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The health piece of the human-big cat conflict puzzle

Photo: Sumatran tiger with front foot caught in a snare. Credit FFI

There are lots of organisations dealing with human – wildlife conflict situations and WVI is and has been helping our conservation partners. For example, Dr John Lewis provided external veterinary support to the rehabilitation centre in the Russian Far East, providing training for forest/conservation guards in anaesthetising tigers in a conflict situation and much information can be found on the Wild Tiger Health Centre.

The late Dr John Lewis at a WCS China Human Tiger Conflict Workshop teaching Chineseforestry staff about field anaesthesia on a captive tiger.2017. Credit: WCS China.

Other organisations are working to reduce the conflict in the first place – deterringcrop raiding elephants using bees or chilli plants, helping to build bomas forlivestock at night to protect them from predators and breeding livestock guardiandogs that live with the flocks to see off predators. Providing animal health servicesand alternative livelihood support to increase the level of tolerance withincommunities. Research into the behaviour patterns of predators outside protectedareas can put light on to simple solutions. For example, a Leibniz-IZW study inNamibia showed cheetah congregate around certain trees – moving livestock awayfrom these areas instantly reduces the number taken by predators.

Anatolian shepherd bred by Cheetah Conservation Fund goes on to guard livestock against predators. Credit Suzi Eszterhas.