Special Issue "Humans and Wild Animals: Interactions in Deep Time, Recent History, and Now"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Joanna E. Lambert
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
Interests: evolutionary ecology; nutritional ecology; community ecology; conservation biology; mammals; Africa; North America
Ms. Emily Beam
E-Mail
Guest Editor
University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
Interests: animal behavior; carnivore ecology; animal learning and habituation; urban ecology; Africa; North America
Dr. Amanda L. Ellwanger
E-Mail
Guest Editor
1. Department of Cultural and Behavioral Science, Georgia State University Perimeter College, Dunwoody, GA 30338, USA
2. Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA
Interests: animal studies; integrative sociocultural and ecological methodology; anthropology; ethnoprimatology; human–wildlife interactions; niche construction; primate behavioral ecology and conservation; Africa; Asia
Prof. Dr. Joel Berger
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
2. Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, NY 10460, USA
Interests: conservation biology; biodiversity; climate impacts; mammals; North America; Africa; Asia

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Though human–wildlife conflict has recently received considerable attention, the reality is that we have shared landscapes with wild animals throughout our evolutionary history, suggesting that at no time have we not interacted with sympatric species. Our patterns of interaction with other species are by no means static, however, with significant spatiotemporal shifts in our ecological impact on animal communities and species populations. Salient examples of these ecological interactions include globally documented top-down effects during Pleistocene megafaunal extinction events and wide-reaching bottom-up effects as a consequence of habitat conversion. Most recently, unabated human population growth has exacerbated the intensity and gravity of these human–wildlife ecological interactions and frequency of encounters, with significant conservation and management implications. Some animal species flourish in emerging anthropogenic landscapes and in human proximity, others are declining rapidly in number.

In this Special Issue, we will explore the long history that humans have had with wild animals, with three overarching themes: (1) the changing patterns of human interactions with wild animals over our 200,000+ year history, (2) the circumstances that result in human–wildlife conflict versus coexistence, and (3) the conservation and management implications of human–wildlife interactions. We will consider including articles that address topics such as the ecology and evolution of species coexistence, changing human attitudes towards wild animals, human–animal ecological relationships (predator–prey, competitive, mutualisms, commensalism, amensalism), sources of conflict between humans and animals, competition between humans and animals for resources and space, urban animals and biodiversity in cities, animals as ecotourism subjects, the role of protected space, and implications for wildlife managers.

Dr. Joanna E. Lambert
Ms. Emily Beam
Dr. Amanda Ellwanger
Dr. Joel Berger
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Human–wildlife conflict and coexistence
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecological community interactions
  • Predator–prey
  • Anthropogenic

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Interface of Human/Wildlife Interactions: An Example of a Bold Coyote (Canis latrans) in Atlanta, GA, USA
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080372 - 11 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1368
Abstract
There is arguably no other North American species that better illustrates the complexities of the human-wildlife interface than the coyote. In this study, a melanistic coyote in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia was exhibiting unusually bold behaviors that included encounters with humans, domestic dogs, and [...] Read more.
There is arguably no other North American species that better illustrates the complexities of the human-wildlife interface than the coyote. In this study, a melanistic coyote in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia was exhibiting unusually bold behaviors that included encounters with humans, domestic dogs, and attempts to enter homes. After tracking this coyote (nicknamed Carmine) across a highly urbanized landscape with participatory science, including at least 80 publicly reported sightings, he was captured and relocated to a wildlife sanctuary. Genome-wide analyses revealed 92.8% coyote ancestry, 1.7% gray wolf ancestry, and 5.5% domestic dog ancestry. The dog alleles in Carmine’s genome were estimated to have been acquired by his ancestors 14–29 years ago. Despite his bold behavior, Carmine did not carry any mutations known to shape hypersociability in canines. He did, however, carry a single copy of the dominant mutation responsible for his melanistic coat color. This detailed study of Carmine dispels common assumptions about the reticent coyote personality and the origins of behavior. His unusual bold behavior created a higher level of human-coyote interaction. He now serves as a public ambassador for human-wildlife coexistence, urging the global community to reconsider mythologies about wildlife and promote coexistence with them in landscapes significantly altered by human activity in our rapidly changing world. Full article
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Article
Ecological, Historical, Economic, and Political Factors Shaping the Human–Gorilla Interface in the Mone-Oku Forest, Cameroon
Diversity 2021, 13(4), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13040175 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 677
Abstract
Cross River gorillas are the least numerous of the African ape taxa. Since their rediscovery, several organisations have sought to conserve these critically endangered apes, resulting in a “crisis conservation narrative” focused on the threats posed by local human activities. However, landscapes are [...] Read more.
Cross River gorillas are the least numerous of the African ape taxa. Since their rediscovery, several organisations have sought to conserve these critically endangered apes, resulting in a “crisis conservation narrative” focused on the threats posed by local human activities. However, landscapes are not just ecological, they are also social, shaped by political and economic processes. This study examines the interconnections between humans and gorillas by approaching the Mone-Oku forest as a combination of ecological, social, and political systems. Through a combined use of botanical surveys, analyses of nesting sites, participant observation, and semistructured interviews, we obtained nuanced ecological and ethnographic insights into the human–gorilla interface. The results illustrate a history of alterations within the Mone-Oku forest, some of which are human-induced. These alterations have had both positive and negative outcomes for the gorillas and continue to the present day, where political history has shaped limited livelihood alternatives, increasing the reliance on a forest that has remained a constant in the more recent history of “developmental” neglect and isolation. However, this situation is not static, with future alterations to the forest also subject to regional and international political and economic influences, such as the increased worldwide demand for cacao. Full article
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Article
Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Impacts Community Perceptions around Kibale National Park, Uganda
Diversity 2021, 13(4), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13040145 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 781
Abstract
The attitudes of community members living around protected areas are an important and often overlooked consideration for effective conservation strategies. Around Kibale National Park (KNP) in western Uganda, communities regularly face the threat of crop destruction from wildlife, including from a variety of [...] Read more.
The attitudes of community members living around protected areas are an important and often overlooked consideration for effective conservation strategies. Around Kibale National Park (KNP) in western Uganda, communities regularly face the threat of crop destruction from wildlife, including from a variety of endangered species, such as African elephants (Loxodonta africana), common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), and red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus tephrosceles), as well as other nonhuman primates, including olive baboons (Papio anubis). These frequent negative interactions with wildlife lead many community members to resent the park and the animals that live within it. To mitigate these issues, community members around KNP partnered with researchers to start a participatory action research project to reduce human-wildlife interactions. The project tested four sustainable human-wildlife conflict mitigation strategies: digging and maintaining trenches around the park border, installing beehive fences in swampy areas where trenches could not be dug, planting tea as a buffer, and growing garlic as a cash crop. These physical exclusion methods and agriculture-based deterrents aimed to reduce crop destruction by wild animals and improve conditions for humans and wildlife alike. We conducted oral surveys with members of participating communities and a nonparticipating community that border KNP to determine the impact of these sustainable human-wildlife conflict mitigation strategies on attitudes toward KNP, wildlife officials, and animal species in and around KNP. We found that there is a positive correlation between participation in the project and perceived benefits of living near KNP. We also found that respondents who participated in the project reported more positive feelings about the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the organization that oversees KNP. This research will help inform future conservation initiatives around KNP and other areas where humans and animals face conflict through crop damage. Full article
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