Mapping attack hotspots to mitigate human–carnivore conflict: approaches and applications of spatial predation risk modeling
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A major challenge in carnivore conservation worldwide is identifying priority human–carnivore conflict sites where mitigation efforts would be most effective. Spatial predation risk modeling recently emerged as a tool for predicting and mapping hotspots of livestock depredation using locations where carnivores attacked livestock in the past. This literature review evaluates the approaches and applications of spatial risk modeling for reducing human–carnivore conflict and presents a workflow to help conservation practitioners use this tool. Over the past decade 18 studies were published, most which examined canid and felid (10 and 8 studies on each group, respectively) depredation on cattle (14) and sheep (12). Studies employed correlation modeling, spatial association and/or spatial interpolation to identify high-risk landscape features, and many (but not all) validated models with independent data. The landscape features associated with carnivore attacks related to the species (carnivore and prey), environment, human infrastructure and management interventions. Risk maps from most studies (14) were used to help livestock owners and managers identify top-priority areas for implementing carnivore deterrents, with some efforts achieving >90 % reductions in attacks. Only one study affected policy, highlighting a gap where risk maps could be useful for more clearly communicating information to assist policymakers with large-scale decisions on conflict. Studies were used to develop a six-step workflow on integrating risk modeling into conservation. This review reveals a need for future predation risk modeling to focus more on validating models, accounting for feedbacks and impacting conflict-related policy in order to reliably improve the mitigation of human–carnivore conflict globally.
KeywordsAttack hazard Carnivore conservation Grazing management Livestock depredation Nonlethal carnivore control Predator–prey interactions
Oswald Schmitz, Adrian Treves, Y. V. Jhala, Walter Jetz, David Skelly, J. S. Chauhan, Rakesh Shukla, Mark Hebblewhite, Meghna Agarwala, Anne Trainor, Colin Donihue, Wesley Hochachka and several anonymous reviewers provided input that greatly improved this manuscript. Thank you to the authors of the reviewed studies for sharing their experiences in applying risk models to conservation. Funding was provided by the American Institute for Indian Studies, American Philosophical Society, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, John Ball Zoo Society, Yale Tropical Resources Institute Endowment Fellowship and the United States National Science Foundation.
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