Evaluation of tenrec population viability and potential sustainable management under hunting pressure in northeastern Madagascar
Editor: Julie Young
Associate Editor: Pia Lentini
Across the Global South, wildlife is an important source of nutrition and income, particularly for rural communities. While wildlife consumption provides a valuable source of nutrition, high levels of hunting can endanger wildlife species. In the Makira region of north-eastern Madagascar, human health is threatened by food insecurity and malnutrition, and spiny tenrecs are a crucial source of subsistence bushmeat with 91% of households consuming tenrecs at least once per year. Moreover, Makira’s human populations are increasing, resulting in forest decline and degradation. In order to inform conservation and public health efforts, we investigated the influence of hunting, habitat loss and forest degradation on spiny tenrec population dynamics in the Makira region. We collected data on tenrec population densities as well as hunting and consumption by humans in 51 communities. We used these data to conduct a population viability analysis for the two most commonly hunted spiny tenrecs (Tenrec ecaudatus and Setifer setosus). We found that current harvest rates for these species are generally sustainable in the Makira region, largely due to tenrecs’ extraordinary fecundity. However, even assuming no change in current hunting rates, tenrec populations could become threatened if fecundity were to decline or background mortality to increase, both possible scenarios under future trajectories of habitat loss and degradation. We find that any future increase in hunting-induced mortality rates for tenrecs are similarly unsustainable – and likely to occur as human populations expand and hunting areas decline. We conclude that there is a vanishing window of opportunity to sustainably manage tenrec hunting in northeastern Madagascar in order to avoid negative conservation and human health outcomes.
Conflicts of interest
We have no conflicts of interest to declare.
Data availability statement
HSPH Office for Human Research Administration IRB 22826-01 prevents us from publicly disclosing hunter harvest data. Citations to publicly available datasets are provided in the text.
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Text S1. Study Sites.
Text S2. Study Species.
Text S3. Trapping Arrangements.
Text S4. Sensitivity Analysis for Impact of T. Ecaudatus Density on Model Results.
Text S5. Formulating Generalized Linear Models of Consumption.
Text S6. Estimation of Distribution of Tenrecine Population Sizes.
Text S7. Derivation of Life History Parameters from the Literature.
Text S8. Construction and Analysis of Lefkovitch Matrices.
Figure S1. Locations of Study Sites. The full 51 surveyed communities are shown on the map, and the three where live tenrec trapping was conducted are marked in red.
Figure S2. Configuration of pit-fall line and Tomahawk Live Traps.
Figure S3. Distributions of stochastically simulated densities (a), hunt areas (b) and population (c,d).
Figure S4. Sensitivity Analysis for impact of T. Ecaudatus density simulated as 1x that of S. Setosus density on simulated densities (a), population size (b), annual adult mortality (c), and number of communities with sustainable hunting under various parameter estimates (d).
Figure S5. Sensitivity Analysis for impact of T. Ecaudatus density simulated as 0.5x that of S. Setosus density on simulated densities (a), population size (b), annual adult mortality (c), and number of communities with sustainable hunting under various parameter estimates (d).
Figure S6. Distributions of annual adult mortality for T. ecaudatus (a) and S. setosus (b).
Figure S7. Lefkovitch Matrix construction (a), Lefkovitch Matrices (a,c) and Elasticity Matrices (b,d).
Figure S8. Predicted maximum number of households for sustainable hunting of T. ecaudatus (a) and S. setosus (b).
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