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Title: The ecological benefit of tigers (Panthera tigris) to farmers in reducing crop and livestock losses in the eastern Himalayas: Implications for conservation of large apex predators
Contributor(s): Thinley, Phuntso (author); Rajaratnam, Rajanathan (author)orcid ; Lassoie, James (author); Morreale, Stephen (author); Curtis, Paul (author); Vernes, Karl A (author)orcid ; Leki, Leki (author); Phuntsho, Sonam (author); Dorji, Tshering (author); Dorji, Pema (author)
Publication Date: 2018
DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.01.015
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Abstract: Ecologists have primarily focused their attention on how predator loss influences ecosystem structure and function in intact ecosystems, but rarely tested these ecological concepts in agricultural landscapes. We conducted a study in western Bhutan on the inter-specific dynamics between tigers, leopards, and dholes, and their subsequent impact on livestock and crop losses faced by agro-pastoralists. We found that when a tiger was present in forests surrounding villages, leopards and dholes occupied areas closer to village croplands and preyed on a higher relative abundance of wild herbivore crop raiders, thereby significantly reducing crop (β = −2.25, p < .0001) and livestock losses (β = −2.39, p ≤.0001). In contrast, leopards and dholes occupied areas in deep forests farther from croplands when a tiger was absent in the village vicinity, leading to increased predation on a higher abundance of untended free-ranging livestock. We posit that justifications for large predator conservation based on their iconic status is not persuasive to rural farmers residing close to their habitat and suffering crop and livestock loss. There is a need to determine ecological services from apex predators to farmers which may dissuade them from retaliatory killings. We recommend conservation practitioners conserve large apex predators to maintain optimal inter-specific interactions in a large predator guild to benefit rural socio-economy.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Biological conservation, v.219, p. 119-125
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Place of Publication: Netherlands
ISSN: 1873-2917
Field of Research (FOR): 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
060202 Community Ecology (excl. Invasive Species Ecology)
040699 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Downloads: 2
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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