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A culture of tolerance: coexisting with large carnivores in the Kafa Highlands, Ethiopia

  • Fikirte Gebresenbet (a1), Brhane Baraki (a2), Gidey Yirga (a2), Claudio Sillero-Zubiri (a3) and Hans Bauer (a3)...
Abstract

We assessed losses of livestock to lions Panthera leo and leopards Panthera pardus in the Adiyo and Gimbo districts in Kafa Biosphere Reserve, Ethiopia. We quantified the economic impact, conducted household and group interviews, and explored potential solutions with local people. During 2009–2013 there were 350 and 62 attacks by lions and leopards, respectively. Households that suffered attacks on their livestock lost a mean of USD 287 and USD 310 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Although lion attacks are more frequent than leopard attacks, our qualitative data indicate that tolerance for the former is higher because lions are more respected in the local culture. We describe how depredation is culturally mitigated and how retaliatory killing is avoided. Given people's tolerance towards them, carnivores may persist in their highland refugium, opening an arena for conservation that is not strictly linked to protected areas or to classical economics.

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Corresponding author
(Corresponding author) E-mail fikirte.erda@okstate.edu
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