Book Chapter
Managing conflicts over livestock depredation by large carnivores
In Human-Wildlife Conflict in the Mountains of SAARC Region - Compilation of Successful Management Strategies and Practices, SAARC Forestry Centre Office Thimphu, Bhutan

PDF, 1020 KB

Managing wildlife-caused damage to human interests has become an important aspect of contemporary conservation management. Conflicts between pastoralism and carnivore conservation over livestock depredation pose a serious challenge to endangered carnivores worldwide, and have become an important livelihood concern locally. Here, we first review the primary causes of these conflicts, their socio-ecological correlates, and commonly employed mitigation measures. We then describe a community-based program to manage conflicts over livestock depredation by snow leopards Panthera uncia and wolves Canis lupus. A threats-based conceptual model of conflict management is presented. Conflicts over livestock depredation are characterized by complex, multi-scale interactions between carnivore and livestock behavioral ecology, animal husbandry, human psyche, culture, world-views, and socio-economic and education levels of affected peoples. A diversity of commonly employed conflict-mitigation measures is available. They aim at (i) reducing livestock depredation through better livestock herding, use of physical, chemical or psychological barriers, removal of carnivores, and use of livestock guard animals, (ii) offsetting economic losses through damage compensation and insurance programmes, and (iii) increasing peoples’ tolerance of carnivores through indirect approaches such as conservation education and economic incentives. For effective management, conflicts need to be understood along two important dimensions, viz., the reality of damage caused to humans, and the psyche and perceptions of humans who suffer wildlife caused damage. The efficacy of commonly used mitigation measures is variable. A combination of measures that reduce the level of livestock depredation, share or offset economic losses, and improve the social carrying capacity for carnivores will be more effective in managing conflicts than standalone measures

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