Pozo RA, LeFlore EG, Duthie AB, Bunnefeld N, Jones IL, Minderman J, Rakotonarivo S & Cusack JJ (2021) A multispecies assessment of wildlife impacts on local community livelihoods. Conservation Biology, 35 (1), pp. 297-306. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13565
Conflicts between the interests of agriculture and wildlife conservation are a major threat to biodiversity and human wellbeing globally. Addressing such conflicts requires a thorough understanding of the impacts associated with living alongside protected wildlife. Despite this, most studies reporting on human‐wildlife impacts and the strategies used to mitigate them focus on a single species, thus over‐simplifying often complex systems of human‐wildlife interactions. In this study, we characterize the spatiotemporal patterns of impacts by multiple co‐occurring species on agricultural livelihoods in the eastern Okavango Delta Panhandle in northern Botswana. Using a database of 3,264 wildlife incidents recorded between 2009 and 2015 by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, we show that a total of eight species – i.e. African elephant, hippopotamus, cheetah, crocodile, leopard, lion, spotted hyena and African wild dog – appear on incident reports, of which 56.5% are attributed to elephants. Most species were associated with only one type of damage (i.e. either damage to crops or livestock loss). Carnivores were primarily implicated in incident reports related to livestock loss, particularly towards the end of the dry season (May‐October). In contrast, herbivores were associated with crop loss incidents during the wet season (November‐April). Our study illustrates how local communities can face distinct livelihood challenges from different species at different times of the year. Such a multi‐species assessment has important implications for the design of conservation interventions aimed at addressing the costs of living with wildlife, and thereby mitigating the underlying conservation conflict. Our spatiotemporal, multi‐species approach is widely applicable to other regions where sustainable and long‐term solutions to conservation conflicts are needed for local communities and biodiversity.
Carnivore; conflict; conservation; herbivore; human‐wildlife; interactions; generalized additive models; management
Conservation Biology: Volume 35, Issue 1