Evaluating the Prospects of Benefit Sharing Schemes in Protecting Mountain Gorillas in Central Africa
Presently, the mountain gorilla in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo is endangered mainly by poaching and habitat loss. This paper sets out to investigate the possible resolution of poaching involving the local community by using benefit sharing schemes with local communities. Using a bioeconomic model, the paper demonstrates that the current revenue sharing scheme yields suboptimal conservation outcomes. It is shown, however, that a performance-linked benefit sharing scheme in which the Park Agency makes payment to the local community based on the growth of the gorilla stock can achieve socially optimal conservation. This scheme renders unnecessary poaching effort by the local community. Therefore, it becomes unnecessary to impose poaching fines and anti-poaching enforcement on the local community. Given the huge financial outlay requirements for the ideal benefit sharing scheme, the Park Agencies in Central Africa could reap more financial benefits for use in conservation if they employ an oligopolistic pricing strategy for gorilla tourism.
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