How do conservation practitioners and researchers assess what factors promote illegal activities that violate species or land protection laws? Interviews are one of the most common and cost-effective methods.
My first thesis chapter has been published online at Ecology and Society! The main aim of this chapter was to describe the motivations and practices of hunters in Southwest China, a biodiversity hotspot where hunting has been implicated in the decline or outright extirpation of several charismatic species (e.g. tigers, small-clawed otter), yet the causes and socio-economic context of hunting has not yet been characterized. I found that leisure was the primary motive for hunters in this landscape, and that even in the face of extremely low catch per unit effort, hunting interest could still be sustained. These results suggest that the diversity of hunter motives matters; hunting without a profit imperative–or a reduced sensitivity to costs and profits–could promote this type of functional response to catch. Under these processes, it is highly likely that wildlife at a particular site would be overharvested and that hunting down the web would occur.