Shooting at the poachers while the rhinos drown: managing short- and long-term threats to endangered wildlife in conservation reserves

Ram Ranjan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This paper addresses management challenges associated with conserving endangered wildlife facing multiple threats from illegal poaching, habitat encroachment, and climate and land‐use change‐induced flooding. While poaching and encroachment challenges in conservation parks are of immediate nature, climate‐related risks exist in the long term. The park manager faces a utility function that includes as its arguments local community’s incomes, benefits to the larger society from preserving threatened species and the financial costs of monitoring and land‐use change efforts. Using the case of single‐horned rhinos in the Kaziranga National Park, India, an optimal mix of monitoring and land‐use changes is designed in presence of tradeoffs between short‐ and long‐term management efforts. As monitoring only addresses immediate challenges associated with poaching and encroachment, long‐term climatic risks remain ignored. Land‐use management offers risk‐protection as well as risk‐insurance benefits with respect to climate change‐induced flooding of the park.

    Recommendations for Resource Managers

    •It is important to incorporate both short‐ and long‐term risks posed to endangered wildlife while investing in conservation efforts. There may exist a tradeoff between mitigating short‐ and long‐run risks due to financial and physical resource constraints. However, ignoring long‐term risks to wildlife habitats can jeopardize past conservation efforts.

    •Land‐use management, both within and outside of conservation reserves, enhances resilience to climatic shocks through reducing flooding risks and must be an essential part of wildlife conservation efforts.

    •Conservation efforts ignoring local community welfare considerations can become suboptimal as they lead to reduced cooperation and potential conflicts. When wildlife conservation efforts account for local community welfare implications, optimal management plans could result in lower species abundance in the short term. However, increasing the park size through additional land enrollment can mitigate some of this tradeoff.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere12188
    Pages (from-to)1-27
    Number of pages27
    JournalNatural Resource Modeling
    Issue number1
    Early online date26 Sep 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


    • biodiversity conservation
    • biodiversity flooding risk
    • climate risk to wildlife
    • Kaziranga National Park
    • land-use change
    • rhino poaching


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