Wildlife hunting is an important economic activity that contributes to the subsistence of indigenous peoples and the maintenance of their cultural identity. Changes in indigenous peoples' ways of life affect the way they manage the ecosystems and resources around them, including wildlife populations. This paper explores the relationship between cultural change, or detachment from traditional culture, and hunting behaviour among the Tsimane', an indigenous group in the Bolivian Amazon. We interviewed 344 hunters in 39 villages to estimate their hunting activity and the degree of cultural change among them. We used multilevel analyses to assess the relationships between three different proxies for cultural change at the individual level (schooling, visits to a market town, and detachment from tradition), and the following two independent variables: 1) probability of engaging in hunting (i.e., hunting activity) and 2) hunting efficiency with catch per unit effort (CPUE). We found a statistically significant negative association between schooling and hunting activity. Hunting efficiency (CPUE biomass/km) was positively associated with visits to a market town, when holding other co-variates in the model constant. Other than biophysical factors, such as game abundance, hunting is also conditioned by social factors (e.g., schooling) that shape the hunters' cultural system and impel them to engage in hunting or deter them from doing so.
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