Human Wildlife Conflict I

Contributed Oral Presentations


Contributed paper sessions will be available on-demand for the duration of the conference, then again at the conclusion of the conference.


Predation Services: Quantifying Societal Effects of Predators and Their Prey
Sophie L. Gilbert; Neil Carter; Robin Naidoo
Conservation of predators, especially large and dangerous ones, can be controversial among stakeholders who must co-exist with them. What is often overlooked, however, are the direct and indirect ecosystem services and disservices predators perform via predation of herbivores (“predation services”). Here, we used a theoretical predator-prey-economic model to examine when predators are likely to provide a net service to society, by comparing services/disservices to a predator-free counterfactual scenario. We found that net predator services were strongly dependent on how per-capita services and disservices of predators and prey changed with abundance (i.e., marginal value functions of service/disservice). We suggest that further empirical research is needed into marginal values of service/disservices of wildlife, because transferring net services among locations – a common practice – may be problematic unless marginal value functions are known. Rigorously quantifying services/disservices of predators could improve conservation and management outcomes by increasing effective communication to diverse stakeholders.
Exploring Human-Elephant Conflict in Sabah, Malaysia, Using An Environmental Justice Lens
Elena C. Rubino; Christopher Serenari; Nurzhafarina Othman; Marc Ancrenaz
Sabah is concurrently Malaysia’s largest producer of oil palm and home to the endangered Bornean elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis). This combination has led to increasing and unsustainable human-elephant conflict (HEC) for rural residents living near oil palm plantations. As such, Sabah makes for an exemplary case study to explore HEC as a distributive justice issue that should be analyzed through an environmental justice lens. Using this approach, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 37 village smallholders with a) direct knowledge of or experience with human-elephant interactions and elephant rescue and rehabilitation and b) living in non-, medium-, and high-HEC villages. We investigated the formal and informal village institutions employed to mediate HEC, villager behavior towards elephants, and villager attitudes towards elephant conservation and the future viability of human-elephant coexistence. Respondents highlighted emotions of fear, anger, and frustration over crop and property damage that villagers were unable to effectively mitigate employing traditional institutions and strategies. Although negative emotions were somewhat tempered by the cultural significance of elephants, respondents indicated that coexistence is challenging and likely only viable under certain conditions: domestication of elephants, if elephants no longer destroyed crops, and/or if elephants were provided separate forested habitat away from humans. To achieve elephant conservation, we conclude that HEC as an environmental justice problem requires traditional fixes to be merged with more extensive, sustainable solutions (e.g., grassroots activism, legal action) that address underlying issues and injustices.
Firearm Type and Shot Placement Determine Lead Deposition in Hunter Harvested Deer
Matt Broadway; Emily B. McCallan; Joe Caudell; Chad Stewart
Lead from spent ammunition introduces health risks to humans and wildlife consuming hunter harvested game. Most research has focused on effects of high-velocity rifle bullets, while low-velocity lead ammunition has received little attention. We examined whether fragmentation characteristics differed between 3 common low-velocity ammunition types when shot into the thoracic cavity, or shoulder, of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) culled in Indiana, USA. We shot and radiographed 43 deer to determine the total number of fragments, fragment size, and distance traveled by individual fragments. We also radiographed deer post-evisceration to determine the proportion of fragments available to humans and wildlife scavengers for consumption in muscle and visceral tissue, respectively. All radiographed deer showed evidence of fragmentation, with a geometric mean of 13.1 (95% CI = 10.3, 16.8) fragments/deer. Most fragments (89%) were <5mm from wound channels, and no fragment traveled beyond 205 mm from a wound channel. Fragments often were retained within the muscle tissue of deer with a geometric mean rate of 0.55 (95% CI = 0.48, 0.65). Muzzleloader (M) bullet fragments were larger than those generated by rifled (R), and sabot slugs (S), while sabot slug fragments had the shortest dispersal from wound channels. Shoulder-shot placement and bone contact for all ammunition resulted in a greater number of fragments (P < 0.01). Shoulder-shots also generated more small fragments and higher fragment retention in muscle tissue. Our results indicate ammunition type and shot placement may be considerations for hunters wishing to limit their potential exposure to lead from harvested big game. When compared to high-velocity ammunition, significantly fewer lead fragments are made available to humans and wildlife consuming game harvested with low-velocity ammunition, such as those tested here. Complete elimination of lead ingestion by humans and wildlife, however, is possible only by using non-toxic ammunition alternatives
Frontal Vehicle Illumination Via Rear-Facing Lighting Reduces Potential for Collisions with White-Tailed Deer
Travis L. DeVault; Thomas W. Seamans; Bradley F. Blackwell
Animal-vehicle collisions cause many millions of animal deaths annually worldwide and present a substantial safety risk to people. We evaluated a vehicle-based collision mitigation method designed to decrease the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions during low-light conditions. Specifically, we investigated whether the use of a rear-facing light, providing more complete frontal vehicle illumination than standard headlights alone, enhanced vehicle avoidance behaviors of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). We quantified flight initiation distance (FID), the likelihood of a dangerous deer-vehicle interaction (FID ≤ 50 m), and road-crossing behavior of deer in response to an oncoming vehicle using only standard high-beam headlights and the same vehicle using headlights plus an LED light bar illuminating the frontal surface of the vehicle. We predicted that frontal vehicle illumination would enhance perceived risk of deer approached by the vehicle and lead to more effective avoidance responses. We conducted 62 vehicle approaches (31 per lighting treatment) towards free-ranging deer over ~14 months. Although FID did not differ across treatments, the likelihood of a dangerous deer-vehicle interaction decreased from 35% of vehicle approaches using only headlights to 10% of vehicle approaches using the light bar. The reduction in dangerous interactions appeared to be driven by fewer instances of immobility (“freezing”) behavior by deer in response to the illuminated vehicle (n = 1) compared to approaches using only headlights (n = 10). Because more deer moved in response to the illuminated vehicle, road-crossing behavior likewise increased when the light bar was on, although these road crossings primarily occurred at FIDs > 50 m and thus did not increase collision risk. We contend that frontal vehicle illumination via rear-facing lighting has potential to greatly reduce vehicle collisions with deer and other species. Future work should explore fine-tuning the method with regard to the visual capabilities of target species.
Cattle Ranching in a Mixed-Use Landscape and Its Relationship to Jaguar Conservation: The Case of the Reserva De La Biosfera Sierra Del Abra Tanchipa in San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Elizabeth Jean Painter; Adrián Silva-Caballero; Alejandra Olivera-Méndez; Juan Felipe Martínez-Montoya; Octavio Cesar Rosas-Rosas; Luis Antonio Tarango-Arámbula; Juan de Dios Guerrero-Rodríguez
In 2016, cattle ranching was a $113 billion-dollar business in Mexico, which has more than doubled in the last decade. As the ranching industry grows, more encounters will occur between humans, livestock and large predators which will mean an even greater conversion pressure on wild lands. The objective of this study was to describe ranching activities near a small natural reserve in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, to estimate the density of cattle by interviewing cattle ranchers near the Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra del Abra Tanchipa (RBSAT), and compare these results with concurrent jaguar (Panthera onca) movements. A total of 2,266 hectares were included in the surveys, with 1,583 hectares dedicated to livestock production, including a livestock population of 1,483 heads of cattle (0.66 head/ha), and 247 goats, sheep and pigs. Within the study area, the core of the RBSAT and 10 km of the surrounding landscape, 939 hectares were surveyed, with 858.5 dedicated to cattle production, and a density of 0.70 heads/ha. Concerning grazing systems, 69% of cattle ranchers used rotational designs, and 50% of ranchers used electric fences in some capacity. An average of 66% of the records from two male jaguars equipped with GPS collars were identified and showed a preference for secondary vegetation (P< 0.001, =121.70, df=4). The majority of ranches were a combination of cleared pasture and secondary vegetation, and some ranches had intact primary forest, indicating a higher potential for interaction between jaguars and cattle. Because large tracts of tropical forest are difficult to protect, small patches of secondary vegetation may act as stepping stones and refuges that provide sufficient resources for jaguars. Understanding how ranchers and jaguars are using the landscape is essential to minimizing the risk of conflict. By working with communities, we can ensure the success of producers and wildlife populations.
Human-Bear Networks: Prioritizing Risk for Human-Dominated Areas in the Face of Carnivore Recolonization
Melanie R. Boudreau; Mariela G. Gantchoff; Carlos Ramirez-Reyes; Laura Conlee; Jerrold L. Belant; Raymond B. Iglay
Recognition of the importance of large carnivores in ecosystems has led to many successful reintroductions, and carnivore populations have begun to recolonize large portions of their historic ranges. Meanwhile, over the last half century, restoration of large areas of suitable habitat along with rapid urbanization has occurred. This has resulted in some human developments being, not only surrounded or inundated with suitable habitat, but also located within areas of high connectivity, increasing the likelihood of human-carnivore conflicts. Thus, there is an increased need to augment outreach and management efforts within developed areas to minimize conflicts, promote safe human-wildlife interactions, and effectively sustain large carnivore populations within the ecosystems in which they have reestablished. Using GPS data and conflict records from American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Missouri, we examined: i) the number of bear incursions into, and conflicts within, developed areas, ii) if incursion occurrence and magnitude were facilitated by aspects of suitable habitat and connectivity and, iii) if we could prioritize management and outreach for developed areas based on landscape attributes. We found that bear incursions into developed areas occurred 121 times more often than conflicts, and that incursion frequency increased when developed areas had larger, more densely aggregated patches of suitable habitat. However, the probability of incursion occurrence also depended upon the level of landscape connectivity, with the likelihood of incursion occurrence increasing for developed areas within areas of higher connectivity. Though 29% of developed areas across Missouri had habitat characteristics that facilitated bear incursions, only 8% of those developed areas were aligned with areas of high connectivity; areas to be prioritized for bear management and outreach. Understanding the interaction among human-dominated spaces, habitat suitability, and landscape connectivity can be used to facilitate preemptive measures for mitigating human-carnivore conflict and supporting carnivore conservation.
Multi-Season Occupancy Modeling of Puma-Livestock Predation Across Southern Chile Reveals Rising Conflict Is Associated with Proportion of Ranches and Habitat Fragmentation
Christian Osorio; Marcella J. Kelly
Human-wildlife conflict (HWC), i.e. retaliatory killing in response to livestock predation,­ is one of the main threats, ­­in addition to habitat loss and fragmentation, to wild felids worldwide, and pumas (Puma concolor) are no exception. To better inform management efforts aiming to mitigate and prevent HWC, we used occupancy modeling to estimate the probability of occurrence of HWC in the southern half of Chile (across 368,911 km2), where >90% of HWC reports occur. Chilean Wildlife Authorities provided positively verified HWC reports across 24 provinces (similar to counties) and we used monthly sampling as encounter occasions, across 5 years (2012-2017) in a multi-season, occupancy modeling framework. We explored factors associated with HWC occurrence (i.e. livestock attacks by pumas) and detection (i.e. reportability – the probability of attacks being reported and verified by wildlife authorities). Co-variates for occupancy included habitat fragmentation, number of livestock (sheep, calves, yearlings), proportion of livestock ranch area, season, elevation, and urban population size. We modeled reportability (i.e. detection) with variables potentially related to HWC, including rural population size, number and type of livestock per year, and precipitation. We processed land use and vegetation shapefiles from the Chilean National Forestry Corporation and used FRAGSTATS software to generate habitat fragmentation indices. We used Akaike Information Criterion for model selection with competing models denoted by delta-AIC<2.0. Our top model (with no competing models), indicated HWC increased yearly at a constant rate of 0.062, and associated positively and strongly with proportion of livestock ranch area and habitat fragmentation. Reportability was positively related to number of livestock ranches in the province and slightly negatively with rural population size. We suggest management focus on habitat quality and connectivity, education promoting coexistence, and livestock protection, instead of monetary compensation for losses, which might lead to incentives to kill pumas, as has been previously reported.
Cougar Predation on Domestic Goats: Socio-Economic Drivers of An Ecological Problem in Western Argentina
Daniel Scognamillo; Armando Ricarte; Julieta von Thungen; Gary Kronrad
We applied soft system methodology (SSM), an approach for dealing with ill-structured problems involving human activities, to the study of a cougar (Puma concolor)-goat husbandry conflict. Goat husbandry is a common economic activity among rural families in the Llanos Riojanos (La Rioja Province, Argentina). Families own small herds (50-150 goats) that browse in open fields during the day without human supervision, or in some cases accompanied by 1-2 small mixed breed guarding dogs. Herds normally return before sunset to the family house where they are kept in corrals during the night. Because of habitat degradation and low productivity, goats cover long distances (5 km or more from the family’s house) while foraging, and frequently fail to return at the end of the day. Attacks by cougars often occur when goats remain in the field overnight, resulting in significant losses (numerically and economically). Results from SSM applied during six meetings with stakeholders suggests that: a) changes in the family structure (aging parents and younger generations moving to the city), contribute to deficient husbandry practices which aggravates cougar-goat conflict; b) information exchange between outreach agencies and local families is interrupted – outreach agents may need to adjust outreach objectives to family’s priorities and immediate needs; and c) development and implementation of husbandry practices adapted to the new family structure and composition. Habitat restoration and increased profitability of goat production system (e.g. technical support, financing, and developing new markets), appear as necessary preliminary actions before solutions to this conflict can be sought.
Identifying Effective Policy and Governance Strategies for Predator Reintroduction
Brielle Manzolillo; Courtney Schultz
The reintroduction of grey wolves (Canis lupus) into Colorado will be voted upon in 2020 as a ballot initiative, and recent survey research indicates the measure will pass. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will have several years to plan for wolf reintroduction and faces questions about how to do so in a way that is effective, inclusive, equitable, and legitimate. As Colorado gets set to follow in the footsteps of past reintroductions efforts in other states, and land managers and policy makers prepare policies and management plans, there is an opportunity to draw on the lessons learned from past reintroduction efforts and uncover the challenges that will face Colorado specifically. In this talk, we will discuss the policy lessons learned from past reintroductions and findings from preliminary interviews with managers in other states and within Colorado. This research uses a policy design lens as an analytical framework to examine the tools and governance strategies available for predator reintroduction. Our preliminary data collection includes ~30 interviews with policy makers, land managers, and stakeholders who were involved in wolf reintroduction effort in the Yellowstone, Central Idaho, and US Southwest. Interviews with Colorado decision-makers are also included in order to capture possible ideas and suggestions for potential strategies going forward.
Recreationist Effect on Bison Movement Though a State Park
Cody B. Carter; Heather A. Mathewson; Daniel Wilcox
Recreational use can affect Southern Plains Bison (Bison bison) movement on the landscape of a state park. We investigate the relationship of human recreation to temporal and spatial actively of bison within the ecosystem of Caprock Canyon State Park (CCSP) Texas. Activity patterns of bison and humans were collected by inferred trail cameras remotely triggered by movement (March 2019 – January 2020). 30 evenly spaced cameras were placed randomly across the trail system within the park. 15 cameras were placed facing the trails to catch passersby on the trails and the other 15 were paired with the trail placed cameras 30 meters off the trail near game trails. Relative Activity (RA) of bison and humans for each camera will be calculated by dividing the number of images of each species by the number of trap nights. The RA index will be used as a measurement for spatial displacement of bison based on behavior of humans. Temporal displacement will be calculated by measuring percent daytime activity (PDA). PDA is calculated by taking all bison pictures per site and splitting them into two categories, daytime activity (0600-1759) and nighttime activity (1800-0559). Temporal and spatial displacement measurements will be used to help indicate whether human activity effect movement of the bison. We will also be able to determine suitability of the various landscape and vegetation types found throughout the park for bison based on the RA calculated at each site.


Location: Virtual Date: Time: -