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The Role of Local Communities in Conserving Endangered Species (Case study: Persian Fallow Deer in Khuzestan Province, Iran)


 Start Page 25 | End Page 38


 Nowadays, dispersal of Persian fallow dear (Dama Mesopotamica) is restricted to the forests and woodlands near Dez and Karkheh rivers in southwestern Iran. However, there are no reliable data for the species from these regions in recent years. The present study aims to assess the knowledge of Local Communities and the importance of the endangered species from the perspective of the human communities. A total of 500 respondents belong to 27 localities (situated in Dezful, Shush and Andimeshk counties) surrounding the study area were interviewed representing different Local Communities. The respondents were selected randomly to avoid serious bias. The findings showed that more than 56% of the respondents did not even know that the fallow deer is one of the wildlife species in the study area. About 16. 4 percent of people (mainly older people) claimed to have seen the species in natural habitats of Dez and Karkhe Protected Areas. Moreover, roughly 73 percent of respondents claimed that they have a high willingness to observe the Persian fallow deer in natural habitats of the study area. In this respect, more than half of participants are willing to pay from one to 1. 5 dollars per one to observe deer in the protected areas. The majority of respondents (86. 4%) believed that poaching and habitat destruction are the most important factors threatening the Persian fallow deer in the study area. Gaurenteed sustainable conservation is of high importance for most people (67. 8%). The willingness to pay in order to establish a fund for conservation of Persian fallow deer was estimated between one to seven dollars annually. Raising community awareness of Persian fallow deer biology and its national and global importance, introducing the species as a flagship and using community-based Management were recommended as suitable conservation strategies for the Persian fallow deer.


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