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Author (up) Suryawanshi, K.R., Bhatnagar, Y. V. B., Redpath, S., Mishra, C. url  openurl
  Title People, predators and perceptions: patterns of livestock depredation by snow leopards and wolves Type Journal Article
  Year 2013 Publication Journal of Applied Ecology Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume 50 Issue Pages 550-560  
  Keywords Canis lupus, Capra ibex, human–wildlife conflict, large carnivores, Panthera uncia, Pseudois nayaur, trans-Himalaya  
  Abstract 1. Livestock depredation by large carnivores is an important conservation and economic concern

and conservation management would benefit from a better understanding of spatial variation

and underlying causes of depredation events. Focusing on the endangered snow leopard

Panthera uncia and the wolf Canis lupus, we identify the ecological factors that predispose

areas within a landscape to livestock depredation. We also examine the potential mismatch

between reality and human perceptions of livestock depredation by these carnivores whose

survival is threatened due to persecution by pastoralists.

2. We assessed the distribution of the snow leopard, wolf and wild ungulate prey through field

surveys in the 4000 km2 Upper Spiti Landscape of trans-Himalayan India. We interviewed local

people in all 25 villages to assess the distribution of livestock and peoples’ perceptions of the risk

to livestock from these carnivores. We monitored village-level livestock mortality over a 2-year

period to assess the actual level of livestock depredation. We quantified several possibly influential

independent variables that together captured variation in topography, carnivore abundance

and abundance and other attributes of livestock. We identified the key variables influencing livestock

depredation using multiple logistic regressions and hierarchical partitioning.

3. Our results revealed notable differences in livestock selectivity and ecological correlates of

livestock depredation – both perceived and actual – by snow leopards and wolves. Stocking

density of large-bodied free-ranging livestock (yaks and horses) best explained people’s threat

perception of livestock depredation by snow leopards, while actual livestock depredation was

explained by the relative abundance of snow leopards and wild prey. In the case of wolves,

peoples’ perception was best explained by abundance of wolves, while actual depredation by

wolves was explained by habitat structure.

4. Synthesis and applications. Our results show that (i) human perceptions can be at odds

with actual patterns of livestock depredation, (ii) increases in wild prey populations will intensify

livestock depredation by snow leopards, and prey recovery programmes must be accompanied

by measures to protect livestock, (iii) compensation or insurance programmes should

target large-bodied livestock in snow leopard habitats and (iv) sustained awareness

programmes are much needed, especially for the wolf.
 
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  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number SLN @ rakhee @ Serial 1396  
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