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Evidence of deterrence from patrol data: Trialling application of a differenced-CPUE metric

Dancer, Anthony; Jones, Katherine; (2022) Evidence of deterrence from patrol data: Trialling application of a differenced-CPUE metric. Conservation Science and Practice , 4 (8) , Article e12746. 10.1111/csp2.12746. Green open access

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Abstract

Ranger-led law enforcement patrols are the primary, site-level response to – and the most common source of data on – illegal activity threatening wildlife in protected areas. Yet evidence that patrols effectively deter rule-breaking is limited, and common management metrics for evaluating deterrence, which use ranger-collected data, are particularly vulnerable to bias. “Differenced plots” (of the association between change in patrol effort and subsequent change in illegal activity) were recently proposed as a simple, new metric for deterrence, which, in tests with simulated patrol data, were more robust than the common alternatives. Here, we trial application of differenced plots to real patrol data collected in four protected areas, and explore methods for applying the metric in practice, using two indicators of rule-breaking: snares, and people. We find evidence which is consistent with deterrence in some but not all sites, over shorter timescales than observed hitherto: increases in patrol effort were associated with subsequent reductions in snaring in one site, and in the presence of people in two sites. However, whether pressure on wildlife had been reduced or merely displaced was unclear from differenced plots, nor could the metric confirm absence of deterrence, raising questions for future applications. Our findings suggest differenced plots can be a useful metric, particularly for exploring variation in deterrence within sites, but should be applied and interpreted with care, and further work is urgently needed to determine whether and how patrols deter illegal activity, and to evaluate the effect reliably.

Type: Article
Title: Evidence of deterrence from patrol data: Trialling application of a differenced-CPUE metric
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/csp2.12746
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.12746
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. Conservation Science and Practice published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Illegal activity, law enforcement, poaching, protected areas, rangers, snaring
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148724
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