Do Ranger Stations Deter Poaching Activity in National Parks in Thailand?

Authors

  • Kate E. Jenks,

    Corresponding author
    1. Graduate Programs in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S.A
    • Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, Virginia, U.S.A
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  • JoGayle Howard,

    1. Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, Virginia, U.S.A
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  • Peter Leimgruber

    1. Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, Virginia, U.S.A
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Corresponding author; e-mail: kate@katejenks.info

Abstract

As protected areas become more accessible via transportation networks, fragmentation, and encroachment from the borders, carnivores in these areas frequently decline. To counter these pressures, patrolling and active wildlife enforcement are widely accepted as fundamental conservation strategies. Using the case example of Khao Yai National Park (KYNP) and data from a camera trap survey, we modeled and evaluated the effectiveness of ranger stations in reducing human access and illegal activities, and in increasing prey and predator presence. This type of data and analysis is needed to monitor and evaluate enforcement effectiveness and develop adaptive management strategies. At KYNP, we used camera-trapping data as a proxy to evaluate whether or not a positive impact of ranger stations on wildlife distribution could outweigh edge effects from human disturbance. We assessed factors affecting the distribution of poachers and wildlife using Maxent. Our analysis was based on 217 camera trap locations (6260 trap nights) and suggests that ungulates and poachers persist nearby ranger stations. Rangers should increase patrolling efforts of border areas; however, increasing wildlife patrolling in inaccessible areas with mobile range units may be more effective than establishing more ranger stations along park boundaries.

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