Optimal control problem arises from illegal poaching of southern white rhino mathematical model

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Abstract

In this paper, a novel dynamical population model of a southern white rhino with legal and illegal poaching activity is introduced. The model constructed is based on a predator–prey model with southern white rhinos as prey and humans (hunters) as predators. We divide the southern white rhino population into three classes based on their horn condition. We investigate the existence and the stability of the equilibrium points, which depend on some threshold functions. From an analytical result, it is trivial that arresting as many hunters as possible helps conserve white rhinos, but it comes at a high cost. Therefore, an optimal strategy is needed. The optimal control is then constructed using Pontryagin’s minimum principle and solved numerically with an iterative forward–backward method. Optimal control simulations are given to provide additional insight into the dynamics of the model. Analysis of the cost function effectiveness is conducted using the ACER (Average Cost–Effectiveness Ratio) and ICER (Incremental Cost–Effectiveness Ratio) indicator method. The results show that the hunter population can be more easily controlled with a time-dependent hunter arrest rate rather than by treating it as a constant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number605
JournalAdvances in Difference Equations
Volume2020
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Illegal hunter
  • Optimal control problem
  • Predator–prey model
  • Southern white rhino

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