18 Feb 2008, 1:17am
Wildlife Policy
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How Many Wildebeest Do You Need?

Norton-Griffiths, Mike. How Many Wildebeest Do You Need? World Economics.Vol. 8, No. 2, April–June 2007.

Mike Norton-Griffiths, D.Phil. is a long-time resident of Kenya, where he researches into issues of land use economics and the economic foundations of conservation and land use policy.

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

So, how many wildebeest do you need? How many elephants is enough? And what do you need them for? These are not trivial questions, for they focus attention on the need for some hard decisions. A conservation biologist will maintain that while the actual number of wildebeest at any particular time is irrelevant, what is important is to ensure adequate space and habitat so the population can vary as it must in response to environmental vicissitudes. In contrast, a free market environmentalist would approach this problem secure in the knowledge that there is indeed a market for wildebeest which will deliver a socially and economically efficient number of animals. Naturally, neither of these views is wrong-which is not the same as saying that either is right.

Consider as an example the Serengeti migratory wildebeest population which, despite 40 years of scientific monitoring and research, has effortlessly grown from around 250,000 individuals in the 1950s to some 1.5 million today, going up a bit in good (rainy) years and down a bit in drier years (Figure 1). That this extraordinary phenomenon still exists is due to the vast 30,000 km2 area over which they are able to migrate, from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania during the wet season up to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya during the dry season…

Here now is a problem to exercise both the conservation biologist and the free market environmentalist, for what is the optimal number of wildebeest given that tourists probably only need to see some 300,000 to experience the raw majesty of the migration? Kenya will balance the benefits to be gained from developing agriculture on what was previously pastoral land against any possible tourism losses, while Tanzania may still wish to have as many wildebeest as possible to enhance the international reputation of the Serengeti National Park. Difficult choices indeed…

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14 Dec 2007, 2:13pm
Wildlife Policy
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Management of Hyperabundant Wildlife Populations in Canada’s National Parks

Parks Canada Agency. Management of Hyperabundant Wildlife Populations in Canada’s National Parks, Management Directive 4.4.11, December 2007

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:



This Directive cancels and replaces Management Directive 4.4.11: Disposal of Surplus Wildlife dated September 1999.


This Directive applies to the management of hyperabundant wildlife populations in national parks


The purpose of this Directive is to:
• Provide policy direction and guidelines on the management of hyperabundant wildlife populations in national parks.
• Provide a nationally consistent approach to the management of hyperabundant wildlife populations in national parks.
• Implements the Parks Canada Agency commitment in the “Parks Canada First Priority” report to establish a national directive on control of Hyperabundant Wildlife populations in national Parks.
• Enhance and promote the involvement of Canadians in the management of hyperabundant wildlife populations in national parks.
• Provide guidelines for involving harvesters in the management of hyperabundant wildlife populations in national parks …


… Among the many management challenges in national parks across the country is the presence of hyperabundant wildlife populations. A wildlife population in a national park may become hyperabundant due to a combination of factors including, among others, the introduction of alien species, absence of naturally occurring predators and competitors, artificially high food abundance, and changing climate. In parks where wildlife populations are no longer regulated fully by natural factors and where scientific evidence provides reasonable grounds that the ecological integrity of the park has been or is likely to be compromised by the presence of a hyperabundant population, active management may be required.

The management of hyperabundant wildlife populations provides an opportunity for innovation and adaptive management. In managing hyperabundant animal populations for example, the preferred management option for Parks Canada has been to capture some individuals of the hyperabundant wildlife population and relocate them to other areas. Unfortunately, translocation is not always a practical way to manage hyperabundant wildlife populations, and a range of options appropriate for the species, local circumstances and the long term national park management objectives should be available to park managers. This Management Directive provides policy direction and guidelines for managing hyperabundant wildlife populations in national parks. The implementation of the directive is through the Hyperabundant Wildlife Population Management Plan which is drawn from the National Park Management Plan (See Appendix 2) …

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12 Dec 2007, 6:19pm
Wildlife Policy
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A New Solution To Non-Game Program Funding?

by George Dovel

Full text [here]

About George Dovel: Following several decades of close association with state and federal wildlife mangers as a helicopter and fixed-wing pilot, a qualified volunteer on assorted wildlife research projects and a member of several fish and game advisory committees, George Dovel offers a unique perspective on what has happened to wildlife resource management. With record low big game and upland bird populations existing throughout the U.S. in 1969-1973 he edited and published The Outdoorsman which is credited with helping to restore scientific game management. The new crisis in game management throughout the West resulted in resurrecting The Outdoorsman [here] in March 2004 to provide factual information for outdoorsmen and their elected officials.

Selected excerpts:

Although it was inevitable under the circumstances, the candid admission by Wright and Groen that IDFG has been using sportsmen’s license dollars to fund the bulk of its non-hunting and fishing activities was “a first”. Recently outgoing Director Steve Huffaker assured Commissioners that no license dollars were being used to fund nongame…

Despite assurances to the Commission by Idaho Conservation Data Center (CDC) Biodiversity Program Leader Rita Dixon that her group has secured adequate matching funding outside IDFG, thousands of dollars of hunter’s and fishermen’s license money is spent by several F&G Bureaus every day in support of this activity. Much of this money comes in the form of incidental logistical support that is never charged to CDC or any other non-game activity…

Several House Resource Committee members, who opposed the bill, raised concerns that the transfer would allow sportsmen license fees to be used to manage endangered plants. But IDFG Director Huffaker said the CDC was created 15 years earlier as an aftermath of the Endangered Species Act and claimed that during that time sportsmen money has never been used for anything that would not benefit sportsmen.

Huffaker’s statement reflects his willingness, and that of several previous IDFG Directors, to mislead the resource owners and their elected officials in order to promote the biodiversity agenda of IAFWA, The Nature Conservancy and the United Nations. Four years earlier, former F&G Director Steve Mealey documented $2.9 million of sportsmen license fees that was spent by IDFG that year for non-game/fish activities with no tangible benefit to sportsmen…

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