Measuring the impacts of indigenous hunting on neotropical wildlife populations remains a difficult task. Significant insights can be gained by analyzing the spatial patterns of hunting yields. This paper presents a geographic analysis of game captured by hunters in 59 households belonging to five neighbouring villages in western Panama over a period of 232 days. The locations of 1269 game kill sites within a hunting zone of 131 km2 were documented with trained local investigators and then entered into a geographic information system with associated attribute data for analysis. Results show a heavy concentration of kill sites around the study communities. Nearly 90% of the total harvest by weight was captured within just 2 km of hunters' homes. Yet, while several species are captured in large numbers close to home, others are caught closer to the outer peripheries of the shared hunting zone, suggesting that some degree of localized depletion may have occurred. The findings demonstrate the value of mapping the boundaries of hunting zones and game kill sites to assess the impacts of hunting on game species in tropical and other ecosystems and to provide an empirical basis for delimiting conservation zones that balance the use and protection of wildlife in tropical forest regions.

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Biological Conservation
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Smith, D. (2008). The spatial patterns of indigenous wildlife use in western Panama: Implications for conservation management. Biological Conservation, 141(4), 925–937. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.12.021