Data-poor management of African lion hunting using a relative index of abundance



Edwards CTT, Bunnefeld N, Balme GA & Milner-Gulland EJ (2014) Data-poor management of African lion hunting using a relative index of abundance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111 (1), pp. 539-543.

Sustainable management of terrestrial hunting requires managers to set quotas restricting offtake. This often takes place in the absence of reliable information on the population size, and as a consequence, quotas are set in an arbitrary fashion, leading to population decline and revenue loss. In this investigation, we show how an indirect measure of abundance can be used to set quotas in a sustainable manner, even in the absence of information on population size. Focusing on lion hunting in Africa, we developed a simple algorithm to convert changes in the number of safari days required to kill a lion into a quota for the following year. This was tested against a simulation model of population dynamics, accounting for uncertainties in demography, observation, and implementation. Results showed it to reliably set sustainable quotas despite these uncertainties, providing a robust foundation for the conservation of hunted species.

management strategy evaluation; control rule; operating model; matrix model

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Volume 111, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/2014
Date accepted by journal13/11/2013
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences

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Professor Nils Bunnefeld

Professor Nils Bunnefeld

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences