Date of this Version
European Journal of Wildlife Research (2020) 66: 11 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-019-1348-5
Human-wildlife conflicts, especially those involving large carnivores, are of global conservation and livelihood concern and require effective and locally-adapted prevention measures. Risk of lion attack on livestock (i.e., depredation) may vary seasonally and may be associated with variation in wild prey abundance or landscape characteristics. To test these competing hypotheses, we used a resource selection approach, and determined whether prey catchability (indicated by geo-spatial variables), or prey availability (indicated by modeled abundance recorded via camera traps) explained spatial and seasonal variation in livestock depredation risk by African lions on Manyara Ranch Conservancy, a multi-use area in northern Tanzania. Seasonal variation in vegetative productivity and proximity to surface water appeared to be strong predictors of livestock depredation risk. Correlates for depredation risk were different between wet and dry seasons. During the dry season, depredation risk was positively correlated with vegetative productivity, whereas depredation risk during the wet season was highest near livestock enclosures (bomas). During both seasons, depredation risk was high closer to surface water. Landscape-driven risk maps were created to identify low risk areas that may be compatible with livestock grazing. Our results on depredation risk by lions are similar to other studies in protected areas and suggest that both prey catchability and prey availability are instrumental in predicting kill sites of lions. To facilitate lion and livestock coexistence in multi-use areas of Africa, we recommend minimizing spatiotemporal overlap between livestock and abundant wild prey by developing alternative livestock water and feeding locations and increasing caution near surface water areas.
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