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Increasing game prices may alter farmers’ behaviours towards leopards (Panthera pardus) and other carnivores in South Africa

Pirie, T. J., Thomas, R. L. and Fellowes, M. (2017) Increasing game prices may alter farmers’ behaviours towards leopards (Panthera pardus) and other carnivores in South Africa. PeerJ, 5. e3369. ISSN 2167-8359

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To link to this item DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3369


Human-carnivore conflict occurs globally, particularly in regions where large carnivores predate livestock. Retaliatory killings do occur, and although predation of livestock by carnivores happens, losses from other factors such as disease or injury can be misattributed because of landowner perceptions. Game farming for both trophy hunting and eco-tourism is becoming increasingly common in South Africa, and there has been a rapid increase in the cost of game animals (in some species as much as five-fold) between 2010 and 2015. This could result in an increase in conflict between commercial game farmers and carnivores. We conducted two questionnaire surveys of farmers in 2010 and 2015 to investigate this. We asked if there had been changes in farming practices, perceived predator activity, perceived amount of livestock and commercial game losses, and actions taken towards carnivores in a South African farming community. We found no significant change in farming types in the area or losses of livestock between the years. However, there was a significant increase in perceived commercial game losses reported, even though protection of game had increased. Actions taken towards carnivores by livestock/game farmers were also significantly more negative in 2015 compared to farmers growing crops, but there was no such difference in 2010. We suggest that these changes could be a result of the increase in game prices over that period, leading to greater financial losses when an animal is predated, which in turn could increase the likelihood of retaliatory killings of carnivores.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:70595
Publisher:PeerJ Inc


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