What is a conservation social scientist and why is she visiting South Africa? Dr. Meredith Gore is one of the world’s leading conservation experts and she recently traveled to South Africa to learn from and share best practices with South African students, community members, and government officials on tackling issues of wildlife poaching, wildlife trafficking, and community-based natural resource management.
One of Dr. Meredith’s key focus points was highlighting how scientists can help to support efforts to combat wildlife poaching and trafficking. In addition to gaining insight from conservation officers and rangers on the ground, research by Michigan State University‘s Dr. Meredith Gore proves the invaluable contribution liaising with the communities surrounding nature reserves and parks, can add to understanding the causes and effects of wildlife trafficking for that community and beyond.
During Dr. Meredith’s recent meeting with conservation students and practitioners at Southern African Wildlife College, outside Hoedspruit, she explained the illicit trade in wildlife is growing at two to three times the rate of the global economy. Focusing on situational crime prevention or directing efforts to first and foremost prevent the poaching and trafficking of wildlife, could help disrupt and discourage potential offenders.
Dr. Meredith is currently visiting South Africa to learn more about South Africa’s world-renowned efforts to combat wildlife trafficking and poaching. At the college, she also had an opportunity to learn about the training of field rangers from across the African continent and learn about the progressive conservation management curriculum.
Through Dr. Meredith’s work as a conservation criminologist she seeks to collaborate and coordinate with communities and different stakeholders to promote community-based natural resource management and gain an understanding of global efforts to curb wildlife poaching.