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Human–wildlife conflict in northern Botswana: livestock predation by Endangered African wild dog Lycaon pictus and other carnivores

  • M. Gusset (a1), M.J. Swarner (a1), L. Mponwane (a1), K. Keletile (a1) and J.W. McNutt (a1)...

We conducted a questionnaire survey among 77 cattle posts and farms to investigate human-carnivore conflicts in northern Botswana, with a particular focus on Endangered African wild dog Lycaon pictus, persecuted throughout their shrinking range in sub-Saharan Africa for allegedly predating livestock. Predator attacks on livestock (n = 938 conflict reports) represent an economic concern for livestock owners, particularly alleged predation by black-backed jackal Canis mesomelas, which were blamed for 77% of all reported livestock losses. The presence of two known resident packs of wild dogs did not result in corresponding conflict reports with livestock owners, as wild dogs accounted for only 2% of reported predator attacks and largely subsisted on wild prey. Nevertheless, most of these wild dogs were killed in the months following this survey. Reported conflicts involving the two largest predator species (lion Panthera leo and spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta) declined with increasing distance from protected areas. Leaving livestock unattended during the day seems to facilitate predation but kraaling livestock at night reduces predation. Compensation payments for livestock losses did not demonstrably change livestock owners’ willingness to coexist with predators. Our results corroborate studies from elsewhere that simple improvements in livestock husbandry practices would help mitigate human-carnivore conflicts.

Corresponding author
Botswana Predator Conservation Program, Private Bag 13, Maun, Botswana. E-mail
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