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Addressing human-tiger conflict using socioecological information on tolerance and risk

By 8th October 2018 Conservation Papers

Abstract

Tigers are critically endangered due to deforestation and persecution. Yet in places, Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) continue to coexist with people, offering insights for managing wildlife elsewhere. Here, we couple spatial models of encounter risk with information on tolerance from 2386 Sumatrans to reveal drivers of human–tiger conflict. Risk of encountering tigers was greater around populated villages that neighboured forest or rivers connecting tiger habitat; geographic profiles refined these predictions to three core areas. People’s tolerance for tigers was related to underlying attitudes, emotions, norms and spiritual beliefs. Combining this information into socio-ecological models yielded predictions of tolerance that were 32 times better than models based on social predictors alone. Preemptive intervention based on these socio-ecological predictions could have averted up to 51% of attacks on livestock and people, saving 15 tigers. Our work provides further evidence of the benefits of interdisciplinary research on conservation conflicts.

 

Matthew J. Struebig, Matthew Linkie, Nicolas J. Deere, Deborah J. Martyr, Betty Millyanawati, Sally C. Faulkner, Steven C. Le Comber, Fachruddin M. Mangunjaya, Nigel Leader-Williams, Jeanne E. McKay & Freya A.V. St. John. (2018) Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05983-y