Environmental Management

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 158–167 | Cite as

Hunting for a Living: Wildlife Trade, Rural Livelihoods and Declining Wildlife in the Hkakaborazi National Park, North Myanmar

  • Madhu RaoEmail author
  • Than Zaw
  • Saw Htun
  • Than Myint


Hunting is a threat to wildlife within the Hkakaborazi National Park in north Myanmar. We used questionnaire surveys to obtain data on variables such as commonly targeted species, prices of traded wildlife, reasons for hunting and the relative importance of livelihood sources. We examine (a) the significance of hunting and trade for livelihoods and explore (b) the impacts of hunting on targeted species. Ninety per cent of trade records (n = 803) was constituted by seven species commonly targeted by hunters (serow, red goral, muntjac, bear, Assamese macaque, black musk deer and takin). Commercially valuable species previously targeted by hunters (tiger, otter, pangolin) appear to be completely absent from current harvest records and potentially in decline. Although farming is the predominant occupation, hunting (driven by trade) represents a significantly higher source of income than other livelihood activities. Management recommendations include increased investment in enforcement, education and outreach, small livestock development, improved crop productivity, demarcation of no-take areas for wildlife and biological monitoring of targeted species.


Hunting Myanmar Wildlife trade Livelihoods Species decline 



We gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British Embassy, Yangon and for the support provided by the Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division, Ministry of Forestry, Government of Myanmar. We are indebted to the local people who shared their knowledge with us and local field assistants who spent many long and rigorous days in the field. We would like to especially thank Kyaw Thinn Latt for his assistance in creating Fig. 1 and to the administrative staff of the WCS Myanmar Program for logistical assistance. The Wildlife Conservation Society, New York provided additional financial assistance for this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wildlife Conservation Society SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Wildlife Conservation Society Myanmar ProgramYangonMyanmar
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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