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Title: Jaguars and people : a range-wide review of human-wildlife conflict
Author: Zimmermann, Alexandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 523X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Conflict with livestock farmers is the most serious threat to the survival of the jaguar (Panthera onca) across its range of 19 countries of the Americas. In this thesis I examine the needs for mitigating human-jaguar conflict at a range-wide scale by: a) reviewing the state of knowledge on the topic, b) modelling the risk of conflict across the range, c) analysing a series of empirical field case studies, and d) proposing appropriate approaches for different levels of conflict. Findings from 43 published studies and 117 expert-described cases show that human-jaguar conflict occurs on large cattle ranches, mixed farms and smallholdings alike. Depletion of prey and poor livestock husbandry are reported as the key reasons for depredation, regardless of ecological, cultural or socio-economic context. Attitudes and tolerance towards jaguars are not necessarily linked to losses, so recent research has focussed on understanding the behaviours of farmers. With 65% of the remaining jaguar range outside of protected areas, effective strategies for coexistence with farmers are essential. By combining geospatial datasets with expert-based information, spatial patterns of human-jaguar conflicts were presented in a predictive model of conflict hotspots. Around 85% of the total jaguar range, 72% of the total Jaguar Conservation Units area and 90% of the Jaguar Corridor area overlap with livestock, and 15% of the jaguar range has risk of conflict. Regions in which jaguars are repeatedly persecuted may become ecological traps and decimate populations. An aggregate study of 17 case studies across seven countries exposed a very large variety of geographic, agronomic and socio-economic contexts. Both within and across case studies there are considerable differences in farmers’ experiences with livestock losses, concerns about depredation, levels of tolerance and attitudes, as well as social norms towards jaguars in each community. No situational factors could be used to predict how farmers perceive jaguars and deal with depredation. The only pattern consistent across case studies was that attitudes towards jaguars are most likely predicted by a factor of perceived loses combined with the social norms of the community. In most scenarios, correctly balanced strategies of improving husbandry combined with behaviour-influencing methods may be the best way forward. To this end, a conceptual model is proposed, which distinguishes three levels of conflict and explains the importance of addressing any underlying history of grievances or incompatibility of values as part of any human-wildlife conflict mitigation strategy.
Supervisor: Macdonald, David W. Sponsor: Chester Zoo
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biodiversity ; wildlife conservation ; human-wildlife conflict ; jaguar ; carnivore