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The Vulnerable fosa Cryptoprocta ferox is the largest native carnivore in Madagascar, fulfilling a unique ecological niche in the island's remaining forests. Negative interactions with humans threaten the long-term viability of most remaining fosa populations across Madagascar. Threats to the fosa include habitat loss and persecution by humans resulting from perceived predation on domestic animals. We used GPS collars to record space use and activity patterns of five fosas in Ankarafantsika National Park, Madagascar, during the dry seasons of 2016 and 2017. The results, with up to 2,110 recorded locations per individual, indicated fosas’ home ranges and movements were not limited to the forest, and all collared individuals used networks of habitat patches and corridors to navigate deforested areas. The fosas studied in Ankarafantsika National Park had significantly larger home ranges than those reported in previous studies in other protected areas. They were rarely found within village boundaries and appeared to avoid areas of human habitation, suggesting that during the study period livestock was not a significant component of the fosas’ diet in this Park. Our results suggest that fosas have some flexibility that enables them to adapt to living near deforested and human-dominated areas by altering their space-use patterns, but they are compensating by increasing their home range size.
Throughout its range in Latin America, the jaguar Panthera onca is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and by conflict as a result of coexistence with people. This Near Threatened species is a top predator, and is often illegally hunted. Understanding people's attitudes and perceptions and the factors that could influence them is crucial for the conservation of this species. In this study we assess how knowledge, attitudes and perceptions among people in northern Argentina regarding jaguars vary depending on their level of education, age and occupation. We interviewed 810 people living in and around 10 protected areas in northern Argentina. Positive perceptions and attitudes towards the jaguar were associated with economic benefits that people may receive from the species’ presence, such as income from tourism. Unexpectedly, higher levels of formal education were not associated with more positive attitudes and perceptions. Negative attitudes and perceptions towards the species were determined by fear; people see jaguars as a threat to their lives. This study shows that the socio-economic factors that affect the level of tolerance towards jaguars are not related only to economic losses. Our findings provide information for the design, implementation and evaluation of jaguar conservation projects in Argentina.
Humans have lived alongside and interacted with wild animals throughout evolutionary history. Even though wild animals can damage property, or injure humans and domesticated animals, not all interactions between humans and wildlife are negative. Yet, research has tended to focus disproportionately on negative interactions leading to negative outcomes, labelling this human–wildlife conflict. Studies have identified several factors, ranging from gender, religion, socio-economics and literacy, which influence people's responses to wildlife. We used the ISI Web of Knowledge database to assess quantitatively how human–wildlife interactions are framed in the scientific literature and to understand the hypotheses that have been invoked to explain these. We found that the predominant focus of research was on human–wildlife conflict (71%), with little coverage of coexistence (2%) or neutral interactions (8%). We suggest that such a framing is problematic as it can lead to biases in conservation planning by failing to consider the nuances of people's relationships with wildlife and the opportunities that exist for conservation. We propose a typology of human responses to wildlife impacts, ranging from negative to positive, to help moderate the disproportionate focus on conflict. We suggest that standardizing terminology and considering interactions beyond those that are negative can lead to a more nuanced understanding of human–wildlife relations and help promote greater coexistence between people and wildlife. We also list the various influential factors that are reported to shape human–wildlife interactions and, to generate further hypotheses and research, classify them into 55 proximate (correlates) and five ultimate (mechanisms) factors.
Tularaemia is a zoonotic disease, in Europe caused by Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica. Many lagomorphs and a variety of small rodents are wildlife species prone to develop clinical disease, while predators and scavengers are relatively resistant and may serve as sentinels. Blood samples from 656 Swedish wild predators and scavengers were serologically investigated using slide agglutination and microagglutination. In the slide agglutination test, 34 seropositive animals were detected, and they were found among all species investigated: brown bear (Ursus arctos), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), wild boar (Sus scrofa), wolf (Canis lupus) and wolverine (Gulo gulo). Due to haemolysis the microagglutination test was more difficult to read at low titres, and only 12 animals were classified as seropositive. F. tularensis subsp. holarctica was detected by a polymerase chain reaction in lymphatic tissues of the head in one brown bear, one red fox and one wolf. The significance of this finding regarding possible latency of infection is not clear. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that all predator and scavenger species included in this study may serve as sentinels for tularaemia in Sweden. Their role as reservoirs is unclear.
This chapter explored the idea of leveraging property rights to enable either better decision making by stakeholders, usually by changing the ex ante information and incentives, or by re-allocating rights as originally suggested by Coase. We explored Hardin’s (in)famous ‘Tragedy of the Commons,’ from the economic perspectives of rivalry (aka subtractability) and excludability. We explored the impacts of observing the three states of rivalrous, non-rivalrous, and anti-rivalrous against both excludable and non-excludable, yielding six types of goods or services. Traditional property concepts, such as rules of first capture or first mover, could lead to inefficient use of resources. Demsetz's theory is that property rights could emerge, sua sponte, internalising externalities that follow from open access; that property rights enable communities to re-balance the impacts of Pigou’s externalities. Demsetz’s theory does not necessarily imply the establishment of private property rights. Again, the issues of rivalry and excludability came into view. Cooter and Ulen advocated that if property rights could be granted for various natural resources, including wildlife, it would benefit the efforts to protect and conserve those resources.
Although both the grey parrot Psittacus erithacus and the recently recognized timneh parrot Psittacus timneh are categorized as Endangered because of harvest for the pet trade and loss of habitat, the latter has a much smaller range and may be largely restricted to a few stronghold areas. In March–April 2018 we surveyed for a total of 114 hours in and around one of these presumed strongholds, the large and well-protected Gola Rainforest National Park, the Sierra Leonean portion of the Gola Transboundary Peace Park. Timneh parrots were encountered at a rate of 0.1 groups/h in the National Park and 0.3 in the buffer zone, indicating densities of 1–3 individuals per km2. These figures are similar to recent density estimates from the Liberian side of the Peace Park, suggesting that the transboundary population amounts to c. 2,400 individuals inside the Park and an unknown number in the surrounding areas. Densities of the timneh parrot may be generally low even in strongholds, its numbers may be declining steeply, and the global population size is probably lower than previously believed.
Wildlife is an essential component of all ecosystems. Most places in the globe do not have local, timely information on which species are present or how their populations are changing. With the arrival of new technologies, camera traps have become a popular way to collect wildlife data. However, data collection has increased at a much faster rate than the development of tools to manage, process and analyse these data. Without these tools, wildlife managers and other stakeholders have little information to effectively manage, understand and monitor wildlife populations. We identify four barriers that are hindering the widespread use of camera trap data for conservation. We propose specific solutions to remove these barriers integrated in a modern technology platform called Wildlife Insights. We present an architecture for this platform and describe its main components. We recognize and discuss the potential risks of publishing shared biodiversity data and a framework to mitigate those risks. Finally, we discuss a strategy to ensure platforms like Wildlife Insights are sustainable and have an enduring impact on the conservation of wildlife.
In order to conserve species exploited by trafficking, governmental actions should be directed to source areas, aiming to reduce or eliminate illegal and indiscriminate trapping. However, few studies have diagnosed and prioritized the most relevant drivers of the illegal capture of wild animals. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the main drivers of the illegal capture of wild birds in Brazil. A literature review and a multivariate modelling approach indicated the economic, social and environmental factors that display the greatest influence in boosting this illicit activity worldwide. Our search revealed seven drivers of illegal wildlife capture addressed by researchers in studies carried out in source countries. This is the first broad-scale study in Brazil showing that higher native vegetation coverage and greater proximity to protected areas were the main drivers of illegal wild bird capture for trafficking. Thus, actions that aim to protect species threatened by trafficking require a multidisciplinary approach encompassing social, economic and environmental factors.
The USA is the largest consumer of legally, internationally-traded wildlife. A proportion of this trade consists of species listed in the Appendices of CITES, and recorded in the CITES Trade Database. Using this resource, we quantified wildlife entering the USA for 82 of the most frequently recorded wildlife products and a range of taxonomic groups during 1979–2014. We examined trends in legal trade and seizures of illegally traded items over time, and relationships between trade and four national measures of biodiversity. We found that: (1) there is an overall positive relationship between legal imports and seizures; (2) Asia was the main region exporting CITES-listed wildlife products to the USA; (3) bears, crocodilians and other mammals (i.e. other than Ursidae, Felidae, Cetacea, Proboscidea, Primates or Rhinocerotidae) increased in both reported legal trade and seizures over time; (4) legal trade in live specimens was reported to be primarily from captive-produced, artificially-propagated or ranched sources, whereas traded meat was primarily wild sourced; (5) both seizures and legally traded items of felids and elephants decreased over time; and (6) volumes of both legally traded and seized species were correlated with four attributes of exporting countries: species endemism, species richness, number of IUCN threatened species, and country size. The goal of our analysis was to inform CITES decision-making and species conservation efforts.
Translocation and rehabilitation programmes are critical tools for wildlife conservation. These methods achieve greater impact when integrated in a combined strategy for enhancing population or ecosystem restoration. During 2002–2016 we reared 37 orphaned southern sea otter Enhydra lutris nereis pups, using captive sea otters as surrogate mothers, then released them into a degraded coastal estuary. As a keystone species, observed increases in the local sea otter population unsurprisingly brought many ecosystem benefits. The role that surrogate-reared otters played in this success story, however, remained uncertain. To resolve this, we developed an individual-based model of the local population using surveyed individual fates (survival and reproduction) of surrogate-reared and wild-captured otters, and modelled estimates of immigration. Estimates derived from a decade of population monitoring indicated that surrogate-reared and wild sea otters had similar reproductive and survival rates. This was true for males and females, across all ages (1–13 years) and locations evaluated. The model simulations indicated that reconstructed counts of the wild population are best explained by surrogate-reared otters combined with low levels of unassisted immigration. In addition, the model shows that 55% of observed population growth over this period is attributable to surrogate-reared otters and their wild progeny. Together, our results indicate that the integration of surrogacy methods and reintroduction of juvenile sea otters helped establish a biologically successful population and restore a once-impaired ecosystem.
This paper combines the property rights approach of Barzel with models from renewable resource and evolutionary economics to examine the domestication of wild animals. Wild animals are governed by weak property rights to stocks and individuals while domesticated animals are governed by private ownership of stocks and individuals. The complex evolutionary process of domestication can be viewed as a conversion of wild populations into private property, as well as a transition from natural selection to economic selection controlled by owners of populations and individuals. In our framework domestication is not the explicit goal of any economic agent, but it emerges as a long-run outcome of an innovation in hunting strategies in a hunter–gatherer society. Our formal model also suggests that the domestication process moves slowly at first but then proceeds rapidly, and is aligned with the archeological evidence on domestication events.
Tropical forest regions in equatorial Africa are threatened with degradation, deforestation and biodiversity loss as a result of land-cover change. We investigated historical land-cover dynamics in unprotected forested areas of the Littoral Region in south-western Cameroon during 1975–2017, to detect changes that may influence this important biodiversity and wildlife area. Processed Landsat imagery was used to map and monitor changes in land use and land cover. From 1975 to 2017 the area of high-value forest landscapes decreased by c. 420,000 ha, and increasing forest fragmentation caused a decline of c. 12% in the largest patch index. Conversely, disturbed vegetation, cleared areas and urban areas all expanded in extent, by 32% (c. 400,000 ha), 5.6% (c. 26,800 ha) and 6.6% (c. 78,631 ha), respectively. The greatest increase was in the area converted to oil palm plantations (c. 26,893 ha), followed by logging and land clearing (c. 34,838 ha), all of which were the major factors driving deforestation in the study area. Our findings highlight the increasing threats facing the wider Littoral Region, which includes Mount Nlonako and Ebo Forest, both of which are critical areas for regional conservation and the latter a proposed National Park and the only sizable area of intact forest in the region. Intact forest in the Littoral Region, and in particular at Ebo, merits urgent protection.
Hunting is a major threat to the endangered jaguar in Brazil. Effective interventions for jaguar conservation demand a better understanding of the prevalence and motivations for hunting. In this study, I investigate the prevalence of jaguar hunting and the potential factors driving the acceptance of this behaviour among residents of two extractive reserves in the eastern Brazilian Amazonia. Between September and October 2013, I surveyed 134 households to assess people’s acceptance of jaguar hunting and potential predictors of acceptance using multiple-item rating scales. To estimate the prevalence of jaguar hunting, I used direct questioning and the randomized response technique. Acceptance of jaguar hunting was neutral to slightly positive on average, being related negatively to educational level and to people’s perceptions of risk of suffering sanctions for hunting a jaguar and related positively to perception of jaguars as a threat to humans. The prevalence rates of jaguar hunting among surveyed households were 9% and 23% according to direct questioning and the randomized response technique, respectively. The results suggest that investments in education and law enforcement may help decrease local support for jaguar hunting in the study area.
We compare the efficiency of mechanical or enzymatic methods, and their combination, for the isolation of ovarian preantral follicles (PFs) from collared peccaries. The ovaries from six females were subjected to the different methods investigated here. For the enzymatic method, ovary fragments were exposed to collagenase type IV in TCM-HEPES medium; the mechanical procedure was based on ovarian cortex dissociation by using a scalpel blade. The residual solution obtained after the mechanical isolation was subjected to the enzymatic procedure. The number of isolated PFs was quantified and classified as primordial, primary, or secondary; their viability was assessed using trypan blue dye assay. To confirm the results, PFs derived from the most efficient method were evaluated for integrity using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and subjected to a 24 h in vitro culture for subsequent evaluation of viability by using fluorescent probes. A higher number of PFs (P < 0.05) was obtained from the enzymatic method (961.7 ± 132.9) in comparison with the mechanical method (434.3 ± 88.9), but no difference was observed between the two methods and their combination (743.2 ± 92.8). The trypan blue assay showed that the enzymatic method (98.7 ± 0.6%) provided the highest percentage of viable follicles (P < 0.05). Furthermore, SEM confirmed the ultrastructural integrity of the surface architecture of peccary PFs isolated by the enzymatic procedure; epifluorescence microscopy was used to confirm their viability (86.0%). In conclusion, we suggest that the enzymatic method investigated here is useful for the isolation of viable ovarian PFs from collared peccaries.
The burden of anthrax in wildlife is demonstrated through high numbers of sudden mortalities among herbivore species, including endangered animal species. East Africa is home of multiple species of faunal wildlife numbering in the millions but there are limited disease surveillance programmes, resulting in a paucity of information on the role of anthrax and other infectious diseases on declining wildlife populations in the region. We reviewed historical data on anthrax outbreaks from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spanning from 1999 to 2017 in Kenya to determine the burden, characteristics and spatial distribution of anthrax outbreaks. A total of 51 anthrax outbreaks associated with 1014 animal deaths were reported across 20 of 60 wildlife conservation areas located in six of the seven agro-ecological zones. Overall, 67% of the outbreaks were reported during the dry seasons, affecting 24 different wildlife species. Over 90% (22 of 24) of the affected species were herbivore, including 12 grazers, five browsers and five mixed grazers and browsers. Buffaloes (23.5%), black rhinos (21.6%) and elephants (17.6%) were the most frequently affected species. Our findings demonstrate the extensive geographic distribution of wildlife anthrax in the country, making it one of the important infectious diseases that threaten wildlife conservation.
Recent studies have highlighted that illegal activities occurring within protected areas, including the poaching of fauna and flora, cannot be addressed with increased law enforcement alone. Moreover, research on the increasingly militarized nature of front-line conservation efforts has pointed to potentially detrimental aspects of such approaches. This has led to a shift in focus to identifying ways to further engage local communities in the prevention and reduction of wildlife crimes. However, few studies have examined the potential for changing the responsibilities of front-line conservation personnel or their views on such changes. Such insight is vital in forecasting the successful adoption of, or possible resistance towards, a more community-oriented policy. We examined rangers’ perceptions in Uganda to assess their attitudes towards traditional enforcement strategies and alternative, non-enforcement approaches for reducing illegal activities in protected areas. Our findings suggest that although respondents believed that traditional enforcement strategies (e.g. foot patrols) are important and effective in reducing wildlife crime, these strategies on their own were insufficient to address illegal activities. Study participants emphasized the importance of expanding the role of front-line rangers, in line with approaches suggested in the policing literature. We discuss the implications of our findings for transdisciplinary conservation science research and front-line conservation policy and practice.
Conflicts with wildlife are a major challenge for conservation across Africa, and Nile crocodiles Crocodylus niloticus are allegedly responsible for more attacks on people than any other species; however, there is a lack of data regarding such attacks. We analysed reported attacks on people by Nile crocodiles in South Africa and eSwatini (Swaziland) during 1949–2016, identifying spatial and temporal patterns in attack incidence, as well as victim demographics. Through a literature review and archival searches we identified records of 214 attacks. Most attacks occurred in natural water bodies, with attacks in dams increasing since 2000. Most victims were attacked while swimming or bathing, others while fishing, doing domestic chores, and crossing waterways. There was a significant relationship between gender and activity when attacked. Children (< 16 years old) accounted for 51% of all attacks, with a higher fatality rate compared to adults. Most victims were male (65%), with teenage boys being the largest individual category. We make recommendations for conservation policy and management to mitigate attacks by Nile crocodiles.
Human–wildlife conflict is one of the most pressing issues in conservation. Low-income rural communities are disproportionately affected by negative interactions with large predators, which often leads to retaliatory killings and persecution of the animals. To overcome this, socio-ecological studies that merge existing knowledge of large predator ecology with long-term livestock depredation monitoring are required. We examined patterns and drivers of livestock depredation in northern Botswana, using a mixed effects model of the government's long-term monitoring data on human–wildlife conflict, to identify ways to reduce depredation at key spatial and temporal scales. We compared the results to farmers’ understanding of their personal risk within the landscape. We analysed 342 depredation events that occurred during 2008–2016, using variables measured at different scales. The variables affecting the locations of depredation events at the 2-km scale were distance to protected areas and predator and herbivore density, with increased depredation in the wet season. At a 1-km scale, herbivore density did not have a significant effect, but the effect of other variables was unchanged. The 4-km scale model was influenced by livestock and herbivore density, with increased depredation in the wet season. Livestock depredation could be reduced by establishing an 8-km livestock-free buffer along the protected area boundary. There was disparity between government data on human–wildlife conflict, depredation reported by farmers in interviews and farmers’ risk awareness. Farmers would benefit from workshops providing tools to make evidence-based decisions and minimize their risk of negative interactions with wildlife. This would ultimately contribute to wildlife conservation in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.
In this study we determined the probability of predator attacks on livestock around Bardia National Park, Nepal. We conducted semi-structured interviews to explore the patterns and factors affecting livestock losses in four administrative sectors of the Park's buffer zone. We developed models to investigate the overall probability of livestock loss, economic damage caused, and the respondents’ attitudes towards wildlife. The probability of leopard attacks on livestock was much higher (85% of all livestock lost to depredation) than that of tiger attacks (8%), and the northern sector experienced the highest loss of livestock (50% modelled probability of livestock loss) in the buffer zone. Livestock loss was significantly related to the number of livestock owned by respondents, their ethnic group, and village distance to the Park boundary. Economic damage was influenced by buffer zone sector, number of livestock owned, and distance to the Park boundary. Conservation attitudes depended on respondents’ knowledge of wildlife, levels of education and self-sufficiency, and the probability of livestock being killed by leopards. Respondents who were male, highly educated and self-sufficient were most likely to support conservation. Tigers are tolerated based on religious beliefs, and these cultural values, together with the sharing of conservation benefits, facilitate conservation. Leopards, however, are not tolerated in the same way and are the most damaging predators.
Declining populations of marine mammals have led to growing concern about their conservation. As a result, a series of specific conservation measures have been put in place (bans on hunting and trading, establishment of protected marine areas). Such rules, although restoring the populations of some species of marine mammals, have nevertheless failed to protect them from the most challenging threat to their survival: the bycatch of non-target species. Accordingly, this Article highlights gaps within fisheries law, clarifying the efficacy of existing norms on the protection of the most endangered marine species of marine mammals, with a particular focus on cetaceans, from over-exploitation.
To this aim, the Article explores the peculiar norms developed by treaties of global and regional scope and the European Union (EU) with reference to specific species, including whales, seals, small cetaceans—referred to as direct protection. The Article then proceeds to an analysis of fisheries law that addresses, in an incidental manner, marine mammal protection—referred to as indirect protection.
The Article is based on the assumption that measures simply banning hunting or fishing, as envisaged by wildlife law, must necessarily be complemented by fisheries law—that is, Inter-regime linkages. Paradoxically, indirect protection can have a major impact in terms of improvement of both fish welfare and conservation; the problem lies in the fact that current fisheries law fails to provide an adequate response to bycatch. This Article proposes methods to improve fisheries law and also discusses whether the emerging concept of fish welfare can be an asset if included in fisheries rules; the Article ultimately contends that welfare issues must necessarily be part of future legal developments.