Abstract:

Identifying indicators of illegal behaviour: carnivore killing in human-managed landscapes

Freya AV St John, Aidan M. Keane, Gareth Edwards-Jones, Lauren Jones, Richard W. Yarnell, Julia PG Jones

Organisation of presenting author: DICE, University of Kent, Marlowe Building, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, UK

Managing natural resources often depends upon influencing people’s behaviour, however effectively targeting interventions to discourage environmentally harmful behaviours is challenging because those involved may be unwilling to identify themselves. Innocuous indicators of peoples’ involvement in sensitive behaviours are therefore needed. Previous studies have investigated people’s attitudes, assuming attitudes reflect behaviour. Since people tend to assume that others behave like themselves, there has also been interest in using people’s estimates of the proportion of their peers involved in sensitive behaviours in order to identify those involved. However, there has been little attempt to test the value of potential indicators. We use the randomised response technique (RRT), designed for investigating sensitive behaviours, to estimate the proportion of farmers in north-eastern South Africa killing five carnivore species, and use a modified logistic regression model to explore relationships between our best estimates of true behaviour (from RRT) and our proposed innocuous indicators (including farmers’ attitudes, and estimates of peer-behaviour). One-fifth of farmers admitted to killing leopards in the 12 months preceding the study. Farmers’ attitudes towards carnivores and their estimates of their peers’ carnivore killing behaviour predict the likelihood of farmers killing carnivores. Attitude and estimates of peer behaviour may be useful indicators of people’s involvement in illicit behaviours. Such information can be used to identify groups of people to engage in interventions aimed at changing behaviour.

Presentation Topic

Identifying indicators of illegal behaviour: carnivore killing in human-managed landscapes

 

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Marlowe Building, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, UK

 

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