A cultural consensus regarding the king vulture?: preliminary findings and their application to Mexican conservation
Keywords:Local Ecological Knowledge, Governance, Southern Yucatan Calakmul
Ecosystem management regularly requires bridging diverse cultural perspectives. As a result, researchers commonly assert that including local ecological knowledge in conservation strategies is essential to crafting enduring environmental solutions. Using the case of the king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa), we take preliminary steps in asking how ethnoecology and field biology might be combined in conservation practice. The paper reports on a questionnaire applied to sixty-six local experts in southern Yucatán, home to Mexico’s largest expanse of tropical forest and the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. Local experts included forest workers, i.e. hunters, loggers, and gum tappers, some of whom worked as guides for field biologists. The research results point to the possibility of a cultural consensus among these experts regarding the bird’s natural history. After outlining this preliminary consensus and contrasting it with academic findings, the paper considers the implications of a consensus for conservation programming.