Managing conflict between large carnivores and livestock
van Eeden LM., Crowther MS., Dickman CR., Macdonald DW., Ripple WJ., Ritchie EG., Newsome TM.
© 2017 Society for Conservation Biology Large carnivores are persecuted globally because they threaten human industries and livelihoods. How this conflict is managed has consequences for the conservation of large carnivores and biodiversity more broadly. Mitigating human–predator conflict should be evidence-based and accommodate people's values while protecting carnivores. Despite much research into human and large-carnivore coexistence strategies, there have been few attempts to document the success of conflict-mitigation strategies on a global scale. We conducted a meta-analysis of global research on conflict mitigation related to large carnivores and humans. We focused on conflicts that arise from the threat large carnivores pose to livestock. We first used structured and unstructured searching to identify replicated studies that used before–after or control–impact design to measure change in livestock loss as a result of implementing a management intervention. We then extracted relevant data from these studies to calculate an overall effect size for each intervention type. Research effort and focus varied among continents and aligned with the histories and cultures that shaped livestock production and attitudes toward carnivores. Livestock guardian animals most effectively reduced livestock losses. Lethal control was the second most effective control, although its success varied the most, and guardian animals and lethal control did not differ significantly. Financial incentives have promoted tolerance of large carnivores in some settings and reduced retaliatory killings. We suggest coexistence strategies be location-specific, incorporate cultural values and environmental conditions, and be designed such that return on financial investment can be evaluated. Improved monitoring of mitigation measures is urgently required to promote effective evidence-based policy.