Citation Bunnefeld N, Edwards CTT, Atickem A, Hailu F & Milner-Gulland EJ (2013) Incentivizing monitoring and compliance in trophy hunting. Conservation Biology, 27 (6), pp. 1344-1354. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12120
Abstract Conservation scientists are increasingly focusing on the drivers of human behavior and on the implications of various sources of uncertainty for management decision making. Trophy hunting has been suggested as a conservation tool because it gives economic value to wildlife, but recent examples show that overharvesting is a substantial problem and that data limitations are rife. We use a case study of trophy hunting of an endangered antelope, the mountain nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni), to explore how uncertainties generated by population monitoring and poaching interact with decision making by 2 key stakeholders: the safari companies and the government. We built a management strategy evaluation model that encompasses the population dynamics of mountain nyala, a monitoring model, and a company decision making model. We investigated scenarios of investment into antipoaching and monitoring by governments and safari companies. Harvest strategy was robust to the uncertainty in the population estimates obtained from monitoring, but poaching had a much stronger effect on quota and sustainability. Hence, reducing poaching is in the interests of companies wishing to increase the profitability of their enterprises, for example by engaging community members as game scouts. There is a threshold level of uncertainty in the population estimates beyond which the year-to-year variation in the trophy quota prevented planning by the safari companies. This suggests a role for government in ensuring that a baseline level of population monitoring is carried out such that this level is not exceeded. Our results illustrate the importance of considering the incentives of multiple stakeholders when designing frameworks for resource use and when designing management frameworks to address the particular sources of uncertainty that affect system sustainability most heavily.