Rural System's


The Poacher Game

Fangs is a game and an educational unit of Rural System. We bet that it will change your behavior toward poaching population analyses and population management. If it does not, we lose the game. All of us do.

There are dozens of changing factors working on the wildlife resource and in order to sustain benefits of many kinds from the resource, we have to know those forces and how much to spend to gain real progress or to stabilize the resource opportunities available to us.

Fangs, the poacher game, progresses slowly, teaching interactively and reviewing interactively parts of common knowledge about population dynamics, of change. Then it allows you to play the role of or assume that you are a poacher, one who takes wild animals illegally, typically for money. There are some people who poach for food and survival, but their influences are local and probably small. There are some in the US who poach as "a game" with law enforcement officers. It is exciting, gives "a rush" to try to avoid escape, and the punishment is typically small or nothing. When poaching is small and done for food and survival, it is easily forgiven. When it threatens the existence of entire species and is done for great profit, even risk to those who interfere, it is a major crime and needs to be prevented and stopped.

When people go into the business of taking wild animals for money, (for food hides, organs, exportation as pets) then things get very serious. They can deplete to extinction whole populations. The money invested is high. Poachers become very serious and may go to extreme acts to avoid detection or aprehension of their crimes. There is great need for wild faunal studies of the poacher influences. They are probably greater than the "habitat is everything" enthusiasts tend to advocate. Total faunal resource systems work is needed.

    Sometime we learn most by trying to walk in the sandals of others

In this game, you assume the role of the poacher and you are trying to make the most money possible. Maximize your income this year is the objective of your system.

You tally the score for the year at the same time each year. You have about a dozen decisions to make, then you get a score. You can play for several years to better your score or to play against an oponent and that person's score. Plotting your progress over time on a piece of graph paper is a good idea.

The secretary saw no danger in slipping Kekul a note at lunch about the biologists' estimates of the population.
He knew B-rate stood for birth rate and that the number was so high that it had to mean "primary birth rate" derived from inspecting the internal organs of dead females (road-kills, hunting, etc.) The estimated mortality of young, a proportion of the primary birth rate, was the number listed as "Young Mort."

He scribbled on a piece of paper as he thought about the work ahead...

enter Females (for example 430) FEM

enter Young per female (for example 1.5) YOUNG

enter Proportion of young dying before 1 month age (for example 0.5) MORT

He multiplied Females x Young x Mortality = Total Young

and got print TOTAL where TOTAL = FEM x YOUNG x MORT

He thought he could change the sex ratio of the young a little, but knew it was probably 100:100 males to females. He wanted more males since he had a reputation of selling only male fangs. With the population at half males, and two upper fangs per male, and a stable price of $100 per fang, he was living the good life. print ( dollars= rupees in 2005) VALUE = TOTAL x .5 x 2 x 100

Like Kekul, you have some decisions to make. There are several plays of Fangs and each play is that for a year, for that is when the numbers and other information are available. Minor adjustments are assumed to be made within the year.

You can set up the game, that is,make assumptions about your population numbers and structure or use the above numbers to get started. (There are limited checks on entries. Enter realistic numbers.)

Enter the approximate total population number in the area (e.g., 1000 without a comma)

Enter the proportion that are males (e.g., 0.40)

In a population with 60:100 (the conventional expression of sex ratio, males:100 females), the proportion of males is 0.375. The number of males is divided by the total population, both males and females. thus 60 / (60 + 100).

Thus, there are print Males example 400 and Females example 600

Enter the primary birth rate (for example, enter 1.5)

There are several expressions of birth rate ranging from primary to "gross" which is young produced by the total male and female population.

Enter the estimated mortality of the young (for example, enter 0.5)

Deciding when to count life of young is difficult. Is it from the ovary scar, the corpus luteum, the egg of the bird, the hatched bird, or the bird leaving the nest, or the bird making the first return flight to the nest (with similar questions for mammals, such as "at first suckle" or when independent of the female, etc.)? It is an observation linked to the definition of natality or birth rate. Here, assume a primary, earliest birth observation, and relate the loss from that near-potential.

The active young after early life stage mortality are thus: Young= Females x Birth Rate x (1.0- Proportion of Younf Dying)

Enter the current sale price of a typical fang (for example, enter $100 without the dollar sign).

You may assume other products and items for sale from the poached animal, e.g., a tiger skin or bear paw.

Enter the price of improving a fang. (for example, enter $15.50 without the dollar sign)

There may be costs of drying, tanning, grinding, etc. animal parts. You may add a metal mounting at the base of a fang so that it swings nicely from a necklace or key chain. After entering the amount, you may revise the above price that you entered. The item now may now have a higher price. There are are other costs of transportation, payments, etc. but they are assumed to have been included in the current price estimate.

Here is the summary game setup:

Recall the objective (above).

Make decisions and indicate each by tapping the button beside each one. You should tap only one to observe results, then tap Reset to enter other numbers and observe other results, and then read the associated comments. Tap Questions to see a few important ones.

Year 2

Now we can begin to engage the complexities. You may tap several buttons (and probably will need to do so to try to achieve maximum profit). There are many combinations of decisions as well as an infinite number of ways to structure the ititial population and prices. Your score is based on its relationship to the past score. There is a potential for improvement.

Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above .


Rural System
Robert H. Giles, Jr.
July 3, 2005