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      Socio-economic consequences of cattle predation by the Endangered Persian leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor in a Caucasian conflict hotspot, northern Iran

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      Oryx

      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          In the Caucasus the Endangered Persian leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor has been persecuted to the verge of extinction, primarily as a result of conflict with people over livestock predation. The socio-economic factors that influence this interaction have received little attention and the attitudes of local people towards leopards remain unknown. Here we assess the extent of cattle predation by leopards and how this influences people's attitudes towards leopards among village residents around the Dorfak No-Hunting Area, a priority reserve in the Iranian Caucasus. In a survey of 66 households, 48% of interviewees reported losing cattle to leopards during 2009–2011. A mean of c. 0.7 head of cattle per interviewed household was reportedly killed by leopards over the 3-year survey period. Cattle predation peaked during warm seasons, when most family members were busy with rice farming-related activities, thus leaving their cattle grazing unguarded in the forest. Regardless of the intensity of cattle predation or socio-economic status, 80% of respondents perceived leopards as a pest, with 45% of interviewees expressing support for either licensed hunting or culling of the Dorfak leopards. We recommend that the Iranian government considers the financial consequences of livestock loss for poor rural communities across the leopard's range. In addition, a combination of different livestock husbandry practices, with the direct involvement of local residents, is essential to ensure the long-term survival of the regional leopard population of the Caucasus.

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          Limiting Depredation by African Carnivores: the Role of Livestock Husbandry

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            People and Wildlife

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              A review of financial instruments to pay for predator conservation and encourage human-carnivore coexistence.

              One of the greatest challenges in biodiversity conservation today is how to facilitate protection of species that are highly valued at a global scale but have little or even negative value at a local scale. Imperiled species such as large predators can impose significant economic costs at a local level, often in poverty-stricken rural areas where households are least able to tolerate such costs, and impede efforts of local people, especially traditional pastoralists, to escape from poverty. Furthermore, the costs and benefits involved in predator conservation often include diverse dimensions, which are hard to quantify and nearly impossible to reconcile with one another. The best chance of effective conservation relies upon translating the global value of carnivores into tangible local benefits large enough to drive conservation "on the ground." Although human-carnivore coexistence involves significant noneconomic values, providing financial incentives to those affected negatively by carnivore presence is a common strategy for encouraging such coexistence, and this can also have important benefits in terms of reducing poverty. Here, we provide a critical overview of such financial instruments, which we term "payments to encourage coexistence"; assess the pitfalls and potentials of these methods, particularly compensation and insurance, revenue-sharing, and conservation payments; and discuss how existing strategies of payment to encourage coexistence could be combined to facilitate carnivore conservation and alleviate local poverty.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Oryx
                Oryx
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0030-6053
                1365-3008
                January 2017
                December 2015
                : 51
                : 01
                : 124-130
                Article
                10.1017/S0030605315000903
                © 2017

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