The damage-conservation interface illustrated by predation on domestic livestock in central Italy

The damage-conservation interface illustrated by predation on domestic livestock in central Italy Predation on domestic livestock caused by species of conservation value such as wolf Canis lupus and bear Ursus arctos is a common complaint in parts of the Abruzzo region (Italy) where extensive grazing is practised. The reliability of current damage evaluation methods was found to be weak in relation to identification between canid attacks (wolf or dog) as an ultimate cause of livestock death. An enquiry into the characteristics of farming units damaged by predation showed how the problem of predation could not be viewed in isolation from the socio-economic context in which it occurred. From a sample of communes concerned over predation, only 4.1% of 563 claimants (controlling 25 farming management units) could be considered as ‘chronically’ affected by predation (> two attacks per year) and took up over a third of the claims. The majority claimed less than one attack per year but 36.1% of these held sheep, cattle or equids for allegedly non-commercial reasons. There is evidence for the expansion of wolves in Italy: the availability of a variety of wild ungulates has been identified as a strong factor in diverting predator pressure from domestic livestock. This may hold true if the management methods of ‘at risk’ livestock categories are closely monitored and reappraised where necessary. Moreover, economic incentives such as compensation should be aimed primarily at owners most likely to enter into conflict with wildlife, owing to their economic reliance upon traditional husbandry methods. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biological Conservation Elsevier

The damage-conservation interface illustrated by predation on domestic livestock in central Italy

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 1996 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0006-3207
D.O.I.
10.1016/S0006-3207(96)00053-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Predation on domestic livestock caused by species of conservation value such as wolf Canis lupus and bear Ursus arctos is a common complaint in parts of the Abruzzo region (Italy) where extensive grazing is practised. The reliability of current damage evaluation methods was found to be weak in relation to identification between canid attacks (wolf or dog) as an ultimate cause of livestock death. An enquiry into the characteristics of farming units damaged by predation showed how the problem of predation could not be viewed in isolation from the socio-economic context in which it occurred. From a sample of communes concerned over predation, only 4.1% of 563 claimants (controlling 25 farming management units) could be considered as ‘chronically’ affected by predation (> two attacks per year) and took up over a third of the claims. The majority claimed less than one attack per year but 36.1% of these held sheep, cattle or equids for allegedly non-commercial reasons. There is evidence for the expansion of wolves in Italy: the availability of a variety of wild ungulates has been identified as a strong factor in diverting predator pressure from domestic livestock. This may hold true if the management methods of ‘at risk’ livestock categories are closely monitored and reappraised where necessary. Moreover, economic incentives such as compensation should be aimed primarily at owners most likely to enter into conflict with wildlife, owing to their economic reliance upon traditional husbandry methods.

Journal

Biological ConservationElsevier

Published: Dec 1, 1996

References

  • Surplus killing by carnivores
    Kruuk, H.

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