detailed interviews with retired and active hunters were employed to describe hunting patterns. Impacts of hunting were assessed by comparing large-mammal abundance in adjacent sites differing in their vulnerability to hunting. In Kudremukha, at least 26 species of mammals were hunted, mostly with guns, at an estimated intensity of 216 hunter-days per month per village. In Nagaraholé, 6 of the 9 focal species of large mammals occurred at significantly lower densities at the heavily hunted site where enforcement capabilities were poorer. Our data underscore the importance of preservationist programs in the conservation of large mammals in a context of extensive local hunting.

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