Anna Sándor (ESP 2015) and Prof. Brandon Anthony team up to publish article on unique case of human-wildlife conflict
Anna Sándor (ESP 2015 alumna) and Prof. Brandon P. Anthony have published an article entitled Mapping the conflict of raptor conservation and recreational shooting in the Batumi Bottleneck, Republic of Georgia in the Journal of Threatened Taxa on the escalating conflict surrounding raptor shooting that occurs every autumn in the Batumi Bottleneck in Georgia. The study was based on Anna's MSc thesis research and highlights the multi-faceted complexity of mitigating human-wildlife conflicts in local contexts.
Abstract: Illegal use of natural resources threatens biodiversity and often leads to conservation conflicts between affected parties. Such a conflict is emerging in the Batumi Bottleneck in the Republic of Georgia, where every autumn more than one million migrating birds of prey funnel above a handful of villages, and where thousands of these birds fall victim to illegal shooting. As a first step towards resolving this conflict, utilizing semi-structured interviews, we map the goals and opinions of relevant stakeholders associated with raptor migration in the bottleneck. Our results show that most stakeholders, except some local hunters, are on common ground considering the shooting unacceptable, but articulate different preferences concerning a solution, which hinged on institutional and enforcement issues. The hunters expressed a wide spectrum of responses concerning their involvement and motivation in raptor shooting, the role and importance of hunting in their lives, and preferred mitigation actions. The most urgent issues to be addressed via conservation actions are the wide-scale lack of awareness of the conflict, the potential loss of species, and the risk of conflict escalation.
The full article is freely available for reading and download here.