Strategic Behavior and the Environment > Vol 6 > Issue 1-2

Poaching and the Protection of an Endangered Species: A Game-Theoretic Approach

Adrian A. Lopes, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Jon M. Conrad, Cornell University, USA,
Suggested Citation
Adrian A. Lopes and Jon M. Conrad (2016), "Poaching and the Protection of an Endangered Species: A Game-Theoretic Approach", Strategic Behavior and the Environment: Vol. 6: No. 1-2, pp 37-72.

Published: 15 Dec 2016
© 2016 A. A. Lopes and J. M. Conrad
Environmental Economics: Endangered Species
JEL Codes: Q2Q20Q57
Poachingbioeconomicsstrategic interactionconservation

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In this article:
A Model of Poaching and Protection
Simulation Results
If Elephants Avoid Areas Where Poachers have Killed


Poaching of rhino and elephant has increased significantly over the last decade. We develop a model that views poaching and protection of a migratory species as a repeated, spatial game between strategic opponents. A poacher and an anti-poaching patrol make locational decisions each season on where to poach and where to patrol. We simulate different locational strategies to determine their affect on species abundance. Random locational strategies that account for the spatial distribution of the species are superior to non-random strategies for both the poacher and the antipoaching patrol. This mixed-locational strategy is shown to be a unique Nash equilibrium. If elephants avoid kill sites from the previous year, they may contribute to their own protection by reducing the number sites where they would be found.