Carnivore Conservation Needs Evidence-Based Livestock Protection
December 29, 2019
Scientists alone cannot transform policies for implementation. The pursuit of science-based management must be truly interdisciplinary and involve carnivore ecologists, animal husbandry scientists, social scientists, natural resource managers, ethicists, and other scholars and practitioners. Political leaders can also play a role to prioritize, coordinate, and fund partnerships across government agencies and nongovernment organizations.
Abstract: Carnivore predation on livestock often leads people to retaliate. Persecution by humans has contributed strongly to global endangerment of carnivores. Preventing livestock losses would help to achieve three goals common to many human societies: preserve nature, protect animal welfare, and safeguard human livelihoods. Between 2016 and 2018, four independent reviews evaluated >40 years of research on lethal and nonlethal interventions for reducing predation on livestock. From 114 studies, we find a striking conclusion: scarce quantitative comparisons of interventions and scarce comparisons against experimental controls preclude strong inference about the effectiveness of methods. For wise investment of public resources in protecting livestock and carnivores, evidence of effectiveness should be a prerequisite to policy making or large-scale funding of any method or, at a minimum, should be measured during implementation. An appropriate evidence base is needed, and we recommend a coalition of scientists and managers be formed to establish and encourage use of consistent standards in future experimental evaluations.
Author(s): Lily M. van Eeden, Ann Eklund, Jennifer R. B. Miller, Jose ́ Vicente Lo ́pez- Bao, Guillaume Chapron, Mikael R. Cejtin, Mathew S. Crowther, Christopher R. Dickman, Jens Frank, Miha Krofel, David W. Macdonald, Jeannine McManus, Tara K. Meyer, Arthur D. Middleton, Thomas M. Newsome, William J. Ripple, Euan G. Ritchie, Oswald J. Schmitz, Kelly J. Stoner, Mahdieh Tourani, Adrian Treves