Wolves can suppress goodwill for leopards: Patterns of human-predator coexistence in northeastern Iran
Farhadinia MS., Johnson PJ., Hunter LTB., Macdonald DW.
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Mammalian carnivores often cause problems for people by preying on domestic stock. Exploring the factors that affect people's attitudes to predators, in particular the circumstances when some degree of loss is tolerated, is needed for developing predator management plans. When more than one species of predator is involved, there may be unexpected interactive effects in shaping people's tolerance. We addressed this hypothesis in a west Asian multi-predator montane landscape with high density of both wild ungulates and livestock harboring two large predators, Persian leopard and grey wolf. A semi-structured questionnaire survey of herders residing around Tandoureh, Salouk and Sarigol National Parks, northeastern Iran was carried out. The perceived role of leopards in depredation was negligible compared with that of wolves which were reported to be more frequent stock raiders and responsible for an average of 5.7 times more annual losses per herd by than were leopards. Non-predatory causes of mortality, particularly diseases, were clearly the major threat to livestock. Interviewed herders showed different attitudes toward each predator. Regardless of any recent occurrence of stock raiding by wolves, they were predominantly considered negatively. Although people showed mainly positive attitudes toward leopards, respondents who reported more wolf attacks tended to have more negative attitudes toward leopards. Hence, in multiple predator ecosystems, peoples' attitudes toward each species may be affected by the perceived activity of other predators. Often neglected in conservation programs, this phenomenon is clearly important in sustaining people tolerance particularly if endangered large predators are involved.