Browsing by Subject "human-wildlife conflict"

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  • Rocha, Ricardo; López-Baucells, Adrià; Fernandez-Llamazares, Alvaro (2021)
    Although elusive due to their mostly nocturnal behavior, bats have fascinated humans for millennia. From their ubiquitous presence in Mayan mythology to being regarded as symbols of good fortune in the Middle-to-Late Qing Dynasty of China, bats have been both feared and celebrated across cultures from all over the world. The research articles included in this collection illustrate the myriad ways in which bats and humans have interacted over time, highlighting how these airborne mammals have been associated with death, witchcraft, vampires, malevolent spirits, and evil in some cultures, while, in other places-particularly across the Asia-Pacific region-they have been largely linked to luck and good fortune and used as spiritual totems. This collection also showcases how multiple cultural groups, particularly across the tropics, have traditionally hunted bats for human consumption and traditional medicine, and used their guano as a fertilizer. In times of rapid global change and when bats are often associated with zoonotic disease risks, a trend that has been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, this special issue constitutes one significant step towards a richer understanding of bat-human inter-relationships. The lives of humans and bats have been closely intertwined over time and our collection celebrates how bat diversity supports the biocultural richness of our planet.
  • Lopez-Baucells, Adria; Rocha, Ricardo; Andriatafika, Zo; Tojosoa, Tafita; Kemp, James; Forbes, Kristian M.; Cabeza, Mar (2017)
    Humanised landscapes are causing population declines and even extinctions of wildlife, whereas a limited number of species are adapting to the new niches and resources within these modified habitats. Synanthropy is widespread among many vertebrates and often causes co-habitation conflicts between humans and wildlife species. Bats often roost in anthropogenic structures, and especially in the tropics, mitigation of human-bat conflicts arising from co-habitation is hampered by a paucity of research focusing on roost preferences. We assessed roost selection by bats in villages around Ranomafana National Park, eastern Madagascar. Ten villages were surveyed, with bats occupying 21 of the 180 evaluated buildings. Of those, 17 were public buildings harbouring large molossid colonies. Although beneficial ecosystem services provided by bats are well-known, several cases of colony eviction were noted, mostly due to unwanted co-habitation. Bat preference was driven by the type of building, its height and a lack of fire use by the inhabitants. Colonies were mainly found under metal sheets within large empty chambers, whereas only isolated bats were detected in the roofs of traditional cabins. Temperatures up to 50 degrees C were recorded inside a roost, representing one of the highest temperatures recorded for an African maternity roost. Molossidae bats appear to have found a suitable alternative to their native roosts in hollow, old and tall trees in pristine forests, which are becoming rare in Madagascar. This suggests that human-bat interactions in Madagascar will likely increase alongside rural development and the loss of primary forest habitats. Shifting to modern construction methods while combining traditional techniques with proper roof sealing could prevent the establishment of bat colonies in undesired locations, whereas co-habitation conflicts could alternatively be minimised by reducing direct interaction with humans. In light of our results, we urge caution with bat evictions, and greater attention when introducing modern building practices, often supported by foreign initiatives, to poor rural communities in developing countries.
  • Nanni, Veronica; Caprio, Enrico; Bombieri, Giulia; Schiaparelli, Stefano; Chiorri, Carlo; Mammola, Stefano; Pedrini, Paolo; Penteriani, Vincenzo (2020)
    The Internet and social media have profoundly changed the way the public receives and transmits news. The ability of the web to quickly disperse information both geographically and temporally allows social media to reach a much wider audience compared to traditional mass media. A powerful role is played by sharing, as millions of people routinely share news on social media platforms, influencing each other by transmitting their mood and feelings to others through emotional contagion. Thus, social media has become crucial in driving public perception and opinion. Humans have an instinctive fear of large carnivores, but such a negative attitude may be amplified by news media presentations and their diffusion on social media. Here, we investigated how reports of predator attacks on humans published in online newspapers spread on social media. By means of multi-model inference, we explored the contribution of four factors in driving the number of total shares (NTS) of news reports on social media: the graphic/sensationalistic content, the presence of images, the species, as well as the newspaper coverage. According to our results, the information delivered by social media is highly biased toward a graphic/sensationalistic view of predators. Thus, such negative coverage might lead to an unjustified and amplified fear in the public with consequent lower tolerance toward predators and decrease in the support for conservation plans. However, because social media represents a powerful communication tool, its role might be reversed to positive if used appropriately. Thus, constant engagement of scientists on social media would be needed to both disseminate more accurate information on large carnivores and stem the tide of misinformation before its widespread diffusion, a crucial step for effective predator conservation.
  • Santangeli, Andrea; Arkumarev, Volen; Komen, Liz; Bridgeford, Peter; Kolberg, Holger (2017)
    Across Africa, the illegal use of poison is triggering a continent-wide scavenger crisis, with vultures suffering the most severe negative consequences. Vultures may die as indirect victims of the conflict between livestock farmers and predators, or they may be directly targeted by poachers with the aim to reduce the role of vultures as sentinels that alert authorities of poaching events. In this study, we provide novel information on vulture mortalities across the commercial farmlands of Namibia. We show that estimated mortalities of vultures due to anthropogenic causes amount to over 800 individuals over the period 2000-2015, which underscores the magnitude of the problem. The highest numbers of vulture deaths were reported from the southern half of the country, with the exception of the areas just south of Etosha National Park, and poisoning was the greatest cause of reported deaths. Aldicarb or carbofuran were the most commonly used poisons, but strychnine is still used by about one farmer out of 10. Poison is typically used by means of distributing poisoned baits in the landscape. Furthermore, willingness to use poison in the future was highest for farmers who own large properties with high livestock numbers, particularly sheep and goats, farmers who purportedly suffered high livestock losses to predators and who have a negative perception towards predators. We discuss the implications of these results and the possible urgent actions that should be implemented in order to address this devastating practice before it will impact vulture populations to irreversible levels.