Analysis of conflict reduction strategies in Iran; case study: Kharvana district, East Azerbaijan province
Keywords:Conflict, conservation, herder, nonlethal, wolf, small livestock
Nowadays, population growth and the exploitation of the natural environments lead to encroachment of human activities in wildlife habitats, which increases human-wildlife conflicts, especially with carnivores. The investment of livestock owners and natural conservationists for mitigating these inconsistencies is vital. There is more evidence of an increasing trend in the complaints reported by Kharvana herders on wolf damages. This study aimed to capture people's attitudes about wolves and investigate the familiarity and feasibility of four nonlethal methods, including attractant removal, guarding dogs, alarm and scare tactics, and moving livestock for reducing the wolf depredation on small livestock (goat and sheep) in the region of interest. In this study, 15% of the herders in each village from Kharvana were selected for interviews. We analyzed survey responses from 77 Kharvana-based herdsmen. Surprisingly, the results indicated that although the majority of survey respondents reported an insufficient current level of protection from wolves and had a high desire to eliminate and kill wolves. There was a considerable number of responses that neither agreed nor disagreed with having experienced negative impacts from wolves. We found that there is a perceived feasibility of implementing all four strategies in areas used as wintering feeding sites compared to areas that are allowed to be grazed during the warm part of the year. The use of guarding dogs (median rank = 1) was the most and significantly locally-feasible livestock protection measure(Friedman (3) = 118.6, p <0.0001) for inclusion in conflict reduction programs that have already been used in the Kharvana area by the most herdsmen.
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