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ESR prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01119

The biological, social, and political complexity of conserving oribi antelope Ourebia ourebi in South Africa

Adrienne J. Louw, Elizabeth F. Pienaar*, Adrian M. Shrader

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The endangered oribi antelope Ourebia ourebi is highly dependent on privately-owned lands for its continued survival in South Africa. Despite the fact that conserving oribi may result in costs to farmers in the form of land use restrictions and pressures from illegal hunting, there is evidence that South African farmers are willing to conserve oribi on their lands. However, to date, no research has been conducted to examine farmers’ understanding of how to manage their lands for oribi or their motivations for conserving this species. We conducted 50 in-depth interviews with private landowners in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to investigate why farmers are willing to protect oribi, their perceptions of the threats to the species, and their understanding of how land should be managed to benefit oribi. Respondents’ willingness to conserve oribi was driven primarily by an affinity for the species and wildlife in general. Respondents perceived illegal taxi hunting to be the greatest threat to oribi. Although some respondents managed their lands specifically to benefit oribi, most were unsure which land management practices would support oribi conservation efforts. Farmers require legal support to more effectively conserve oribi. In addition, they would benefit from outreach and awareness programs on how to manage their lands for oribi.