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Title: Human-carnivore conflict in Tanzania : modelling the spatial distribution of lions (Panthera leo), leopards (Panthera pardus) and spotted hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta), and their attacks upon livestock, in Tanzania’s Ruaha landscape
Author: Dos Santos Abade, Leandro Alécio
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Tanzania’s Ruaha landscape is an international priority area for large carnivore conservation, harbouring roughly 10% of the world’s lions, and important populations of leopards and spotted hyaenas. However, these large carnivore populations are threatened by intense retaliatory killing due to human-carnivore conflict on village land around Ruaha National Park (RNP), mostly as a result of livestock predation by lions, leopards and spotted hyaenas. Moreover, a current lack of ecological data on the distribution of these carnivores hinders the development of effective strategies for conservation and targeted conflict mitigation in this landscape. This study aimed to identify the most significant ecogeographical variables (EGVs) influencing the distribution of lions, leopards and spotted hyaenas across the Ruaha landscape, and to map areas of conservation importance for these species. In addition, the study assessed the influence of EGVs on livestock predation risk by these carnivores in the village land around RNP, and generated a predictive map of predation risk. The relative importance of livestock husbandry practices and EGVs in terms of influencing predation risk within enclosures was also investigated. Proximity to rivers was the most important variable influencing the distribution of large carnivores in Ruaha, and contributed to predation risk of grazing livestock. The traditional livestock husbandry adopted in bomas appeared insufficient to alleviate the inherent risk of predation by large carnivores. The study produced the first detailed maps of lion, leopard and spotted hyaena distribution in the critically important Ruaha landscape, and identified likely livestock depredation hotspots. These results will target conflict mitigation approaches around Ruaha, by identifying particularly high-risk areas for livestock enclosures and grazing stock. Improving husbandry in these areas could help reduce livestock depredation and retaliatory carnivore killing, therefore reducing one of the most significant conservation threats in this critically important landscape.
Supervisor: Macdonald, David; Dickman, Amy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Zoological sciences ; Ecology (zoology) ; Biodiversity ; Environment ; Large carnivores ; modelling ; human-carnivore conflict ; Maxent ; Support vector machines