Psychological theory is applied to human wildlife conflict in Sumatra to identify predictors of hunting behavior among individuals who live near a national park. The research finds that perceived behavior control, affect, and injunctive norm influence intention to hunt Sumatran tigers and other native species such as sambar deer, pangolin, and wild boar.
Human wildlife conflict results from a competition for resources, loss of human property, injury, and/or loss of human life. Applying behavioral models to human wildlife conflicts can help identify antecedents of decision-making and potentially aid in designing optimal solutions. A recent study “Intention to Kill: Tolerance and illegal persecution of Sumatran tigers and sympatric species” published in Conservation Letters, investigates the influence of ethnicity and social-psychological factors in decision-making towards wildlife by Sumatrans living adjacent to Kerinci Seblat National Park.
The authors interviewed individuals of three cultural groups using a randomised response technique and a direct response technique. They elicited responses related to frequency of hunting Sumatran tigers, sambar deer, boar and pangolin and their perceptions of those species such as the emotional response (affect) and factors of the theory of planned behavior. They find that intentions to illegally hunt were influenced by perceived behavior control, affect, and injunctive norm (perception of social attitudes towards a behavior), suggesting that increase in knowledge will not result in a decrease of hunting.
Conservation psychology has a lot of offer in regards to understanding human decision-making models of human-wildlife interactions and finding the best ways to intervene. While the topic is common in conservation science these interactions and potential solutions tend to be highly localised and context specific.
St. John, F., Linkie, M., Martyr, D. J., Milliyanawati, B., McKay, J. E., Mangunjaya, F. M., Leader‐Williams, N., & Struebig, M. J. (2018). Intention to kill: Tolerance and illegal persecution of Sumatran tigers and sympatric species. Conservation Letters, e12451.https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12451