Citation Kubasiewicz LM, Bunnefeld N, Tulloch AIT, Quine CP & Park K (2016) Diversionary feeding: an effective management strategy for conservation conflict?. Biodiversity and Conservation, 25 (1), pp. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-015-1026-1
Abstract Human population growth has led to increased contact between people and wildlife, with adverse impacts for both, such as damage to economic crops and wildlife persecution. Diversionary feeding, where food is used to draw animals away from problem activities or locations, is sometimes proposed as a socially acceptable conservation action, but little information exists on its success or what influences its efficacy. Here, we review literature on diversionary feeding and evaluate factors contributing to its success or failure. Success varied greatly among studies and successful uptake of diversionary food did not consistently produce outcomes that met stakeholder objectives. Studies often failed to report results in sufficient detail to allow a quantitative evaluation of efficiency. Of 30 trials presented in 21 studies, 13 enabled assessment of outcomes related to the ultimate objective of reducing conflict (related to threatened prey density, crop yield or nuisance reports) and only five of these were considered successful by the researchers conducting the study. A grand mean increase of 15% in respective measures of success at the outcome stage was found across all studies. Although diversionary feeding is considered expensive, cost-effectiveness analyses were rarely conducted. Only a third of studies reported information on costs and benefits that could be used to inform future management actions. We propose a decision-making framework that incorporates ecological knowledge, financial costs and evidence from previous studies to aid the planning and implementation of diversionary feeding in an adaptive format. Future studies of diversionary feeding should clearly report objectives, results, costsand effort to allow the return-on-investment to be calculated for different levels of management effort.