Human-Wildlife Conflicts

We work with agencies across the globe to identify causes of conflict and develop strategies that promote human-wildlife coexistence.


Aviation risk: understanding vulture roost dynamics

Between 1990 and 2007, vulture collisions with civil aircraft in the United States caused more than nine million dollars in damage. Despite the increasing prevalence of both vulture species, there remain unresolved questions regarding basic aspects of their biology and ecology. We are using wildlife cameras to monitor vulture use of manmade structures, such as cell phone towers for roosting, and collecting pellets from underneath roosts to analyze diet. This knowledge will inform management strategies to reduce risk to military aviation and other affected stakeholders.

©Hamed Tizrooyan

Investigating human-brown bear interactions in Iran

Wherever humans and animal species share the landscape, interactions between the two are inevitable. Interactions between humans and large carnivore species, in particular, have the potential to result in injury or death of both humans and animals. In Iran, brown bears (Ursus arctos) primarily occur in the Zagros Mountains and the Alborz Mountains regions. We investigated 14 years of human-brown bear interaction data published Iranian government to provide suggestions on possible human-bear conflict mitigation strategies. Our analysis revealed the majority of human-cause mortality to brown bears resulted from illegal shooting and over 90% of bear attacks on humans resulted in injury rather than death.

Examining patterns of livestock depredations by leopards

Increasing human populations, habitat loss and degradation, and unsustainable use of natural resources has made conservation of wildlife increasingly challenging and often results in an increase in human-wildlife interactions. Not surprisingly, large-bodied species, including carnivores, suffer the greatest adverse effects of these interactions. Conflicts with humans are a primary driver of declines in carnivore populations globally. These conflicts are often the result of greater human activities, such as livestock grazing, near protected areas that harbor larger carnivore populations than adjacent unprotected areas. Understanding the underlying patterns of human-carnivore interactions is vital for their conservation. We investigated patterns and costs of livestock depredations by leopards (Panthera pardus) in and near Pir Lasura National Park, Pakistan through standardized questionnaire. Leopard depredation was common, resulting in a substantial loss of annual income to affected livestock owners. As could be expected, most respondents perceptions toward leopards were negative and unwilling to conserve leopards. However, our study provides several insights to mitigate human leopard conflicts, including identify peak vulnerability periods. The use of humans and dogs to guard livestock during peak vulnerability could reduce depredations. Additionally, community awareness of improved corral structure can could reduce leopard access to livestock. Minimizing livestock depredations and corresponding economic losses has the potential to shift human attitudes and promote tolerance toward leopards, reducing retaliatory killing and facilitating coexistence.

©Bernard Dupont:cc-by-sa-2.0