Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Karen Miller

Committee Members

Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis

Subject Categories

Animal Law | Biodiversity


Elephants, Rhinoceros, Conservation, Poacher


The world is facing biological diversity extinction of its wildlife solely caused by humans. One of the leading causes of the extinction crisis is attributed to poaching and the illegal trade of wildlife products. In search of finding suitable methods to curb the crisis, a dichotomy of overarching solutions has arisen: those who have advocated for community-based natural resource management and those who support militarized conservation. The focus of this paper is to delineate which method is, if any, the most appropriate when combatting poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Concentrating on elephants (both African and Asian) and the rhinoceros, two of the most threatened species of these crimes, this paper looks at a multitude of factors gathered through past literature to determine the best method to conserve endangered species when faced with poaching. Community-based natural resource management, when used alone, has been shown to be incapable of stopping the threat when foreigners and professional criminals are involved. Although militarization of conservation is faced with a lot of critics and leaves the possibility of corruption and human right violations to occur, militarization of wildlife conservation has proven to be an effective method to protect animals against those who have their mind set on breaking the law. The only solution is a more adaptive and holistic one, which combines the two strategies of community-based natural resource management and conservation militarization. To chastise the idea and utility of conservation militarization is to leave an invaluable tool in the bag when combatting those who are set on poaching and participating in the lucrative illegal wildlife trade