Human/Wildlife Conflict Management

Posters

 
Review of Raptor-Human Interaction and Coexistence
Angeline Canney

Abstract: Global raptor conservation has become a human-wildlife conflict issue, and the future
of raptor species relies on humans to become stewards of coexistence with these raptors.
Human-wildlife interaction research is becoming a growing field of the wildlife world, but tends to
focus on large-bodied, terrestrial mammals. The state of research that explores human-raptor
relations is limited in its knowledge, which means we are limited within knowledge. To
investigate the present state of the current research and literature we look at the research as it
is today. To better understand current trends, identify gaps and biases of the state of knowledge
for our interaction of raptors and coexistence with humans. We used the established
systematic map protocols of ROSES and PRISMA with EPPI-Reviewer software to collect:
multidisciplinary peer-reviewed and grey literature germane to human-raptor interaction, conflict,
tolerance, acceptance, and coexistence. Based on the literature retrieved from these systematic
search systems, we applied descriptive analyses to identifyshow (a) temporal and geographic
distribution of the research and the interactions , between raptors and humans.

 
Assessment of Livestock Depredation by Large Carnivores In Northwest Mexico
Nalleli E. Lara-Díaz, Jorge L. Reyes-Díaz, M. Carmen García-Chávez, Carlos A Lopez Gonzalez

Human-predator conflicts derive from the invasion and transformation of natural habitats. These have resulted in the death of countless predators (including endangered species) and elevated economic losses to livestock producers. Our objective was the analysis of areas susceptible to livestock predation by large carnivores in northwestern Mexico during 2012-2020. We performed a descriptive statistics analysis including mean, proportions, percentage and age classes of the affected livestock, including the identification of predators, location, and number of reimbursed heads of cattle by the National Confederation of Livestock Organizations. We assessed the environmental and anthropogenic conditions that promote livestock predation using binomial GLMs. We averaged the resulting models and made a spatial projection. We documented 212 depredation reports affecting 338 head of cattle; reports deemed of economic compensation were 171 by the national insurance fund. The most predated cattle were less than a year old. In order of importance, predation was by pumas, coyotes, Mexican wolves and black bear (these last two species endangered in Mexico). Vegetation cover, seasonality and land use explained depredation localities. The occurrence of a national depredation insurance fund facilitates coexistence and amelioration of human-predator conflicts, building trust to allow for changes to carnivore perception and attitudes. Additional changes require an investment in best husbandry practices and livestock management strategies to reduce conflict and economic losses for producers.

 
Changes in Bat Diversity and Activity along An Urban-Rural Gradient in Northeastern Indiana
Galen Burrell, Scott Bergeson

In the past 20 years, bat species in the Midwestern United States have experienced population declines, partly because urbanization and agricultural development reduce the occurrence of uninterrupted natural habitats. As urban and agricultural areas become more prevalent, it is important to understand what habitat features support diverse bat communities within these anthropogenic land cover types. Our objective was to study differences in bat activity and community composition along an urban-rural gradient created by Fort Wayne, Indiana and surrounding agricultural land. We deployed passive acoustic detectors at 20 field sites – 10 in urban areas and 10 in rural. Each site was sampled for 4 to 5 consecutive days twice throughout the summer. In urban areas, we sampled a total of 100 nights and collected 9,973 bat calls throughout the summer (499 ± 128 calls/site). In rural areas, we sampled a total of 104 nights and collected 16,756 bat calls (798 ± 168 calls/site). Urban and rural sites were dominated by big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) and silver-haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans). We also detected red bats (Lasiurus borealis), hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus), evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis), tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus), Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis), and northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis) at both types of sites. The proportion of big brown bat calls was similar between urban (59.4%  ± 7.7%) and rural areas (57.1% ± 5.7%). However, Myotis species calls were slightly more prevalent in rural (3.6% ± 2.8%) than in urban areas (1.6 % ± 1.1%). Our results suggest that big brown bats and other open area foragers are dominant throughout the landscape. We found no difference in species richness between urban and rural sites, but these broad categories may not reflect the gradient of site-specific habitat variables that may impact the presence of bat species.

 
Comparing Acoustic Detection and Thermal Imaging for Pre-Construction Bat Risk Assessments – SRIP
Robert Tyler, Sara Weaver, Brogan Morton, Nevin Durish, David Rodriguez, Sarah Fritts
Wind energy presents a sustainable alternative to carbon-based fuels. In recent years, wind energy production has dramatically increased, but not without significant yet unintended environmental impacts, such as high bat mortality rates. Mitigation strategies are being developed to reduce bat fatalities at wind farms, including pre-construction acoustic surveys that monitor activity at future wind energy facilities to predict post-construction fatalities. These predictions aim to improve siting for future wind energy facilities. However, there is high variation between pre-construction models and post-construction fatality reports, reducing reliability. Thus, it is vital that new methodologies are investigated to maximize investments and predictive power. Therefore, our study focuses on using thermal cameras to supplement existing pre-construction acoustic surveys. Thermal cameras record the infrared radiation produced by animals, such as bats, thus are ideal for nocturnal monitoring. Our objective is to determine if monitoring with thermal cameras provides improved accuracy to pre-construction bat activity estimates. Using AXIS Q1942-E thermal network cameras, we are recording nightly bat activity in parallel with Song Meter 4 BAT-FS detectors at three sites being surveyed for wind energy development using meteorological evaluation towers (MET) within the South Texas Plains. To survey bats acoustically, we mounted detector microphones 48 m above ground on each MET We then positioned a camera 48 m from the tower, with its view centrally focused on the microphone. We are using Kaleidoscope Pro 5 to identify bats from acoustic recordings and a machine learning algorithm in Python 3.8.5 to distinguish bats from other thermal sources in the videos including insects, birds, and airplanes. We will use a generalized linear mixed-effects model with the individual MET as the random effect to examine relationships between methodspecific counts of bats and likely a negative binomial distribution to determine relationships among seasonal and environmental covariates.
 
Examining Human – Wild Carnivore Conflicts in Kargil Trans Himalayas, India – SRIP
Iftikar Ali, Robert Young
As the human population is expanding, the demand for land and other natural resources is also increasing rapidly. This has led to the destruction and degradation of wildlife habitats around the world. Human encroachment into wild habitats increases competition with wild animals for food, shelter, and other resources. The inevitable human interaction with wildlife often gives rise to human-wildlife conflicts inflicting losses on both sides. Despite the lack of scientific records in Kargil, India, there appears to have been an increase in human-wild carnivore interactions evidenced through undocumented records. Livestock rearing is one of the essential sources of income and livelihood of the local human population. The sharp decline in the prey species population causes carnivores to enter human settlements in search of food ultimately results in feeding on livestock. The snow leopard (Panthera uncia), Tibetan wolf (Canis lupus chanco), Himalayan brown bear (Ursos arctos isabellinus), fox (Vulpes vulpes), and the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) are primarily responsible for livestock loss in Kargil. Due to livestock depredation by wild carnivores, local farmers incur severe economic and psychological losses, and they sometimes resort to retaliation killing of the carnivores.  Therefore, it was felt necessary to understand the pattern of human-wild carnivore conflicts in Kargil and the impact of human behaviour on wild carnivores and vice versa.  The current study primarily focuses on gathering information on the level and magnitude of human conflict with wild carnivores and aims to understand the various socio-economic factors influencing human behaviour and attitudes towards carnivores. The study also aims to estimate the population of the main prey species in the Kargil area, the Asiatic ibex (Capra ibex sibirica), using the Double Observer survey method.
 
Managing Human/Golden Eagle Conflict: Best Practices for Relocating Golden Eagles – SRIP
Kristen Amicarelle, Nate Bickford, Mike Barker
Eagle depredation on sheep is causing a significant human wildlife conflict that is negatively impacting ranchers and eagles. Identifying and introducing best conservation practices for eagle relocation can help reduce this conflict, and in turn improve the economic livelihood of the ranchers, while reducing potential eagle impacts. The objective of this research is to identify quality habitat areas that meet specific conditions to relocate eagles and then  understand how habitat and distance from trap sites effect  spatial patterns once released. We are sampling vegetation, prey abundance, human disturbance, and eagle nest densities at randomly selected, spatially balanced sample sites to identify appropriate habitat and to aid in release site selection. We are trapping 12  eagles per year and fitting them with cellular GPS transmitters that will provide insight into their movement patterns and habitat preference after relocation. Eagles will be relocated at distance intervals, ranging from 100-400 miles. We will then identify movement patterns over time, so we can determine if the eagles return to the depredation area or  stay at the relocation site. Hoping to find resources  that keep eagles on the relocation site, we will model resource selection using Akaike’s Information Criterion to determine habitat preference. The management application for this project is to identify best practices for eagle relocation to reduce persecution as well as gain further insight into their spatial ecology. This project will help facilitate a long-term cooperative effort between falconers, biologists, and ranchers.
 
Scaling Issues in the Study of Livestock Depredation by Carnivores – SRIP
Sandy Slovikosky, Jacqui Frair, Lisanne Petracca, Luke Hunter
Human-wildlife conflict is one of the most pressing issues facing large mammal conservation today. For carnivores specifically, livestock depredation presents both an ongoing threat to vulnerable species and decreases the quality of life for the people directly affected. An array of literature exists on the perceived drivers of and methods to mitigate depredation, but the lack of a common spatio-temporal scale of observation likely muddies inference. Importantly, the observed relationship between level of depredation and its drivers may change non-linearly, or exhibit growing heteroscedasticity, with increasingly large observation scales. Therefore, our objectives are to determine whether reported levels of depredation change with observation scale, and if there is an optimal scale at which patterns might be most predictable. Metrics of depredation will be compiled across published literature and converted to a standardized currency for comparison, namely, percent annual loss and annual number of incidents per km2 (attacks or kills). We will first plot these standardized conflict metrics against components of spatio-temporal scale (resolution and extent of study) to observe whether effects scale linearly or non-linearly. Next, we will bin values, calculate the mean and variance within bin, and look for an optimal scale where the signal:noise ratio is maximized. Given repeated calls for more explicit consideration of scale in depredation studies, we hope to help shed light on the optimal spatio-temporal resolution for gaining robust inference.
 
Vertebrate Roadkill Patterns in a Human Dominated Landscape – SRIP
Sara Rair, Karen Root
Roads have physical, biological, and ecological effects, including acting as barriers, altering dispersal, producing changes in population composition, and affecting ecological processes. My research is focused on identifying vertebrate mortality hot spots and the factors that affect this animal mortality, which will be applicable to other regions where natural areas are heavily impacted by human activity and fragmentation. Ongoing research is being conducted on 34 transects, covering approximately 50 kilometers of road within the Oak Openings Region of northwest Ohio. I am using roadkill occurrence, as well as bat activity data, to understand resource availability and how spatial factors may play a role in the movement of organisms in a human dominated landscape. In the first year of data collection, performed May-October 2020, a total of 223 vertebrate mortalities were recorded. Roadkill occurrence was more associated with natural areas. Reptile and amphibian roadkills were more associated with protected areas than those of birds or mammals. I used the Hot Spot Analysis tool in ArcMap and performed a Getis-Ord Gi* statistic for each fixed sampling point. A total of fifteen mammal roadkill hotspots were detected, which did not overlap with any other taxa hotspots. Thirteen amphibian hotspots were found, eleven of which coincided with roadkill hotspots for birds, reptiles, or both. There was a total of ten hotspots found from the acoustic data collected from bat activity, five that corresponded with mammal roadkill hot spots and one that coincided with both amphibian and bird hotspots. These results provide a tool that land managers could use to locate connectivity issues across the landscape and facilitate mitigation of road mortality, prioritize areas needed between the protected areas to close gaps in the currently protected network, or even to focus culling activity on mesopredators.
 
Assessing the Influence of Landscape Characteristics on Bat Fatalities at Wind Energy Facilities – SRIP
Houston Kimes, Sara Weaver, Erin Baerwald, Weston Nowlin, Sarah Fritts
Although wind energy is a viable renewable energy source, an unintended consequence of wind energy is bat fatalities by wind turbine blade strikes. Previous research has suggested wind energy facility siting and turbine placement within facilities influence the number of fatalities; however, there is a knowledge gap regarding the reasons for the variability. Our study occurred in Texas, the leading producer of wind energy and home to the greatest diversity and largest colonies of bats in the United States. Our objective was to assess the influence of landscape characteristics surrounding wind energy facilities and specific turbines on the number of bat fatalities. We collected 1,067 bat carcasses under 200 wind turbines at two wind facilities from 2017-2018; species include Tadarida brasiliensis (n = 577), Nycticeius humerali (n = 51), Nyctinomops macrotis (n = 1), Peromyscus subflavus (n = 1), Myotis velifer (n = 2), Lasiurus intermedius (n = 203),L. ega (n = 69), L. xanthinus (n = 30), L. cinereus (n = 18), L. blossevilli (n = 2) and unknown spp. (n = 113). We used Fragstats and ArcGIS Pro to acquire landscape metrics at the two facilities and among the 100 wind turbines at each facility at multiple scales (100 m, 500 m, 1 km, 5 km, and 25 km). Landscape characteristics included landcover types such as barren, crops, herbaceous, developed, shrub/scrub, hay/pasture, forest, wetlands, and open water, proximity to water sources, and degree of slope. Generalized linear models and an AIC model selection procedure were used to identify the influence of landscape characteristics on fatalities at the various scales. Determining the influence of landscape variables among and within wind energy facilities will help locate areas of high collision risk and aid in future wind energy siting decisions.

Posters
Location: Virtual Date: November 5, 2021 Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm