Stakeholder Perceptions of Success in Human-Carnivore Coexistence Interventions

Chloe Lucas, Jackie Abell, Samantha Bremner-Harrison, Katherine Whitehouse-Tedd

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Abstract

Human-carnivore coexistence (HCC) on agricultural lands affects wildlife and human communities around the world, whereby a lack of HCC is a central concern for conservation and farmer livelihoods alike. For intervention strategies aimed at facilitating HCC to achieve their desired goals it is essential to understand how interventions and their success are perceived by different stakeholders. Using a grounded theory approach, interviews (n=31) were conducted with key stakeholders (commercial livestock farmers, conservationists and protected area managers) involved in HCC scenarios in Limpopo, South Africa. Interviews explored perceptions of successful intervention strategies (aimed at increasing HCC), factors that contribute to perceptions of strategy effectiveness and whether coexistence was a concept that stakeholders considered achievable. The use of grounded theory emphasised the individual nature and previously unexplored facets to HCC experiences. The majority of stakeholders based their measures of success on changes in livestock loss. Concern has been raised over the subjectivity and reliance on recall that this measure involves, potentially reducing its reliability as an indicator of functional effectiveness. However, it was relied on heavily by users of HCC interventions in our study and is therefore likely influential in subsequent behaviour and decision-making regarding the intervention. Nonetheless, perceptions of success were not just shaped by livestock loss but influenced by various social, cultural, economic and political factors emphasising the challenges of defining and achieving HCC goals. Perceptions of coexistence varied; some stakeholders considered farmer-carnivore coexistence to be impossible, but most indicated it was feasible with certain caveats. An important element of inter-stakeholder misunderstanding became apparent, especially regarding the respective perceptions of coexistence and responsibility for its achievement. Without fully understanding these perceptions and their underpinning factors, interventions may be restricted in their capacity to meet the expectations of all interested parties. The study highlights the need to understand and explore the perceptions of all stakeholders when implementing intervention strategies in order to properly define and evaluate the achievement of HCC goals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number906405
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Conservation Science
Volume3
Early online date1 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the
original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Funder

The On Track Foundation

Keywords

  • human-carnivore coexistence
  • South Africa
  • conservation evaluation
  • Grounded Theory
  • Mitigation
  • depredation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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