No park and wildlife protection strategy can work without community involvement, from re-training poachers to be rangers to building strong informant networks. Developing tourism income and activities with local communities reduces the chance of local people becoming involved in illegal activities. National parks in developing countries have large stakeholder groups in the surrounding communities, which are critical to longterm protection. Key programs include:

Stakeholder support, especially support from the communities surrounding national parks. In order to protect national parks in the long term, park authorities must join forces with local community stakeholders. Global Conservation funds community involvement programs including Eco-Guards, tourism cooperatives, and park ranger and management training.

Basic living support, or helping the community develop solutions for their basic needs such as clean water, is important and builds trust. Solutions should be developed and executed jointly. A lack of basic resources leads to starvation, sickness, crime, and a whole host of other societal problems that ultimately can lead to wildlife crime and a lack of cooperation with authorities. We reaffirm everyone’s right to basic resources and we work to establish a plan to ensure communities involved in our projects have access to these basic resources and services.

Anonymous informant reward systems can be a successful tool in making arrests and gathering intelligence when properly initiated. All information must be vetted before action is taken. Good information can lead to arrests, seizures of illegal goods, and the prevention of wildlife crimes before they happen. It’s critical to compile reliable information into a database as well. Informants are financially compensated for information leading to arrests and prosecution of illegal activities such as poaching, hunting, mining or logging. This can be a good way to build community relations by directly benefiting community members while simultaneously protecting parks.