Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

6. Recommendations

6.1 Broad recommendations
6.2 Management recommendations
6.3 Research priorities

Outstanding authors and experts in Latin American wildlife, aware of the complexity of the issues, have suggested various measures to enhance the management of wildlife resources. Scientific events, technicians and conservationists have all come up with extensive recommendations. In some cases the proposed measures have been at least partially implemented, and probably most of the recommendations put forth are still applicable. There do not seem to be any easy solutions to the fundamental issues of neotropical wildlife, which are so intimately bound up with the fundamental human issues. This being so, it is difficult to postulate new and different measures from those already put forth (see 5.4). What an author can contribute to the subject is the product of his own experience and approach. Basically, this amounts to establishing an order of priorities, and weighting or detailing one's recommendations. The context of this study is a subcontinent: in some ways uniform but also presenting vast local differences. A few general recommendations - which may be more applicable or right for some countries than for others - are thus the only option.

6.1 Broad recommendations

A) One priority is to stimulate the development, evaluation, updating of and justification for national wildlife policies, tailoring them to the needs, global environmental policy and specific realities of each country. Such policies must at the same time guarantee the continuity essential to medium- and long-term wildlife management, and be flexible enough to be fine-tuned in the light of new developments.

B) Without slighting the conservation of native wildlife, particularly the critically endangered species, the management of economically valuable species should be made a part of land use planning and rural development plans, emphasizing the potential of wildlife in multi-use resource schemes.

C) In view of protected area capacity to safeguard endangered species and produce game species, close planning and management cooperation should be fostered between the administrations of these areas and the wildlife protection services.

D) Cooperation between the wildlife services and wildlife users is crucial to management. The following measures are recommended to achieve such cooperation: 1) programmes should be designed to serve the various users (subsistence, sport and commercial hunters, rural landowners, the tourism industry, etc.); 2) legal channels of wildlife utilization should be maximized, particularly by simplifying licensing procedures, especially in rural areas; 3) user associations, cooperatives and clubs should be promoted to facilitate communication and cooperation between the public and the wildlife administration services; 4) public environmental education and awareness-building among direct wildlife users in rural areas should be given special emphasis.

E) The management of subsistence hunting should receive priority attention in tropical America. A thorough elucidation of the scope and impact of subsistence hunting is recommended, as are pilot projects in close collaboration with campesino and indigenous communities to develop action plans to sustainably increase yields of wildlife resources for the benefit of rural people.

F) Both the resource and resource users would be better served by decentralization of the wildlife services and a more regional focus than by the current prevailing centrally-oriented model. Clearly, people sitting in offices in the capital cities cannot successfully implement wildlife policies in the field.

G) Most countries of the region lack the technical capacity to implement the necessary basic administrative research and wildlife protection at the field level. A review of the potential for bolstering the wildlife services by beefing up, training and/or recycling staff and making changes in the support infrastructure is therefore recommended. Enhanced wildlife protection services are considered particularly urgent.

H) In the final analysis, the technical capability of wildlife services depends on their budgets. It is therefore vitally important to develop mechanisms to marshall additional funding by: 1) promoting wildlife as a productive resource; 2) channelling at least part of the funds from hunting fees and licences, fines, confiscations, technical services, etc., into wildlife management; 3) promoting voluntary contributions by wildlife users such as sports hunters, rural landowners and wildlife product processing industries; and 4) attracting international financial support, particularly for research and for protection of endangered species or species of great social value.

I) Further recommendations are reinforced programmes for the exchange and dissemination of technical data and management experiences among the different Latin American countries, and more shared programmes and unified wildlife policies among neighbouring countries.

6.2 Management recommendations

A) Each wildlife species and population requires a specific form of management in line with its own biology, current status and pattern of utilization. Chapter 3 lists some management guidelines for the key species covered in the chapter.

B) Generally speaking, there should be greater technical support for the development of wildlife management plans. Needed, for example, are evaluations of species abundance and monitoring of population trends with a view to sustained wildlife utilization. This is a special priority in the case of subsistence hunting for which no specific management policy exists, even though it is widely practised.

C) There is an urgent need to implement programmes to recover population densities in the top-value, high-contribution species now scarce due to relentless over-exploitation.

D) Special attention should be paid to the management options for open area and successional species, and those found in agro-ecosystems, as such habitats are constantly increasing. Wildlife in marginal areas also deserves priority attention.

E) Concerning sport hunting, it is important to provide incentives for the establishment and operation of hunting preserves or experimental areas and to enlist the participation of the wildlife services, sport hunting associations and rural landowners.

6.3 Research priorities

A) Most of the data on wildlife is applicable to management, but as staff and financial resources are so short, it would be better to set specific priorities for research and to target them at solving the fundamental problems of wildlife management.

B) There is a special need to promote research on the abundance, population dynamics and productivity of the main game species, and to develop the respective methodologies.

C) There is a major information gap concerning habitat relationships and the seasonal availability of food (e.g. fruit) for indigenous wildlife. Here again, shedding light on these aspects should have priority.

D) It is also urgent to document the basic biology of some of the key species such as Geochelone spp., Dasypus novemcinctus. Tapirus terrestris, Tayassu pecari and the Mazama species.

E) In order to evaluate wildlife options in development plans, the various land uses and their concomitant environmental impact must be quantified, to see whether or not they are compatible with wildlife resources.

F) Applied wildlife management research should also cover resource utilization patterns in the various communities and evaluate the impact of harvesting on animal populations.

G) In view of the lack of trained staff to perform these essential functions, it is recommended that research be shared out among the wildlife services, universities and other research centres.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page