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Indigenous people play a major role in the conservation of wildlife species in protected areas.Â This paper provides an insight on the involvement of indigenous people in protecting and hunting of wildlife species in Mt. Apo National Park, Mindanao Island, Philippines.Â Here, I assessed indigenous knowledge and practices towards wildlife hunting from three villages from Mt. Apo through immersions, interviews, and focus group discussion between May 2014 and January 2015.Â The majority of wildlife hunters I encountered were male and married between the ages of 35â€“60 years old.Â Commonly hunted wildlife species from the national park included large wildlife species such as the endemic and threatened Philippine Warty Pig Sus philippensis, Philippine Brown Deer Rusa marianna, Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, Reticulated Python Malayopython reticulatus, Common Monitor Lizard Varanus salvator and other large birds such as Rufous Hornbills Buceros hydrocorax, large dove species (i.e., Dacula spp.).Â In the past, wildlife hunting was most commonly done for sustenance and culture.Â But, poverty and the lack of alternative livelihoods have become a recent motivation to hunt wildlife.Â This current findings in this study suggest that wildlife are essential for indigenous people in protected areas, however, hunting practices should be monitored and provide alternative livelihood options to reduce threats.Â This study introduced the vital links between local communities and wildlife in protected areas.Â Thus, engaging and empowering indigenous people and local communities in wildlife protection combined with appropriate conservation planning are the first steps forward in attaining sustainable and effective local conservation in protected areas.Â
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