Investigating wildlife crime

  • February 5, 2014
Investigating wildlife crime

Katrin Pfeil has won a £1,000 bursary to spend three months in South Africa researching wildlife crime on game reserves.

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has won a £1,000 bursary to spend three months in South Africa researching wildlife crime on game reserves.

Poaching has been rising in the last five years, especially rhino poaching, resulting in conservation concerns as well as threats to the lives of rangers and economic consequences, but the criminological aspects have been little studied.

Katrin Pfeil’s research, Identifying Patterns and Possible Causes of Poaching and Challenges to Combating Wildlife Crime In Protected Areas in KwaZulu Natal, will include interviews with field rangers and managers and an analysis of poaching records in five parks over 10 years.

Katrin [2012], who is doing a PhD in Criminology on eyewitness psychology, says her research will inform policy and help reserves and government to become more efficient in battling poaching and will ultimately help to save the rhino from extinction.

She says traditional deterrence policies have had very limited success and that poachers are highly armed, often better armed than park rangers. Some parks have taken extreme measures to deal with the threat, including a shoot on sight policy.

Katrin,who set up the project after volunteering in two parks in South Africa last September, says: “While it is understandably necessary to react quickly to these dynamics, it is even more crucial to be able to make evidence-based decisions and establish more proactive anti-poaching strategies.”

Her Cambridge Society for the Application of Research award is being presented today by Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.

*Picture credit: dan and www.freedigitalphotos.net.

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