People, predators and perceptions

patterns of livestock depredation by snow leopards and wolves

Kulbhushansingh R. Suryawanshi*, Yash Veer Bhatnagar, Stephen Redpath, Charudutt Mishra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Livestock depredation by large carnivores is an important conservation and economic concern and conservation management would benefit from a better understanding of spatial variation and underlying causes of depredation events. Focusing on the endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia and the wolf Canis lupus, we identify the ecological factors that predispose areas within a landscape to livestock depredation. We also examine the potential mismatch between reality and human perceptions of livestock depredation by these carnivores whose survival is threatened due to persecution by pastoralists. We assessed the distribution of the snow leopard, wolf and wild ungulate prey through field surveys in the 4000km2 Upper Spiti Landscape of trans-Himalayan India. We interviewed local people in all 25 villages to assess the distribution of livestock and peoples' perceptions of the risk to livestock from these carnivores. We monitored village-level livestock mortality over a 2-year period to assess the actual level of livestock depredation. We quantified several possibly influential independent variables that together captured variation in topography, carnivore abundance and abundance and other attributes of livestock. We identified the key variables influencing livestock depredation using multiple logistic regressions and hierarchical partitioning. Our results revealed notable differences in livestock selectivity and ecological correlates of livestock depredation both perceived and actual by snow leopards and wolves. Stocking density of large-bodied free-ranging livestock (yaks and horses) best explained people's threat perception of livestock depredation by snow leopards, while actual livestock depredation was explained by the relative abundance of snow leopards and wild prey. In the case of wolves, peoples' perception was best explained by abundance of wolves, while actual depredation by wolves was explained by habitat structure. Synthesis and applications. Our results show that (i) human perceptions can be at odds with actual patterns of livestock depredation, (ii) increases in wild prey populations will intensify livestock depredation by snow leopards, and prey recovery programmes must be accompanied by measures to protect livestock, (iii) compensation or insurance programmes should target large-bodied livestock in snow leopard habitats and (iv) sustained awareness programmes are much needed, especially for the wolf.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-560
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
Volume50
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • Canis lupus
  • Capra ibex
  • humanwildlife conflict
  • large carnivores
  • Panthera uncia
  • Pseudois nayaur
  • trans-Himalaya
  • Indian Trans-Himalaya
  • carnivore conservation
  • Uncia-uncia
  • conflict
  • ecology
  • regression
  • behaviors
  • selection
  • farmers
  • biology

Cite this

People, predators and perceptions : patterns of livestock depredation by snow leopards and wolves. / Suryawanshi, Kulbhushansingh R.; Bhatnagar, Yash Veer; Redpath, Stephen; Mishra, Charudutt.

In: Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 50, No. 3, 06.2013, p. 550-560.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Suryawanshi, Kulbhushansingh R. ; Bhatnagar, Yash Veer ; Redpath, Stephen ; Mishra, Charudutt. / People, predators and perceptions : patterns of livestock depredation by snow leopards and wolves. In: Journal of Applied Ecology. 2013 ; Vol. 50, No. 3. pp. 550-560.
@article{9f1020a197324d05ad74e8ec8ca0d629,
title = "People, predators and perceptions: patterns of livestock depredation by snow leopards and wolves",
abstract = "Livestock depredation by large carnivores is an important conservation and economic concern and conservation management would benefit from a better understanding of spatial variation and underlying causes of depredation events. Focusing on the endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia and the wolf Canis lupus, we identify the ecological factors that predispose areas within a landscape to livestock depredation. We also examine the potential mismatch between reality and human perceptions of livestock depredation by these carnivores whose survival is threatened due to persecution by pastoralists. We assessed the distribution of the snow leopard, wolf and wild ungulate prey through field surveys in the 4000km2 Upper Spiti Landscape of trans-Himalayan India. We interviewed local people in all 25 villages to assess the distribution of livestock and peoples' perceptions of the risk to livestock from these carnivores. We monitored village-level livestock mortality over a 2-year period to assess the actual level of livestock depredation. We quantified several possibly influential independent variables that together captured variation in topography, carnivore abundance and abundance and other attributes of livestock. We identified the key variables influencing livestock depredation using multiple logistic regressions and hierarchical partitioning. Our results revealed notable differences in livestock selectivity and ecological correlates of livestock depredation both perceived and actual by snow leopards and wolves. Stocking density of large-bodied free-ranging livestock (yaks and horses) best explained people's threat perception of livestock depredation by snow leopards, while actual livestock depredation was explained by the relative abundance of snow leopards and wild prey. In the case of wolves, peoples' perception was best explained by abundance of wolves, while actual depredation by wolves was explained by habitat structure. Synthesis and applications. Our results show that (i) human perceptions can be at odds with actual patterns of livestock depredation, (ii) increases in wild prey populations will intensify livestock depredation by snow leopards, and prey recovery programmes must be accompanied by measures to protect livestock, (iii) compensation or insurance programmes should target large-bodied livestock in snow leopard habitats and (iv) sustained awareness programmes are much needed, especially for the wolf.",
keywords = "Canis lupus, Capra ibex, humanwildlife conflict, large carnivores, Panthera uncia, Pseudois nayaur, trans-Himalaya, Indian Trans-Himalaya, carnivore conservation, Uncia-uncia, conflict, ecology, regression, behaviors, selection, farmers, biology",
author = "Suryawanshi, {Kulbhushansingh R.} and Bhatnagar, {Yash Veer} and Stephen Redpath and Charudutt Mishra",
year = "2013",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1111/1365-2664.12061",
language = "English",
volume = "50",
pages = "550--560",
journal = "Journal of Applied Ecology",
issn = "0021-8901",
publisher = "Wiley",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - People, predators and perceptions

T2 - patterns of livestock depredation by snow leopards and wolves

AU - Suryawanshi, Kulbhushansingh R.

AU - Bhatnagar, Yash Veer

AU - Redpath, Stephen

AU - Mishra, Charudutt

PY - 2013/6

Y1 - 2013/6

N2 - Livestock depredation by large carnivores is an important conservation and economic concern and conservation management would benefit from a better understanding of spatial variation and underlying causes of depredation events. Focusing on the endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia and the wolf Canis lupus, we identify the ecological factors that predispose areas within a landscape to livestock depredation. We also examine the potential mismatch between reality and human perceptions of livestock depredation by these carnivores whose survival is threatened due to persecution by pastoralists. We assessed the distribution of the snow leopard, wolf and wild ungulate prey through field surveys in the 4000km2 Upper Spiti Landscape of trans-Himalayan India. We interviewed local people in all 25 villages to assess the distribution of livestock and peoples' perceptions of the risk to livestock from these carnivores. We monitored village-level livestock mortality over a 2-year period to assess the actual level of livestock depredation. We quantified several possibly influential independent variables that together captured variation in topography, carnivore abundance and abundance and other attributes of livestock. We identified the key variables influencing livestock depredation using multiple logistic regressions and hierarchical partitioning. Our results revealed notable differences in livestock selectivity and ecological correlates of livestock depredation both perceived and actual by snow leopards and wolves. Stocking density of large-bodied free-ranging livestock (yaks and horses) best explained people's threat perception of livestock depredation by snow leopards, while actual livestock depredation was explained by the relative abundance of snow leopards and wild prey. In the case of wolves, peoples' perception was best explained by abundance of wolves, while actual depredation by wolves was explained by habitat structure. Synthesis and applications. Our results show that (i) human perceptions can be at odds with actual patterns of livestock depredation, (ii) increases in wild prey populations will intensify livestock depredation by snow leopards, and prey recovery programmes must be accompanied by measures to protect livestock, (iii) compensation or insurance programmes should target large-bodied livestock in snow leopard habitats and (iv) sustained awareness programmes are much needed, especially for the wolf.

AB - Livestock depredation by large carnivores is an important conservation and economic concern and conservation management would benefit from a better understanding of spatial variation and underlying causes of depredation events. Focusing on the endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia and the wolf Canis lupus, we identify the ecological factors that predispose areas within a landscape to livestock depredation. We also examine the potential mismatch between reality and human perceptions of livestock depredation by these carnivores whose survival is threatened due to persecution by pastoralists. We assessed the distribution of the snow leopard, wolf and wild ungulate prey through field surveys in the 4000km2 Upper Spiti Landscape of trans-Himalayan India. We interviewed local people in all 25 villages to assess the distribution of livestock and peoples' perceptions of the risk to livestock from these carnivores. We monitored village-level livestock mortality over a 2-year period to assess the actual level of livestock depredation. We quantified several possibly influential independent variables that together captured variation in topography, carnivore abundance and abundance and other attributes of livestock. We identified the key variables influencing livestock depredation using multiple logistic regressions and hierarchical partitioning. Our results revealed notable differences in livestock selectivity and ecological correlates of livestock depredation both perceived and actual by snow leopards and wolves. Stocking density of large-bodied free-ranging livestock (yaks and horses) best explained people's threat perception of livestock depredation by snow leopards, while actual livestock depredation was explained by the relative abundance of snow leopards and wild prey. In the case of wolves, peoples' perception was best explained by abundance of wolves, while actual depredation by wolves was explained by habitat structure. Synthesis and applications. Our results show that (i) human perceptions can be at odds with actual patterns of livestock depredation, (ii) increases in wild prey populations will intensify livestock depredation by snow leopards, and prey recovery programmes must be accompanied by measures to protect livestock, (iii) compensation or insurance programmes should target large-bodied livestock in snow leopard habitats and (iv) sustained awareness programmes are much needed, especially for the wolf.

KW - Canis lupus

KW - Capra ibex

KW - humanwildlife conflict

KW - large carnivores

KW - Panthera uncia

KW - Pseudois nayaur

KW - trans-Himalaya

KW - Indian Trans-Himalaya

KW - carnivore conservation

KW - Uncia-uncia

KW - conflict

KW - ecology

KW - regression

KW - behaviors

KW - selection

KW - farmers

KW - biology

U2 - 10.1111/1365-2664.12061

DO - 10.1111/1365-2664.12061

M3 - Article

VL - 50

SP - 550

EP - 560

JO - Journal of Applied Ecology

JF - Journal of Applied Ecology

SN - 0021-8901

IS - 3

ER -