Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies, International Studies

First Advisor

Deborah D. Avant, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Frank Laird

Third Advisor

Cullen Hendrix

Fourth Advisor

Oliver Kaplan

Fifth Advisor

Annecoos Wiersema


Conservation, Endangered species, Poaching, Relational models theory, Sacred value protection, Wildlife value orientations


Why are some countries more effective than others at controlling rhino poaching? Rhinos are being poached to extinction throughout much of the world, yet some weak and poor countries have successfully controlled rhino poaching. This dissertation presents a theory accounting for divergent patterns in the control of rhino poaching, explaining why rhino poaching has been controlled in some countries yet increases exponentially in others. It does so by examining the relational models predominant in each country with wild rhino populations, including institutional analysis of all rhino range states, detailed analysis of social constructions used by nearly two hundred conservationists in Nepal, Swaziland, and South Africa, and an analytic narrative exploring why Nepal effectively controlled poaching. This dissertation shows that when individuals relate to rhinos in a non-economic manner, rhino poaching can be controlled despite weak police capacity and huge profit incentives to participate in poaching. This dissertation thus demonstrates how constructing wildlife with non-economic social dimensions can enable even a weak and poor country to successful conserve highly endangered species.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Paul F. Tanghe


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

200 p.


Wildlife Conservation, Political Science, Environmental Studies