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Article

Livestock–Carnivore Coexistence: Moving beyond Preventive Killing

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Department of Ecosystems and Environment, School of Veterinary Medicine, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Santiago P.O. Box 782044, Chile
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Department of Agricultural Sciences and Production, Zamorano University, Tegucigalpa P.O. Box 93, Honduras
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Department of Environment and Development, Zamorano Biodiversity Center, Zamorano University, Tegucigalpa P.O. Box 93, Honduras
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Benjamin Allen
Animals 2022, 12(4), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12040479
Received: 21 December 2021 / Revised: 29 January 2022 / Accepted: 7 February 2022 / Published: 15 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 indicate that zero hunger (SDG 2) and halting biodiversity loss (SDG 15) are key priorities. Livestock management practices that allow coexistence with top predators are necessary to achieve both objectives in Latin America. This article addresses the situation in local indigenous communities near key biodiversity hotspots that protect top predators in Mesoamerica. Results show that livestock predation is related to landscape variables and human influence. Jaguar and puma conservation requires measures that facilitate human–carnivore coexistence and comply with SDG 2 and SDG 15. This study serves as a baseline to provide livestock management recommendations that mitigate the prevalent conflict with jaguars and pumas to reconcile SDG 2 with SDG 15.
Livestock predation is a global problem and constitutes the main source of conflict between large carnivores and human interests. In Latin America, both jaguar and puma are known to prey on livestock, yet studies in Mesoamerica have been scattered and few have been carried out in Honduras. We interviewed ranchers in a biosphere reserve where jaguars and pumas are present. Local indigenous communities reported livestock predation (average annual loss of 7% from 2010–2019), with preventive and retaliatory killing as their main actions against predation by the jaguar and puma. Other sources of cattle loss included diseases and theft. The extensive management system (free grazing) lets cattle access forests where predators are more common. We found that livestock predation is not random, but rather, related to landscape variables and human influence. Sites farther from human influence and closer to forest cover were more susceptible to predation. Jaguar and puma persistence in the biosphere reserve will require measures that facilitate human–carnivore coexistence and comply with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2 and 15 (zero hunger and biodiversity conservation). We propose management practices to mitigate livestock predation in the presence of large carnivores based on examples of proven human–carnivore coexistence in Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, and Nicaragua, such as improving the spatial arrangement of livestock (maintaining a distance from forest areas) and the incorporation of confinement pens for young calves (at least the first three months of life) and their mothers. If the pens are built close to the property’s house and have constant surveillance and/or dogs, the results are likely to be more effective. Deploying these proven tools may help change the current negative perception of ranchers towards large carnivores that is essential to conservation under the aims of SDG 15. We recommend government policies and support aimed to strengthen livestock health to increase productivity and to reduce their vulnerability to predation. Finally, this study represents a baseline to understand the magnitude of the human–carnivore conflict over cattle in one of the largest biosphere reserves in Mesoamerica. View Full-Text
Keywords: livestock predation; free grazing; Reserva del Hombre y la Biósfera del Río Plátano; Miskitus; SDG2; SDG 15 livestock predation; free grazing; Reserva del Hombre y la Biósfera del Río Plátano; Miskitus; SDG2; SDG 15
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chinchilla, S.; Berghe, E.v.d.; Polisar, J.; Arévalo, C.; Bonacic, C. Livestock–Carnivore Coexistence: Moving beyond Preventive Killing. Animals 2022, 12, 479. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12040479

AMA Style

Chinchilla S, Berghe Evd, Polisar J, Arévalo C, Bonacic C. Livestock–Carnivore Coexistence: Moving beyond Preventive Killing. Animals. 2022; 12(4):479. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12040479

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chinchilla, Skarleth, Eric van den Berghe, John Polisar, Constanza Arévalo, and Cristian Bonacic. 2022. "Livestock–Carnivore Coexistence: Moving beyond Preventive Killing" Animals 12, no. 4: 479. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12040479

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