, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 591-613

Local community attitudes to wildlife utilisation in the changing economic and social context of Mongolia

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Abstract

In recent years illegal hunting has increased in Mongolia, putting considerable pressure on large mammals populations. The causes for this phenomenon lie in increasing rural poverty, ineffective policies to regulate hunting, as well as a ready market for many wildlife products in the Chinese medicine markets of east Asia. It is now accepted that biodiversity is ultimately lost or conserved at the local level and it is therefore imperative that the perspectives of the local people are better understood if wildlife management programmes are to be sustainable. This research uses a ‘grounded theory’ approach to investigate local community attitudes to wildlife utilisation and to explore what local people consider as a sustainable wildlife management strategy in remoter regions of Mongolia. The findings clearly suggest that the current situation is not conducive to sustainability either of wildlife populations or human livelihoods. Important changes are needed if sustainability is to be achieved, including alterations to property rights, greater government support, and improved marketing skills and employment opportunities from wildlife. Linked to all of the above points is the need to address the serious information deficit experienced in rural Mongolia to enable local people to examine critically the issues at hand and to participate actively in solutions.