Carnivore–Livestock Conflicts in Chile: Evidence and Methods for Mitigation
July 3, 2019
Human population growth and habitat loss have exacerbated human–wildlife conflicts worldwide. We explored trends in human–wildlife conflicts (HWCs) in Chile using scientific and official reports to identify areas and species with higher risk of conflicts and tools available for their prevention and mitigation. The puma (Puma concolor) was considered the most frequent predator; however, fox (Lycalopex spp.) and free-ranging or feral dog (Canis lupus familiaris) attacks were also common. Our results suggest that the magnitude of puma conflicts may be overestimated. Domestic sheep (Ovis spp.) and poultry (Galliformes) were the most common species predated. Livestock losses were widespread across Chile but were highest in San Jose de Maipo, located in central Chile, and Cochrane, La Unión, and Lago Verde in south Chile municipalities. Livestock guardian dogs and the livestock insurance, as a part of the Agriculture Insurance of Chile, were identified as the most promising tools to mitigate HWCs, short- and mid-term, respectively. However, longer-term strategies should focus on improving livestock management through extension (i.e., farmer education) programs for local communities. In Chile, HWCs negatively impact small farmers and wild carnivore populations. An interinstitutional and interdisciplinary strategy integrating input from government and nongovernmental organizations, farmers, and academia is needed to achieve effective carnivore conservation in the long-term.
Author(s): Valeska Rodriguez, Daniela A. Poo-Muñoz, Luis E. Escobar, Francisca Astorga, Gonzalo Medina-Vogel