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| The study was conducted in parts of the districts Palghar, Thane, and Mumbai Suburban in Maharashtra, India. Map credits: Shweta Shivakumar.

| The study was conducted in parts of the districts Palghar, Thane, and Mumbai Suburban in Maharashtra, India. Map credits: Shweta Shivakumar.

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Long histories of sharing space and resources have built complex, robust, and enduring relationships between humans and wildlife in many communities across the world. In order to understand what makes it possible for humans and wildlife to share space, we have to look beyond the ecological and socio-economic study of damages caused by human-wildlif...

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... for this study was conducted in both multi-use landscapes and protected areas. These include hamlets and villages in parts of the Mumbai Suburban (446 km²), Thane (4,214 km²), and Palghar (5,344 km²) districts located toward the north-west of Maharashtra, India (Maharashtra Government, 2018) (Figure 1). These regions encompass the northern hills of the Western Ghats and Maharashtra's western coastal plains bordering the Arabian Sea. ...

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... Potential conflict as an opportunity for coexistence: cosmovision and attitudes of Arhuaco people towards jaguars Ethnobiol Conserv 11:19 order to contribute to this path, it is necessary to explore interactions from different perspectives while avoiding universalizing Western value systems (Pooley et al. 2021). For example, by integrating the cosmological belief systems of indigenous peoples to complement conservation strategies based on Western science (Dickson 2018), as there is evidence that the belief systems of indigenous peoples promote coexistence with wildlife (Athreya et al. 2018;Nair et al. 2021;Ocholla et al. 2013). The need of incorporating the views of indigenous peoples to improve interactions with the jaguar (Panthera onca) has recently been emphasized (Castaño-Uribe 2016; Marchini et al. 2022). ...
... In this regard, it has been argued that when encounters between humans and predators are treated as conflict, there is a redefinition and negative polarization of a natural situation that could be perceived as a normal occurrence (Macdonald et al. 2010;Pooley et al. 2017). In other indigenous contexts, human responsibility for the depredation of cattle by felines has also been recognized, such as the Warlis in India, who attribute predation on cattle to human carelessness (Nair et al. 2021), of the Buddhists of Nepal who see such predation as retribution of nature for their bad deeds (Ale 1998) or as several ethnic groups in Sumatra that perceive the killing of cattle or humans by tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) as retribution when people violate moral codes (McKay et al. 2018). Regarding quantitative results, the collaborators surveyed had an attitude skewing towards positive in recognizing human responsibility for the alterations caused by wildlife (3.95/5). ...
... This ritual transformation requires three conditions: 1) the stimulation of emotions and memory, 2) the performative and symbolic aspect, and 3) that it be a collective experience (Wojtkowiak 2018). All these aspects are present in the Arhuaco Payments, that can be collective and individual, along with the perception of animals as spiritual entities that influences the way in which people later relate to wildlife (Nair et al. 2021). ...
... In parallel with recent developments in human-wildlife conflict studies , there is an increasing reaction against anthropocentrism, albeit from different directions, e.g., strong ecocentrism based on ideas about universal principles and the rights of animals (Vucetich et al., 2018), and recognition of different cultural frameworks for valuing and interacting with the natural world Nair et al., 2021;Oommen, 2021). There is some tension at the heart of human-wildlife interactions studies, then, over how to reconcile an increasing commitment to recognizing and protecting the rights of the natural world, with a commitment to equity and recognition of local and Indigenous human ways of being in the natural world. ...
... Ideally, future studies will include a focus (not exclusively) on particular positive interactions and relations. This will extend beyond direct impacts of wildlife on humans and vice versa, and negative interactions, and look harder at nonrational factors influencing decision-making, including cultures and histories of human-wildlife interactions (see Agnihotri et al., 2021;Nair et al., 2021;Oommen, 2021). ...
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) Understanding Human–Canid Conflict and Coexistence: Socioeconomic Correlates Underlying Local Attitude and Support Toward the Endangered Dhole (Cuon alpinus) in Bhutan.
... SGNP is one of the most highly visited PAs in the country (Pradhan, 2002). There are about 43 tribal hamlets inside SGNP's boundary represented by the Warli and Mahadev Koli tribes (Landy, 2017;Nair et al., 2021). People from the city use parts of SGNP mainly for recreational activities. ...
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Recent studies in the last decade have recorded obligate carnivores adapting to human dominated landscapes. Leopards, amongst other large carnivores, are highly adaptable and survive in a range of environments from the arid regions of Africa and the Middle East to the cold regions of the Russian Far East. They are also highly adaptable in their diet and consequently are present close to and even within high-density human landscapes. These also include the edges of urban areas such as Nairobi and Mumbai. Our study, to better understand the coexistence of leopards and humans, was conducted in 104 km 2 of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), which is surrounded on three sides by the urban landscape of Mumbai and Thane cities. The study area also included 85 km 2 of an adjoining protected area, Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (TWLS), which is surrounded by a combination of forests, rural areas and agricultural lands. Based on spatial capture-recapture framework we observed that leopard densities in SGNP (26.34 ± 4.96 leopards/100 km 2) and TWLS (5.40 ± 2.99 leopards/100 km 2) were vastly different. We found that density estimates of wild prey and domestic dogs were higher in SGNP in comparison to TWLS. In both the protected areas (PAs), domestic dogs formed a major proportion of leopard diet and were the single highest species contributors. Our study shows that despite extremely high human density around SGNP (∼20,000 people/km 2), leopard density is also much higher than the adjoining TWLS which has a comparatively lower surrounding density of people (∼1,700 people/km 2). Leopard density reported from SGNP is amongst the highest ever reported. This interesting result is probably due to much higher biomass of potential food resources in and around SGNP. Studying this relationship between leopards and their prey (both wild and domestic) in a human dominated landscape will give us valuable insights on human-leopard interactions. The two adjacent and connected PAs are similar ecologically, but differ widely in almost all other aspects, including human densities along the periphery, leopard densities, prey densities as well as management regimes.
... For example, Human-Animal Studies, or Anthrozoology (Mills, 2010;Siddiq and Habib, 2016) investigates relations of human and animal agents in all areas of life; and political ecology and political geography (McCarthy, 2002;Nygren and Rikoon, 2008;Poerting and Marquardt, 2019) i.a. approach human-wildlife interactions under the premise that animals ought to be conceived as "actors, rather [than] objects only to be acted upon" (Margulies and Karanth, 2018;3) who co-create human-wildlife encounters (Lescureux and Linnell, 2010;Nair et al., 2021). Accordingly, wild animals have their respective ways of representing humanwildlife interactions and imply their human counterpart in their intentional agency (Lestel, 2011;Jürgens, 2017). ...
... This idea also is latently present in rituals, for example the worship of Waghoba in Warli culture that is, i.a. dedicated at appeasing menace through big cats (Nair et al., 2021). ...
... Such rituals moreover indicate ascriptions of the motive of relationality to wildlife -or to master spirits governing wild animals' behavior: The effect of Waghoba worship on mediating human-big cat coexistence described by Nair et al. (2021) hinges on construing the deity and its kindred physical felines as being willing to entertain transactional relationships with humankind. In a similar vein, Westerners subscribe to "mutualism", a value orientation construing wildlife as "capable of relationships of trust with humans, as if part of an extended family, and as deserving of rights and care" (Dietsch et al., 2017, p. 177). ...
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Human interactions with potentially problematic wildlife spawn intense and polarized sentiments. This study investigates one contributing factor: People perceive wildlife as having intentions toward them, and consequently, they feel targeted by the animals' behavior. Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with 20 German-speaking participants on three model wildlife – wolves, corvids, and spiders – yielded 12 different kinds of intentions attributed to the animals. The form of these intentions can be analyzed in terms of whether the attribution has a metaphoric or literal meaning; whether it is potentially correct, and whether it occurs at an individual or species level. In terms of these criteria, attributions made to wolves, corvids, and spiders take different forms, that appear to correspond to differential degrees of direct experience with the respective animals. For example, attributions to wolves tend to be made at a species-level, and thus are of a rather abstract quality, corresponding to the rather elusive nature of wolf presence. Simultaneously, attributions to the three model wildlife exhibit thematic similarities: With regard to their content, the 12 kinds of intentions can be integrated into four motives referring to the animals' alleged deeper incentives: rebellion, menace, relationality , and unintentionality . These motives are ascribed to wolves, corvids and spiders in comparable ways, evidencing similarities in participants' mental representations of ecologically dissimilar cases of human-wildlife interactions. The discussion of the qualitative findings traces how the species-specific and the overarching dynamics, as well as people's biographies factor into their views of animal intentionality in a way that causes ascriptions to be polarized across people, yet similar across wildlife. Evidently, the inclination to feel personally targeted by animal agents' intentional behavior is a universal feature in human-wildlife conflicts, that is co-determined by wildlife ecology and human psychology.
... Most WCM approaches are based on species' biological, ecological, or economic value, thus classifying them as overabundant, invasive, endangered, game, and so forth. However, to many people wildlife are sentient beings, kin, deities, or community members (e.g., Borish et al., 2021;Nair et al., 2021;Tyrrell, 2008). By narrowly considering human-animal relationships, WCM practice often overlooks traditions that engage with wildlife as unique individuals or cultural entities distinct from but related to humans-discounting the shared histories, geographies, and dependencies that create these relationships. ...
... Animals have been considered guardians, deities, companions, rivals, nations, community members, and coconspirators that contribute in direct and indirect ways to the survival of both human cultures and wild species (Bhattacharyya & Slocombe, 2017;Blaser, 2009;Lorimer, 2015;Nadasdy, 2007;Nair et al., 2021). These views acknowledge animals' intentions, emotions, and cultures that they share with humans in a common social, spiritual, and ecological world (Umeek-Atleo, 2011). ...
Article
Wildlife conservation and management (WCM) practices have been historically drawn from a wide variety of academic fields, yet practitioners have been slow to engage with emerging conversations about animals as complex beings, whose individuality and sociality influence their relationships with humans. We propose an explicit acknowledgement of wild, nonhuman animals as active participants in WCM. We examined 190 studies of WCM interventions and outcomes to highlight 3 common assumptions that underpin many present approaches to WCM: animal behaviors are rigid and homogeneous; wildlife exhibit idealized wild behavior and prefer pristine habitats; and human–wildlife relationships are of marginal or secondary importance relative to nonhuman interactions. We found that these management interventions insufficiently considered animal learning, decision‐making, individuality, sociality, and relationships with humans and led to unanticipated detrimental outcomes. To address these shortcomings, we synthesized theoretical advances in animal behavioral sciences, animal geographies, and animal legal theory that may help conservation professionals reconceptualize animals and their relationships with humans. Based on advances in these fields, we constructed the concept of animal agency, which we define as the ability of animals to actively influence conservation and management outcomes through their adaptive, context‐specific, and complex behaviors that are predicated on their sentience, individuality, lived experiences, cognition, sociality, and cultures in ways that shape and reshape shared human–wildlife cultures, spaces, and histories. Conservation practices, such as compassionate conservation, convivial conservation, and ecological justice, incorporate facets of animal agency. Animal agency can be incorporated in conservation problem‐solving by assessing the ways in which agency contributes to species’ survival and by encouraging more adaptive and collaborative decision‐making among human and nonhuman stakeholders. Article impact statement: Incorporating animal agency into wildlife conservation and management can lead to more effective, nuanced, and just outcomes. Aunque las prácticas de gestión y conservación de fauna (GCF) han partido históricamente de una gama amplia de áreas académicas, los practicantes se han visto lentos para participar en las conversaciones emergentes sobre los animales como seres complejos, cuya individualidad y sociabilidad influyen sobre sus relaciones con los humanos. Proponemos un reconocimiento explícito de los animales no humanos silvestres como participantes activos en la GCF. Para esto, examinamos 190 estudios sobre las intervenciones y los resultados de GCF para resaltar tres supuestos comunes que respaldan a muchas estrategias actuales de GCF: el comportamiento animal es rígido y homogéneo, la fauna exhibe un comportamiento silvestre idealizado y prefiere hábitats prístinos, y las relaciones humano‐fauna son de importancia marginal o secundaria en relación con las interacciones no humanas. Descubrimos que estas intervenciones de gestión no consideran lo suficientemente el aprendizaje, toma de decisiones, individualidad, sociabilidad y relaciones con los humanos de los animales, por lo que llevan a resultados imprevistos y perjudiciales. Para lidiar con estas limitaciones, sintetizamos los avances teóricos que han tenido las ciencias dedicadas al comportamiento animal, la geografía animal y la teoría legal animal que pueden ayudar a los profesionales de la conservación a reformular el concepto de animal y sus relaciones con los humanos. Con base en los avances en estas áreas construimos el concepto de agencia animal, el cual definimos como la habilidad que tienen los animales para influir activamente sobre la conservación y los resultados de manejo por medio de su comportamiento adaptativo, complejo y específico al contexto, los cuales están basados en su sensibilidad, individualidad, experiencias vividas, conocimiento, sociabilidad y culturas, de manera que construyen y reconstruyen las culturas, espacios e historias humano‐fauna. Las prácticas de conservación, como la conservación compasiva, la conservación acogedora y la justicia ecológica, incorporan facetas de la agencia animal. La agencia animal puede incorporarse en la solución de los problemas de conservación al evaluar las formas en las que la agencia contribuye a la supervivencia de la especie y al alentar una toma de decisiones más adaptativa y colaborativa entre los actores humanos y los no humanos. 【摘要】野生动物保护和管理的实践历来来自于各种学术领域, 但动物作为复杂生命体, 其个性和社会性影响着它们与人类的关系, 因此实践者很难跟上关于动物不断涌现的讨论。我们建议应明确承认野生非人类动物是野生动物保护和管理的积极参与者。我们调查了关于野生动物保护和管理的干预和结果的190项研究, 并指出目前许多野生动物保护和管理方法的三个常见假设:动物行为是刻板和同质的;野生动物表现出理想化的野生行为, 喜欢原始的栖息地;相比于动物与非人类的互动, 人类与野生动物的关系是边缘或次要的。我们发现这些管理干预措施没有充分考虑到动物的学习、决策、个性、社会性以及与人类的关系, 引起了意想不到的有害结果。为了解决这些缺陷, 我们综合了动物行为科学、动物地理学和动物法律理论方面的理论进展, 这些知识有助于保护专家重新认识动物及其与人类的关系。这些学科深入研究了动物的知觉、适应性、个性、集体决策以及对人类共享环境的参与。基于这些领域的进展, 我们构建了动物能动性的概念, 定义为动物通过其适应性、特定环境和复杂的行为积极影响保护和管理结果的能力, 这些行为是建立在它们的知觉、个性、生活经验、认知、社会性和文化之上的, 其方式塑造和重塑了人类与野生动物共有的文化、空间和历史。保护实践, 如同情心保护、和谐性保护和生态正义, 都包含了动物能动性的各个层面。通过评估动物能动性对物种生存的贡献, 以及鼓励人类和非人类利益相关者之间更多的适应性和合作性决策, 可以将动物能动性纳入到保护问题的解决方案之中。【翻译: 胡怡思; 审校 : 聂永刚】
... This is perhaps not unexpected. Ambiguity in distinguishing between leopard and tigers is a common issue in present day India among rural people (Athreya et al., 2018;Dhee et al., 2019;Nair et al., 2021). The reports we have refer to big cats in locations that would more commonly be associated with leopards, for example on rooftops and behind high walls, with at least one instance of a British hunter being employed to track down an urban "tiger" only to discover that the animal was a leopard (Landor, 1895). ...
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While the urban landscapes of the early Anthropocene may appear hostile to large carnivores, humans and leopards (Panthera pardus) are known to co-inhabit major urban centres like Mumbai (India), Nairobi (Kenya) and Johannesburg (South Africa). We provide evidence that the presence of leopards in urban landscapes is not, however, a new phenomenon and has occurred repeatedly over the early history of the Anthropocene. Using records of Amur leopards (P. p. orientalis) in Seoul, Korea, at the end of the 19th century, a capital city and major urban centre with a high human population density, we explore socio-cultural, political and ecological factors that may have facilitated human-leopard co-occurrence in an urban landscape and the factors that eventually led to the leopards' extirpation. We suggest that, in the absence of unsustainable levels of persecution by humans, leopards are able to persist in urban landscapes which contain small patches of dense vegetation and have sufficient alternative food supplies. In light of the continued expansion of urban landscapes in the 21st century and increasing conservation focus on the presence of large carnivore populations there, this paper provides historical context to human co-existence with leopards in urban landscapes during the Anthropocene–and what we can learn from it for the future.
... In parallel with recent developments in human-wildlife conflict studies (Pooley et al., 2017), there is an increasing reaction against anthropocentrism, albeit from different directions, e.g., strong ecocentrism based on ideas about universal principles and the rights of animals (Vucetich et al., 2018), and recognition of different cultural frameworks for valuing and interacting with the natural world (Chua et al., 2020;Nijhawan and Mihu, 2020;Nair et al., 2021;Oommen, 2021). There is some tension at the heart of human-wildlife interactions studies, then, over how to reconcile an increasing commitment to recognizing and protecting the rights of the natural world, with a commitment to equity and recognition of local and Indigenous human ways of being in the natural world. ...
... Ideally, future studies will include a focus (not exclusively) on particular positive interactions and relations. This will extend beyond direct impacts of wildlife on humans and vice versa, and negative interactions, and look harder at nonrational factors influencing decision-making, including cultures and histories of human-wildlife interactions (see Pooley, 2016;Nijhawan and Mihu, 2020;Pooley et al., 2020;Agnihotri et al., 2021;Nair et al., 2021;Oommen, 2021). ...
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This perspective essay considers ethical and conceptual questions around who coexistence is for, who it affects, and who is to make it happen. It first considers some approaches to thinking about human-wildlife coexistence, debates on the utility of the concept and reasons for its current emergence into the mainstream. It next outlines the preliminary conception of the concept underlying this essay. The discussion considers challenges for a narrow conservation-oriented framing of human-wildlife coexistence, and offers insights from the literatures on stewardship and relational values for thinking about these. Published in Frontiers in Conservation Science
... Similar positive influence of religious beliefs (about elephants) has been found in other studies as well from nearby regions of Assam and Bangladesh (Gogoi, 2018;Saif et al., 2020). Furthermore, such beliefs which increase acceptance toward even large carnivores have also been reported in the studies from several parts of India (Jalais, 2011;Ghosh et al., 2015;Aiyadurai, 2016;Dhee et al., 2019;Nair et al., 2021). The religious sentiments of communities sharing space with large bodied wildlife could be an important aspect to consider on conservation planning and yet, remains largely unexplored. ...
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Conservation conflicts or human-wildlife conflicts present one of the foremost challenges to the wildlife conservation globally. The challenges of reconciling human safety and food security with the conservation of large-bodied wildlife are further compounded in the developing nations with a high spatial overlap of wildlife with people. Therefore, conservation models are required to offset losses faced by affected communities while at the same time ensuring the long-term conservation of wildlife species in shared spaces. Ex-gratia payment is one such widely used conflict mitigation instrument that aims to reduce losses and increase tolerance toward damage-causing wildlife species. However, the efficacy of such programs is rarely investigated and the complex interplay of local beliefs, traditions, and community dynamics are rarely incorporated in the compensation programs. This paper aimed to study an ex-gratia payment program for crop losses in India using ecological, economic, and social lenses. In this study, we used 119 interview surveys across 30 villages. Linear models and thematic analysis were used to understand the sources of crop losses, the propensity to claim ex-gratia payments, and the reasons for claiming or not claiming. We find that even though wildlife is the major cause of crop loss in the region, especially to elephants, the majority of the respondents (53%) did not claim compensation for the losses. The reasons varied from procedural failures to a negative evaluation of the process or the agency involved but the most recurrent reason for not claiming was a deep religious belief in certain communities on the elephant God, “Mahakal.” Our work indicates that the cultural reverence toward the species is enabling the acceptance of losses. We propose that such complex cultural beliefs and local traditions should be considered when designing schemes that aim to garner conservation support toward damage-causing wildlife species.
... Communities in cities within the Global South are conglomerates of human migrants from relatively rural areas. The SES framework (Fig. 2) as an outcome, therefore, contributes to designing and implementation of restoration policies for vultures and other wildlife within heterogeneously developed human dominated ecosystems, based on spatially-explicit human-animal co-adaptations (Athreya et al. 2018;Bhatia et al. 2021;Majgaonkar et al. 2019;Nair et al. 2021;Pooley, Bhatia, and Vasava 2021). The framework can help evaluate if target species for conservation and/or restoration can attain their erstwhile niche in the wake of urban changes and infrastructure development (Iaccarino 2003). ...
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Correlations in the timings of vulture collapse and rapid urbanisation in South Asia have affected the benefit trade-offs concerning conservation-breeding for vulture restoration. We show how the loss of vultures 30 years ago has led to the extinction of experience amongst people in South Asia who are co-adapted to various animal species within shared landscapes. We conducted ethnography that focused on avian scavengers (vultures, kites and crows) in Delhi to unpack how salience and charisma for avian scavengers link with socio-cultural legends. Perceptions about avian scavengers were based on birds’ appearance, behaviour, and ecosystem services. Anthropomorphisation mediated human-animal co-adaptation and drove ritual feeding of commensals that opportunistically consume garbage. Conflated with ethnoecology, such human-constructed niches supported enormous animal populations in the region and drove mutual tolerance. Prior evaluations of scavengers’ niche from biophysical perspectives alone have, therefore, overlooked links between vultures and animal husbandry practices. It undermined competitive release on commensals that have responded by an increase in numbers and distribution, by taking advantage of ritual feeding and people’s affiliative attitudes. The absence of vultures limits the availability of spaces where animal husbandry can be practised . Conversely, expanding built-up spaces, overhead wires, fake news, and interference from competing scavengers will be impediments to vulture restoration. Conservation policies should examine immediate and long-term objectives of solid waste disposal, considering the odds against the attainment of the yesteryear functional ecology of vultures in South Asia. We conclude that wildlife restoration in urbanising tropical landscapes is a moving target, necessitating policies sensitive to progressive loss and/or changes in associative heritage due to shifting economic and cultural practices.
... Communities in cities within the Global South are conglomerates of human migrants from relatively rural areas. The SES framework (Fig. 2) as an outcome, therefore, contributes to designing and implementation of restoration policies for vultures and other wildlife within heterogeneously developed human dominated ecosystems, based on spatially-explicit human-animal co-adaptations (Athreya et al. 2018;Bhatia et al. 2021;Majgaonkar et al. 2019;Nair et al. 2021;Pooley, Bhatia, and Vasava 2021). The framework can help evaluate if target species for conservation and/or restoration can attain their erstwhile niche in the wake of urban changes and infrastructure development (Iaccarino 2003). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Correlations in the timings of vulture collapse and rapid urbanisation in South Asia have affected the benefit trade-offs concerning conservation-breeding for vulture restoration. We show how the loss of vultures 30 years ago has led to the extinction of experience amongst people in South Asia who are co-adapted to various animal species within shared landscapes. We conducted ethnography, involving avian scavengers (vultures, kites and crows) in Delhi, to unpack how salience and charisma for avian scavenger’s link with socio-cultural legends. Perceptions about avian scavengers were based on birds’ appearance, behaviour, and ecosystem services. Anthropomorphisation mediated human-animal co-adaptation and drove ritual feeding of commensals that opportunistically consume garbage. Conflated with ethnoecology, such human-constructed niches supported enormous animal populations in the region and drove mutual tolerance. Prior evaluations of scavengers’ niche from biophysical perspectives alone have, therefore, overlooked links between vultures and animal husbandry practices. It undermined competitive release on commensals that have responded by an increase in numbers and distribution, by taking advantage of ritual feeding and people’s affiliative attitudes. The absence of vultures limits the availability of spaces where animal husbandry can be practised . Conversely, expanding built-up spaces, overhead wires, fake news, and interference from competing scavengers will be impediments to vulture restoration. Conservation policies should examine immediate and long-term objectives of solid waste disposal, considering the odds against the attainment of former functional ecology by vultures. We conclude that wildlife restoration in urbanising tropical landscapes is a moving target, necessitating policies sensitive to progressive loss and/or changes in associative heritage due to shifting economic and cultural practices.