A Knowledge-based approach to wildlife management

Journal Article


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Journal Title

South African Journal of Wildlife Research

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Volume Title

Southern African Wildlife Management Association


University of Cape Town

We present a method for developing a knowledge base to give wildlife managers timely access to pertinent information. This knowledge-based approach to species management in Namibia focuses on anthologies and management strategies for high-value mammal species.To manage wildlife resources sustainably access to an appropriate knowledge base is essential. The strategic species management approach promotes planning on local, national, and international levels. A hypermedia Information System for Rare Species Management (IRAS) and a decision support system (Wildlife Introduction Advisor) are described. Unlike print media, which become dated, hypermedia is easily updated. The non-sequential nature of hypermedia allows information extraction according to the readers needs. Due to this flexibility hypermedia supports adaptive management and information sharing. Usability evaluation of the IRAS system disproved our assumption that established wildlife conservation categories such as habitat, distribution, and numbers are appropriate and sufficient to structure species information. This result led to a restructuring of the information according to management objectives. Evaluation of the Wildlife Introduction Advisor indicates that the model performs reliably and is robust towards input error. Human experts seem to be susceptible to bias. The economic benefits associated with wildlife translocations demand accountability through a well-defined, transparent distribution process. In Namibia this demand is achieved through the use of a knowledge-based decision support tool.