Hunting is one of the greatest threats to tropical vertebrates. Examining why people hunt is crucial to identifying policy levers to prevent excessive hunting. Overhunting is particularly relevant in Southeast Asia, where a high proportion of mammals and birds are globally threatened. We interviewed hunters in Southwest China to examine their social behavior, motivations, and responses to changes in wildlife abundance. Respondents viewed hunting as a form of recreation, not as an economic livelihood, and reported that they would not stop hunting in response to marked declines in expected catch. Even in scenarios where the expected catch was limited to minimal quantities of small, low-price songbirds, up to 36.7% of respondents said they would still continue to hunt. Recreational hunting may be a prominent driver for continued hunting in increasingly defaunated landscapes; this motivation for hunting and its implications for the ecological consequences of hunting have been understudied relative to subsistence and profit hunting. The combination of a preference for larger over smaller game, reluctance to quit hunting, and weak enforcement of laws may lead to hunting-down-the-web outcomes in Southwest China.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Natural resource governance