Mapping the conflict of raptor conservation and recreational shooting in the Batumi Bottleneck, Republic of Georgia

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Anna Sándor
Brandon P. Anthony


Illegal use of natural resources threatens biodiversity and often leads to conservation conflicts between affected parties.  Such a conflict is emerging in the Batumi Bottleneck in the Republic of Georgia, where every autumn more than one million migrating birds of prey funnel above a handful of villages, and where thousands of these birds fall victim to illegal shooting.  As a first step towards resolving this conflict, utilizing semi-structured interviews, we map the goals and opinions of relevant stakeholders associated with raptor migration in the bottleneck.  Our results show that most stakeholders, except some local hunters, are on common ground considering the shooting unacceptable, but articulate different preferences concerning a solution, which hinged on institutional and enforcement issues.  The hunters expressed a wide spectrum of responses concerning their involvement and motivation in raptor shooting, the role and importance of hunting in their lives, and preferred mitigation actions.  The most urgent issues to be addressed via conservation actions are the wide-scale lack of awareness of the conflict, the potential loss of species, and the risk of conflict escalation.


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Author Biographies

Anna Sándor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Nádor u. 9, 1051 Budapest, Hungary

Anna Sandor has an MSc degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy from the Central European University (CEU). She has conducted extensive research on illegal raptor shooting in the Republic of Georgia as a volunteer and board member of the Batumi Raptor Count. She is an avid ornithologist, and works for the Swiss Ornithological Institute as a research assistant.

Brandon P. Anthony, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Nádor u. 9, 1051 Budapest, Hungary

Brandon P. Anthony is an Associate Professor in the Environmental Sciences and Policy Department at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary. Prior to joining CEU, he served as advisor to the Hungarian Nature Conservation Institute, and as a park supervisor and agricultural habitat biologist in Canada. He has conducted research in North America, Africa, and Eurasia on a diverse range of fields including nature conservation, human-wildlife conflict, protected area management, community livelihoods, and amphibian ecology.


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