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Vultures vs livestock: Conservation relationships in an emerging conflict between humans and wildlife

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Human–wildlife conflict is emerging as an important topic in conservation. Carnivores and birds of prey are responsible for most conflicts with livestock and game but since the mid 1990s a new conflict is emerging in south-west Europe: the presumed killing of livestock by griffon vultures Gyps fulvus. Lack of scientific data and magnification of the problem by the media are increasing alarm amongst the public, and political pressures to implement management decisions have not been based on scientific evidence. We compiled information on 1,793 complaints about attacks by griffon vultures on livestock, lodged with Spanish authorities from 1996 to 2010. Spain is home to the majority (95%) of griffon vultures and other scavengers in the European Union. Most of the cases occurred in areas of high livestock density, affected principally sheep (49%) and cows (31%), and were associated with spring birthing times (April–June). On average 69% of the complaints made annually were rejected because of a lack of evidence about whether the animal was alive before being eaten. The total economic cost of compensation was EUR 278,590 from 2004 to 2010. We discuss possible ways to mitigate this emerging human–wildlife conflict. These need to include the participation of livestock farmers, authorities, scientists and conservation groups.
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Published for
Fauna & Flora International April 2014 · Volume 48 · Number 2
Oryx Volume 48 · Number 2 · April 2014 · pp. 157–XXX
The International Journal of Conservation
www.oryxthejournal.org
Volume 48 · Number 2
April 2014
157 Open? Closed? Ajar? What is happening to the peer
reviewed literature? M. Fisher
159 Briefly
169 Conservation news
172 Vultures vs livestock: conservation relationships in
an emerging conflict between humans and wildlife,
A. Margalida, D. Campión & J.A. Donázar
XXX The discovery, biodiversity and conservation of Mabu
forest—the largest medium-altitude rainforest in
southern Africa, J. Bayliss, J. Timberlake, W. Branch,
C. Bruessow, S. Collins, C. Congdon et al.
XXX Old wine, new bottles? Using history to inform
the assisted colonization debate, J.M. Winston, B.A.
Minteer & J.P. Collins
XXX Translocation and hand-rearing of the short-tailed
albatross Phoebastria albatrus: early indicators of
success for species conservation and island restoration,
T. Deguchi, R.M. Suryan, K. Ozaki, J.F. Jacobs, F. Sato,
N. Nakamura & G.R. Balogh
XXX Diversity, distribution and status of bats on the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India, B. Aul, P.J.J.
Bates, D.L. Harrison & G. Marimuthu
XXX Protection of the white-nest swiftlet Aerodramus
fuciphagus in the Andaman Islands, India: an
assessment, S. Manchi & R. Sankaran
XXX Perceptions matter: how fishermen’s perceptions affect
trends of sustainability in Indian fisheries, D. Karnad,
M. Gangal & K.K. Karanth
XXX Effects of livestock on occurrence of the Vulnerable
red panda Ailurus fulgens in Rara National Park, Nepal,
H.P. Sharma, J.L. Belant & J.E. Swenson
XXX Habitat of the Vulnerable Formosan sambar deer Rusa
unicolor swinhoii in Taiwan, S.-C. Yen, Y. Wang & H.-Y. Ou
XXX Monitoring the effects of forest clear-cutting and
mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus invasion on wildlife
diversity on Amami Island, Japan, K. Sugimura,
K. Ishida, S. Abe, Y. Nagai, Y. Watari, M. Tatara et al.
XXX Estimating puma Puma concolor population size in
a human-disturbed landscape in Brazil using DNA
mark–recapture data, R.A. Miotto, M. Cervini,
M. Kajin, R.A. Begotti & P.M. Galetti Jr
XXX Categorizing threatened species: an analysis of the Red
List of the flora of Brazil, M.A. Moraes, R.A.X. Borges,
E.M. Martins, R.A. Fernandes, T. Messina
& G. Martinelli
XXX Updated global distribution of the threatened marine
limpet Patella ferruginea (Gastropoda: Patellidae): an
example of biodiversity loss in the Mediterranean,
F. Espinosa, G.A. Rivera-Ingraham, M. Maestre, A.R.
González, H. Bazairi & J.C. García-Gómez
XXX Impact of human pressure and forest fragmentation
on the Endangered Barbary macaque Macaca sylvanus
in the Middle Atlas of Morocco, N. Ménard, Y. Rantier,
A. Foulquier, M. Qarro, L. Chillasse, D. Vallet et al.
XXX Ecological trap in the buffer zone of a protected area:
effects of indirect anthropogenic mortality on the
African wild dog Lycaon pictus, E. van der Meer,
H. Fritz, P. Blinston & G.S.A. Rasmussen
XXX Assessing reintroduction success in long-lived primates
through population viability analysis: western lowland
gorillas Gorilla gorilla gorilla in Central Africa, T. King,
C. Chamberlan & A. Courage
XXX Factors influencing the illegal harvest of wildlife by
trapping and snaring among the Katu ethnic group in
Vietnam, D.C. MacMillan & Q.A. Nguyen
Cover Griffon vulture covered in blood from feeding, Spain.
A new type of conflict with wildlife is emerging in south-west
Europe: the presumed killing of livestock by griffon vultures.
Lack of scientific data and magnification of the problem by
the media are increasing alarm amongst the public but political
pressures to implement management decisions have not been
based on scientific evidence. Compilation of complaints about
attacks by griffon vultures on livestock shows that 69% of the
complaints were rejected because of a lack of evidence about
whether the animal was alive before being eaten. Nevertheless,
illegal practices such as intentional poisoning of griffon
vultures have been detected, affecting dozens of individuals.
Mitigation of this emerging human–wildlife conflict needs
to include the participation of livestock farmers, relevant
authorities, scientists and conservation groups. For further
details, see pp. XXX–XXX. (Photograph © Wild Wonders
of Europe / Widstrand / NaturePL.com).
www.oryxthejournal.org
Supported by
40?
3DSHUIURP
UHVSRQVLEOHVRXUFHV
-:*
*
Vultures vs livestock
An emerging human–
wildlife conflict?
Mabu forest
Discovery, biodiversity
and conservation
Old wine, new bottles?
History and the assisted
colonization debate
Perceptions matter
Sustainability in Indian fisheries
Anthropogenic mortality
Ecological trap for African wild dogs
Translocation of the short-tailed albatross
Early indicators of success
Published for
Fauna & Flora International April 2014 · Volume 48 · Number 2
Oryx Volume 48 · Number 2 · April 2014 · pp. 157–XXX
The International Journal of Conservation
www.oryxthejournal.org
Volume 48 · Number 2
April 2014
157 Open? Closed? Ajar? What is happening to the peer
reviewed literature? M. Fisher
159 Briefly
169 Conservation news
172 Vultures vs livestock: conservation relationships in
an emerging conflict between humans and wildlife,
A. Margalida, D. Campión & J.A. Donázar
XXX The discovery, biodiversity and conservation of Mabu
forest—the largest medium-altitude rainforest in
southern Africa, J. Bayliss, J. Timberlake, W. Branch,
C. Bruessow, S. Collins, C. Congdon et al.
XXX Old wine, new bottles? Using history to inform
the assisted colonization debate, J.M. Winston, B.A.
Minteer & J.P. Collins
XXX Translocation and hand-rearing of the short-tailed
albatross Phoebastria albatrus: early indicators of
success for species conservation and island restoration,
T. Deguchi, R.M. Suryan, K. Ozaki, J.F. Jacobs, F. Sato,
N. Nakamura & G.R. Balogh
XXX Diversity, distribution and status of bats on the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India, B. Aul, P.J.J.
Bates, D.L. Harrison & G. Marimuthu
XXX Protection of the white-nest swiftlet Aerodramus
fuciphagus in the Andaman Islands, India: an
assessment, S. Manchi & R. Sankaran
XXX Perceptions matter: how fishermen’s perceptions affect
trends of sustainability in Indian fisheries, D. Karnad,
M. Gangal & K.K. Karanth
XXX Effects of livestock on occurrence of the Vulnerable
red panda Ailurus fulgens in Rara National Park, Nepal,
H.P. Sharma, J.L. Belant & J.E. Swenson
XXX Habitat of the Vulnerable Formosan sambar deer Rusa
unicolor swinhoii in Taiwan, S.-C. Yen, Y. Wang & H.-Y. Ou
XXX Monitoring the effects of forest clear-cutting and
mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus invasion on wildlife
diversity on Amami Island, Japan, K. Sugimura,
K. Ishida, S. Abe, Y. Nagai, Y. Watari, M. Tatara et al.
XXX Estimating puma Puma concolor population size in
a human-disturbed landscape in Brazil using DNA
mark–recapture data, R.A. Miotto, M. Cervini,
M. Kajin, R.A. Begotti & P.M. Galetti Jr
XXX Categorizing threatened species: an analysis of the Red
List of the flora of Brazil, M.A. Moraes, R.A.X. Borges,
E.M. Martins, R.A. Fernandes, T. Messina
& G. Martinelli
XXX Updated global distribution of the threatened marine
limpet Patella ferruginea (Gastropoda: Patellidae): an
example of biodiversity loss in the Mediterranean,
F. Espinosa, G.A. Rivera-Ingraham, M. Maestre, A.R.
González, H. Bazairi & J.C. García-Gómez
XXX Impact of human pressure and forest fragmentation
on the Endangered Barbary macaque Macaca sylvanus
in the Middle Atlas of Morocco, N. Ménard, Y. Rantier,
A. Foulquier, M. Qarro, L. Chillasse, D. Vallet et al.
XXX Ecological trap in the buffer zone of a protected area:
effects of indirect anthropogenic mortality on the
African wild dog Lycaon pictus, E. van der Meer,
H. Fritz, P. Blinston & G.S.A. Rasmussen
XXX Assessing reintroduction success in long-lived primates
through population viability analysis: western lowland
gorillas Gorilla gorilla gorilla in Central Africa, T. King,
C. Chamberlan & A. Courage
XXX Factors influencing the illegal harvest of wildlife by
trapping and snaring among the Katu ethnic group in
Vietnam, D.C. MacMillan & Q.A. Nguyen
Cover Griffon vulture covered in blood from feeding, Spain.
A new type of conflict with wildlife is emerging in south-west
Europe: the presumed killing of livestock by griffon vultures.
Lack of scientific data and magnification of the problem by
the media are increasing alarm amongst the public but political
pressures to implement management decisions have not been
based on scientific evidence. Compilation of complaints about
attacks by griffon vultures on livestock shows that 69% of the
complaints were rejected because of a lack of evidence about
whether the animal was alive before being eaten. Nevertheless,
illegal practices such as intentional poisoning of griffon
vultures have been detected, affecting dozens of individuals.
Mitigation of this emerging human–wildlife conflict needs
to include the participation of livestock farmers, relevant
authorities, scientists and conservation groups. For further
details, see pp. XXX–XXX. (Photograph © Wild Wonders
of Europe / Widstrand / NaturePL.com).
www.oryxthejournal.org
Supported by
40?
3DSHUIURP
UHVSRQVLEOHVRXUFHV
-:*
*
Vultures vs livestock
An emerging human–
wildlife conflict?
Mabu forest
Discovery, biodiversity
and conservation
Old wine, new bottles?
History and the assisted
colonization debate
Perceptions matter
Sustainability in Indian fisheries
Anthropogenic mortality
Ecological trap for African wild dogs
Translocation of the short-tailed albatross
Early indicators of success
Vultures vs livestock: conservation relationships in
an emerging conflict between humans and wildlife
ANTONI MARGALIDA,DAVID CAMPIÓN and J OSÉ A. DONÁZAR
Abstract Humanwildlife conict is emerging as an
important topic in conservation. Carnivores and birds of
prey are responsible for most conicts with livestock and
game but since the mid 1990s a new conict is emerging
in south-west Europe: the presumed killing of livestock
by grion vultures Gyps fulvus. Lack of scientic data and
magnication of the problem by the media are increasing
alarm amongst the public, and political pressures to
implement management decisions have not been based on
scientic evidence. We compiled information on 1,793
complaints about attacks by grion vultures on livestock,
lodged with Spanish authorities from 1996 to 2010. Spain
is home to the majority (95%) of grion vultures and
other scavengers in the European Union. Most of the cases
occurred in areas of high livestock density, aected
principally sheep (49%) and cows (31%), and were associated
with spring birthing times (AprilJune). On average 69%of
the complaints made annually were rejected because of a
lack of evidence about whether the animal was alive before
being eaten. The total economic cost of compensation was
EUR 278,590 from 2004 to 2010. We discuss possible ways to
mitigate this emerging humanwildlife conict. These need
to include the participation of livestock farmers, authorities,
scientists and conservation groups.
Keywords Behavioural changes, ecosystem services, preda-
tion, vulture, wildlife damage management
Introduction
Humanwildlife conicts probably have an ancient
origin, perhaps starting in the Neolithic period,
and coincide with the sedentarization of human popu-
lations, the domestication of some animal species and the
beginning of intensive exploitation of the environment
(Anderson, 1997). However, in modern times, with the
increase in the human population, the occupation of
wilderness and the subsequent need to monetize natural
resources, the confrontations between wildlife and people
are becoming more common and of increasing concern to
ecologists and managers (Treves et al., 2009; Gehring et al.,
2010). This conict mostly reects a common scenario
of unstable coexistence in which large herbivores and
predators (mainly carnivores and birds of prey) damage
crops, sheries, livestock and properties and jeopardize
human safety (Peterson et al., 2010). This conict frequently
results in persecution of conservation target species,
even within protected areas (Graham et al., 2005; Peterson
et al., 2010).
Other groups of species, however, have traditionally
been respected, not only because they do not represent a
conict with human interests but also because they provide
useful services (although some people ignore the value they
provide). Vultures and other large-bodied scavengers have,
for millennia, yielded an ecosystem service by eliminating
carcasses that would otherwise be carriers of disease
(Sekercioglu et al., 2004). However, because of profound
changes in European agro-grazing systems in the last
century, vulture populations have fallen into crisis, declining
severely in several European countries (Donázar et al.,
1996). Consequently, avian scavengers, and especially
grion vultures (Gyps spp.), are now targets for conser-
vation action. In southern Europe a panoply of management
measures over the last 30 years has facilitated a spectacular
recovery (.200%in20 years) of the Eurasian grion vulture
Gyps fulvus population in the Iberian Peninsula and other
regions of western Europe (Donázar et al., 2009b). As a
result, the Iberian Peninsula is home to the majority (95%)
of grion vultures and other scavengers in the European
Union (Margalida et al., 2010).
This successful conservation strategy is now at risk
because of an emerging wildlifehuman conict that
emerged in the 1990s: attacks by grion vultures on
livestock. This conict has intensied in the last decade,
causing major unrest among farmers but receiving scarce
attention from the scientic community (Margalida et al.,
2011a). In the face of the public outcry because of attacks
on livestock attributed to vultures, there is a need for an
objective assessment of this problem and any implications it
has for the management and conservation of scavenger
populations. Our purpose here is to explore this emerging
issue, examining the human, economic and conservation
dimensions of this unusual conict.
ANTONI MARGALIDA*(Corresponding author) Division of Conservation Biology,
Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse, 6, 3012
Bern, Switzerland. E-mail antoni.margalida@iee.unibe.ch
DAVID CAMPIÓN Gestión Ambiental de Navarra S.A., Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
JOSÉ A. DONÁZAR Department of Conservation Biology, Estación Biológica de
Doñana, CSIC, Sevilla, Spain
*Present address: Department of Animal Production (Division of Wildlife),
Faculty of Life Sciences and Engineering, University of Lleida, Av. Alcalde
Rovira Roure, 191, 25198 Lleida, Spain
Received 21 February 2012. Revision requested 12 May 2012.
Accepted 6June 2012. First published online 28 January 2014.
©2014 Fauna & Flora International,
Oryx
, 48(2), 172–176 doi:10.1017/S0030605312000889
Quantifying the impact of vulture attacks on
livestock
Although aggressive interactions between vultures and
livestock have been documented throughout Spain and
southern France, for an initial diagnosis of the phenomenon
we selected an area of 78,000 km
2
in north-east Spain.
During our study period (19962010) most of the reported
attacks on livestock attributed to grion vultures in Spain
were concentrated in this zone (Fig. 1). The local grion
vulture population has experienced continuous growth and
in 2008 was estimated at 7,433 pairs, constituting 27.3%of
the vulture population in the European Union (Fig. 2;
Margalida et al., 2010). This area is characterized by the
presence of abundant livestock (an estimated 709,294 cows,
3,236,333 sheep, 109,118 goats and 24,772 horses;
MAGRAMA, 2012). Most of this livestock is reared
extensively and their numbers increase in the mountains
during JuneSeptember because of transhumance.
Throughout the study area there were supplementary
feeding stations for avian scavengers, supplied mainly by
intensive farming (Donázar et al., 2009b). Traditionally,
livestock carcasses were left in the eld to be consumed by
vultures but after the outbreak of bovine spongiform
FIG. 1 Study area
(encompassed by white line)
and circum-Mediterranean
distribution (shaded black) of
the Eurasian grion vulture
Gyps fulvus population.
1
2–10
11–30
31–90
>90
FIG. 2 Distribution of grion
vulture colonies in Spain in
2008. Circle size denotes
colony size (number of
breeding pairs). The study area
is shaded grey (modied from
Del Moral, 2009).
Vultures vs livestock 173
©2014 Fauna & Flora International,
Oryx
, 48(2), 172–176
encephalopathy (BSE) in 2001 there was a shortage
of domestic carcasses generally and at feeding stations
in Spain (Donázar et al., 2009a; Margalida et al., 2012).
This shortage was pronounced from 2006 onwards
following increasingly eective application of European
sanitary regulations, and it is estimated that the number
of carcasses available to vultures decreased by 80%inthe
study area (Cortés-Avizanda et al., 2010; Margalida et al.,
2014).
We compiled data from all complaints made to the
regional authorities responsible for the management of
livestock and wildlife during 19962010. Cases of apparent
predation of livestock by vultures were generally reported
to the authorities by forest rangers, and because of the
existence of monetary compensations we are condent
that virtually all of the potential livestock losses related to
grion vultures were communicated. Following a complaint
lodged by a farmer, authorities sent administrative sta
(technical experts and/or forest rangers and veterinarians),
if necessary, to evaluate the damage. A complaint was
accepted and the farmer compensated if clear evidence was
found (i.e. wounds, bruises) demonstrating that the animal
was still alive when the vultures began to eat.
Between 1996 and 2010 there were 1,793 reported cases of
vulture attacks on livestock in the study region. The number
of successful compensation claims for vulture attacks
increased with time (r
s
50.55,P,0.025,n515;Fig. 3).
Most cases occurred after 2006 when supplementary feeding
stations were closed. On average 69% of the complaints
presented each year were rejected (range 57.673.8%).
Most of the cases (60%) were reported between April
and June and in 36% of cases the attack appeared to be
associated with birthing, generally aecting young and
occasionally the mother. The majority of complaints
involved sheep (49%), followed by cows (31%) and horses
(11%). The economic cost of the compensations assessed
during 20042010 was EUR 278,590 (Fig. 3).
A conflict with multiple causes?
The opportunistic killing of small- and medium-sized
vertebrates has been reported as relatively frequent for
some New World vulture species (Lowney, 1999; Avery &
Cummings, 2004) but has only been reported occasionally
for Old World vultures (Houston, 1994). Grion vultures,
however, are obligate scavengers specialized in the con-
sumption of large ungulate carcasses (Houston, 1974).
Although before 1990 only anecdotal cases of livestock
predation by Eurasian grion vultures had been reported
(Camiña et al., 1995), from the middle of 2000 onwards the
number of cases increased across many regions of Spain. A
similar scenario developed in the French Pyrenees: between
1993 and 2009 a total of 596 complaints were documented,
with 58.2% of them during 20072009 (C. Arthur &
V. Zenoni, unpubl. data).
The availability of food resources may have played a
signicant role in this apparent behavioural change. In
western Europe the appearance of BSE caused food
shortages for scavengers as a result of changes in agricultural
policies (Donázar et al., 2009a; Margalida et al., 2010). To
control the disease the EU promulgated strict regulations
regarding the use of animal by-products (Regulation [CE]
No. 1774/2002). Although in 2009 and 2010 new regulations
in some cases permitted the disposal of carcasses to feed
avian scavengers (Margalida et al., 2010,2012), the global
result of the regulations is a strong decrease in food
availability that has aected demographic parameters and
population growth rates (Margalida & Colomer, 2012;
Margalida et al., 2014) and has caused dietary and
behavioural shifts, with vultures now tolerating human
presence to within a few metres (Donázar et al., 2009b;
Zuberogoitia et al., 2010). Complaints peaked between 2006
and 2010, coinciding with the period of food shortage,
supporting the idea that attacks by grion vultures can be at
least partially explained by changes in food availability.
More frequent predation by grion vultures could also be
inuenced by changes in husbandry practices. Traditionally
in many European countries extensive-grazing livestock
were tended by shepherds and dogs, deterring predators
(Kaczensky, 1999). However, current practice in many
mountain areas of south-western Europe, where large
carnivores are absent, is to let livestock range freely or
remain unattended in large fenced enclosures, even at the
time of lambing. These circumstances increase the chance of
predation by small- and medium-sized predators such as
canids and other carnivores, common ravens Corvus corax
and even wild boars Sus scrofa (authors, unpubl. data).
These animals frequently consume available remains,
mainly placentas, but may come in contact with and attack
weakened animals, both ospring and mothers, something
that would not have been possible with the presence of
guard dogs and shepherds. Grion vultures may consume
FIG. 3 Changes in the number of complaints about attacks by
grion vultures on livestock received in the study area in north
east Spain (Fig. 2) during 19962010. Data on the proportion of
complaints accepted (white bars) were not available before 2004.
The cost of compensation (1,000s EUR) is shown above the bars.
174 A. Margalida et al.
©2014 Fauna & Flora International,
Oryx
, 48(2), 172–176
the kills of other species and the remains of animals that
died at birth, and farmers may consider this opportunistic
behaviour as an attack.
In addition to farming practices, increasing grion
vulture populations may have an important role in the
observed increase in predation cases; i.e. the probability of
interactions may have increased simply as a result of this
demographic trend. It is now possible to see vultures
breeding and feeding near human habitations and infra-
structure (Donázar et al., 2009b). Carcasses are consumed
very quickly, often before the farmer has the opportunity to
determine the cause of death of the animal, so vultures are
sometimes mistakenly characterized as fearless predators
responsible for the deaths.
Analysis of the spatial distribution of reported cases
of vultures attacking livestock shows that complaints are
clustered. This suggests either that phenomena increasing
the risk of interactions may be operating at a local scale or
that there are clusters of reporting behaviour by farmers.
Alternatively, the repeated cases of predation by vultures
in well-dened areas could be explained by the existence
of specialized problem individuals (Linnell et al., 1999).
Not necessarily independent of this, it is possible that
these observations may be partially explained by spatial
variability in husbandry practices, which could increase the
risk of killing events. In addition, the spatial and temporal
clustering of the conict may be inuenced by human-
related factors such as imitation (or patterns of unconscious
behaviour) between livestock owners looking for easy
compensation.
Discussion
Considering conicts between humans and wild animals
in general, killing of livestock by grion vultures is a
relatively minor problem. Domestic species, mostly dogs,
cause greater damage to livestock than vultures. However,
supposedly undesirable vultures are being dealt with
using illegal practices such as poisoned bait. Traditionally,
these practices were used for carnivores blamed for
damage to livestock and game; consequently, most cases
of poisoning of scavenger birds were incidental (Hernández
& Margalida, 2008,2009). However, grion vultures have
now become a target and several cases of intentional
poisoning have been detected in the study area, aecting
dozens of individuals (Margalida et al., 2011a; Margalida,
2012). This new dimension to the problem is of concern as
long-lived species such as avian scavengers are extremely
sensitive to unnatural increases in mortality rates, which
can quickly lead to the extinction of populations (Oro
et al., 2008).
There is a strong current of opinion among managers,
governments and some ecologists, attributing the apparent
change in the conduct of vultures to lack of food.
Although empirical data are scarce (Margalida &
Colomer, 2012), farmers are demanding an increase in
the number and size of supplementary feeding sites for
vultures to alleviate a perceived scarcity of vulture food
(Margalida et al., 2011a,b). The negative perception of the
relationship between humans and vultures is an example
of how a minor conict, with few economic repercussions,
can change a quasi-mutualistic relationship that has
existed for thousands of years (Margalida et al., 2010).
Unfortunately, the media nd this conict attractive and
the absence of scientic information has facilitated
magnication of the perception of the risks of vulture
attacks. In the short term, the media must endeavour to
use their inuence to base public opinion on scientic
facts. In the medium and long term, solutions to this
emerging conict need to be agreed by all stakeholders
involved, based on accurate information. Livestock
farmers, authorities, scientists and conservation groups
should then participate in the design and implementation of
future strategies for the management of vulture populations,
husbandry practices and the availability of carcasses. Recent
changes in sanitary policies allowing the presence of
livestock carcasses in the eld could partially alleviate the
human perception of this conict (Margalida et al., 2012). In
addition, in many countries of Europe and North America
the conict between livestock and predators has been
minimized by the use of livestock protection dogs (see
review in Gehring et al., 2010), which serve as an eective
tool to reduce the number of attacks (Espuno et al., 2004;
Shivik, 2006).
This type of emerging conict could also occur
between humans and other species that, as a result of
conservation strategies, recover rapidly. This could occur
in Europe in particular as many populations of large
vertebrates are recovering successfully (Deinet et al., 2013)
and the gap between wildlife and humans is progressively
increasing.
Acknowledgements
We are grateful to D. García, G. Lampreave, J. Ruiz-Olmo
(Generalitat de Catalunya), M. Alcántara (Diputación
General de Aragón), J. Carreras (Diputación Foral de
Álava), J. Larumbe (Diputación Foral de Navarra),
I. Mendiola, M. Olano (Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa)
and M. Razin (LPO, France) for providing data, and
J.C. del Moral and M. de la Riva for providing Fig. 2. The
comments of two anonymous reviewers improved the
article. L. Bortolotti kindly revised the English. AM was
supported by a Ramón y Cajal research contract from the
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (RYC-2012-
11867).
Vultures vs livestock 175
©2014 Fauna & Flora International,
Oryx
, 48(2), 172–176
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Biographical sketches
ANTONI MARGALIDA is interested in the behavioural ecology and
conservation biology of threatened species, particularly avian scaven-
gers. DAVID CAMPIÓNSinterests are in management and conser-
vation of threatened species. JOSÉ A. DONÁZARSresearch in
conservation biology focuses on long-lived vertebrates.
176 A. Margalida et al.
©2014 Fauna & Flora International,
Oryx
, 48(2), 172–176
... We performed a bibliographic search in Google Scholar and Scopus to find scientific information about negative human-wildlife interactions in South America up to April 1 st , 2021 (without restriction of year). We focused on terrestrial mammalian predators and bird raptors (hunters and obligate scavenging birds) as species of interest, since they are strongly affected by this conservation problem on a global scale (e.g., Inskip and Zimmermann 2009;Margalida et al. 2014). We also included feral and free-ranging dogs and feral cats in our searches because they are conflictive species that generate major negative interactions with humans through livestock and poultry damage, and because they also affect native wildlife (Lepczyk and Duffy 2017;Zamora-Nasca et al. 2021). ...
... Similarly, the harpy eagle is persecuted in parts of its distribution, in some cases because it is perceived as a threat to livestock (Trinca et al. 2008;Giraldo-Amaya et al. 2021). In several parts of the world, including South America, people blame obligate scavenger birds for economic losses associated with attacks on livestock (specially on newborns) and consequently persecute them (Avery and Cummings 2004;Margalida et al. 2014). However, the available evidence suggests that predation events associated with scavenger birds are rare and likely to take a long time to be carried out because these birds are well adapted to eating carrion, but not to killing (Toledo et al. 2013;Ballejo et al. 2020a;Lambertucci et al. 2021a). ...
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Human-wildlife interactions can be negative when the needs and behavior of wildlife negatively influence human goals, or vice-versa, and management of these interactions may lead to conflict. Here, we review information on negative interactions between humans and wildlife in South America contained in 136 scientific publications, focusing on terrestrial mammalian predators and raptors. We found that most studies were conducted in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. The methodology most commonly used to investigate negative interactions was interviews with rural inhabitants. Studies were performed mainly on interactions involving large felids such as Panthera onca and Puma concolor, and-to a lesser extent-on other mammalian predators and raptors such as eagles or scavenger birds. The main drivers of negative interactions involved perceived or actual impacts on human economy (material) (e.g., livestock or crop losses) or were based on non-material (intangible) aspects (e.g., fear, myths, and religious beliefs). The studies showed that negative attitudes and perceptions toward terrestrial mammalian predators and raptors are widespread in South America. Although non-lethal strategies for mitigation of negative interactions have been proposed, most are not widely used and lethal controls are still very common. A multidisciplinary approach is required, based on multiple actions (e.g., improving livestock practices, running educational programs, increasing stakeholder involvement, providing farmers with solutions), which would minimize negative interactions and promote coexistence between humans and wildlife. This is key to maintaining threatened species, ecological interactions and healthy environments in the anthropized landscapes of biodiverse South America. Desentrañando las interacciones negativas entre humanos, mamíferos carnívoros y rapaces en América del Sur. Las interacciones entre el ser humano y la fauna silvestre pueden ser negativas cuando las necesidades y el comportamiento de la fauna silvestre influyen negativamente en las metas de las personas, o viceversa, y manejar estas interacciones puede generar conflictos. En este artículo revisamos la información científica sobre este tipo de interacciones en 136 publicaciones realizadas en Sudamérica. Nos centramos en los mamíferos depredadores terrestres y en las aves rapaces. Encontramos que la mayoría de los estudios se realizaron en Brasil, Argentina, Chile y Colombia. La metodología más utilizada fueron las entrevistas a habitantes de zonas rurales. Los estudios se realizaron principalmente sobre interacciones con grandes félidos como Panthera onca y Puma concolor, yen menor medida-sobre otros mamíferos depredadores y aves rapaces como las águilas o las aves carroñeras. Los impulsores principales de estas interacciones fueron los impactos-percibidos o reales-sobre la economía (materiales) (e.g., pérdidas de ganado o cultivos) o aspectos no materiales (intangibles) (e.g., miedo, mitos y creencias religiosas). Los estudios mostraron que las actitudes y percepciones negativas hacia los mamíferos depredadores y las aves rapaces están muy extendidas en Sudamérica. Aunque se propusieron estrategias no letales para mitigar las interacciones negativas, la mayoría no se utiliza ampliamente y los controles letales siguen siendo muy comunes. Se requiere un enfoque multidisciplinario, basado en diversas acciones (e.g., mejorar las prácticas ganaderas, realizar programas educativos, aumentar la participación de las partes interesadas, proporcionar soluciones a los agricultores) que minimicen las interacciones negativas y promuevan la coexistencia entre los seres humanos y la fauna silvestre. Esto es clave para conservar las especies amenazadas, fomentar las interacciones ecológicas y mantener entornos saludables en los paisajes antropizados de la biodiversa Sudamérica.
... 2020). Similarly, griffon vultures are blamed for livestock predation, with similar results (Margalida et al., 2014). The importance of these species for the ecosystem and even human well-being must be emphasized, to mitigate the negative attitudes of humans toward them . ...
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Dead animals release greenhouse gases to the atmosphere through natural decomposition or because they have to be processed by disposal methods such as composting or rendering. Obligate scavenging birds (vultures) consume dead animals and are among the most efficient terrestrial scavengers. They may therefore contribute to a considerable reduction in sources of greenhouse gases. Here, we quantify the global contribution of vultures in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by consuming organic material. First, we evaluated a scenario where all the dead animals that can be consumed by vultures every year have to be disposed of by composting, anaerobic decomposition (e.g., burial), anaerobic digestion or rendering. Second, we assessed a scenario in which dead animals are left to decompose in the environment. Current vulture populations (~134-140 million individuals) may reduce emissions of 3.03-60.70 Tg CO 2 eq. per year, depending on the disposal method implemented, without considering carcass transport to disposal plants. Alternatively, they may reduce emissions of 13.02 Tg CO 2 per year if dead animals remain in the environment. Over recent years a decline in vulture populations worldwide has led to a decrease of a 30 % in their capacity to mitigate greenhouse gases emissions. A few abundant vulture species reduce almost 98 % of the maximum emissions potentially removed worldwide by all extant vulture species over one year. This ecosystem service contributed by vultures to humans and nature cannot easily be replaced by other species, including humans. Moreover, supplanting this contribution with alternative carcass disposal methods is expensive and harmful to the environment due to emissions generated in the process. Our results highlight an important service that vultures provide worldwide, which is relevant in the current context of global warming.
... In a territory where predators like bear and more sparsely wolf coexist, it was remarkable that the most signalled species for attacks on the herd were avian scavengers such as vultures. In the absence of precise data on livestock predation and taking into account that the majority of investigated evidences are caused by domestic dogs, this negative perception on vultures could be explained by the lack of carrion availability in the field, changes in husbandry practices, the increase of vulture's population and the social magnification of the problem (Margalida et al., 2021). Nonetheless, this incipient conflict could trigger the use of illegal poison leading to unwanted effects for target conservation species. ...
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Traditional small-scale livestock farming activity in the Spanish Eastern Pyrenees is nowadays influenced by market globalization trends as well as regional factors such as nature protection regulations and tourism. This study addressed pastoralists´ perspectives, opinions, and perceptions regarding the challenges that threaten their sustainability. We carried out a face-to-face survey with 103 pastoralists in Pallars (Catalonia) during 2018. The stagnation in sales’ prices of products was considered the biggest challenge and one of the underlying causes of the farms’ low financial profitability. Pastoralists also pointed out the highly burdening bureaucracy, the lack of generational turnover, and the difficult coexistence with wildlife as important problems undermining the livestock sector in the region. Although most participants positively considered their increasingly valued role in the conservation of biodiversity, their perception of protected natural areas was mostly negative. Respondents reported a total of 613 conflicts with wildlife during the previous year. Wild boars were the species most frequently mentioned for damaging meadows, crops, and infrastructures, causing road accidents, and disease transmission. Vultures were held responsible for attacks on flocks while deer species were signalled for fodder competence. These results confirm the multiple adverse menace factors of pastoralism and highlight the urgent need to establish favourable policies that involve local actors in decision-making processes to overcome these obstacles.
... Building and maintenance of feeding sites can positively affect vulture populations at the early stages of their development (Demerdzhiev et al. 2014). Such sites can be used as a management tool to supply safe food for vultures, to avoid poisonings by accommodation of species specific feeding techniques (Moreno-Opo et al. 2010, Margalida et al. 2014 and to apply concrete anti-poisoning actions. Sites of high abundance of livestock can host griffon vultures during their sojourn out of the breeding territories and are therefore important for species temporal persistence (Tsiakiris 2019). ...
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The narrow ecological niche and the vulnerability of the griffon vulture in terms of its habitat and trophic requirements make it a good model species for assessing the state of agro-pastoral systems. The environmental niche of the species was studied in Bulgaria using a set of 109 cases of griffon vulture presence observations in breeding habitat and a maximum-entropy (MaxEnt) modeling approach. MaxEnt can generate a model based on relatively low number of presence locations and is therefore a powerful tool for modeling species distribution. We employed a set of bioclimatic and environmental variables to determine species' optimal distribution. According to our results, griffon vulture's optimal habitats included areas with a slope over 40 0 , which are advantageous for the breeding of the species as they often outline rocky habitats. The griffon vulture environmental niche model underlined the significance of the open landscapes that are essential for the species' foraging, as well as territories with higher mean temperature, low precipitation and high density of livestock. The suitability threshold of the model equal to 0.0738 and we estimated that 0.69% (769 km 2) of Bulgaria is optimal for the breeding of the species and that 2.8% (3085 km 2) is of high suitability for the griffon vulture. The results of the current survey aim to provide an important background for the management and conservation of the griffon vulture in Bulgaria. Such estimates are essential whenever investment plans, conservation programs or other management interventions are considered in the territories neighbouring or/and within the range of the griffon vulture.
... Human-wildlife conflicts that involve birds (hereafter human-bird conflicts [HBCs]) may have significant impacts on a broad range of human interests in terrestrial and aquatic (marine and inland) socioecosystems. These impacts include damage to a broad range of crops (Goss-Custard et al., 2004;Lindell et al., 2016;Velden et al., 2016), attacks on livestock (Hernández & Margalida, 2009;Margalida et al., 2014;Thirgood & Redpath, 2008), damage to commercial fisheries (Kloskowski, 2010), spread of diseases and parasites (Muehlenbein, 2016;Reed et al., 2003;Tizzani et al., 2016), collisions with vehicles and other infrastructure posing a risk to human safety (Eichhorn et al., 2017;Klain et al., 2018;Martin, 2011), and nuisances (e.g., noise) in urban areas (Avery & Cummings, 2004;Romero et al., 2015). ...
Article
Because of the significant impacts on both human interests and bird conservation, it is imperative to identify patterns and anticipate drivers of human‐bird conflicts (HBCs) worldwide. Through a global systematic review, following the PRISMA 2020 guidelines, we analyzed the socioeconomic factors and bird ecological traits driving the degree of knowledge and extent of HBCs. We included 166 articles published from 1971 to 2020 in our analyses through which we built a profile of the socioeconomic conditions of 52 countries with reported conflicts and the ecological traits of the 161 bird species involved in HBCs. Although HBC expanded worldwide, it had the greatest impact in less‐developed countries (estimate 0. 66 [SE 0.13], p< 0.05), where agriculture is critical for rural livelihoods. Species with a relatively greater conflict extent had a relatively broader diet (estimate 0.80 [SE 0.22], p<0.05) and an increasing population trend (estimate 0.58 [SE 0.15], p<0.05) and affected human interests, such as agriculture and livestock raising. In countries with greater biodiversity, HBCs caused greater socioeconomic impacts than in more developed countries. Our results highlight the importance of understanding and addressing HBCs from multiple perspectives (ecological, sociocultural, political) to effectively protect both biodiversity and local livelihoods. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... Interdependent because human-mediated carcasses such as those of livestock, subsidize many scavenger species (e.g. at least 2-11 % of the vertebrates present in an ecosystem; , but also because, on the other hand, humans have taken advantage of scavengers' rapid consumption of livestock carcasses (e.g. Şekercioğlu et al., 2004;Whelan et al., 2008;Margalida et al., 2014;Moleón et al., 2014;Morales-Reyes et al., 2018;O'Bryan et al., 2018). However, there is a general tendency of these extensive livestock breeding practices being threatened by either intensification or abandonment (Steinfeld et al., 2006), which could negatively impact those species that are considered livestock-dependent, especially obligate scavengers (i.e. ...
... However, occasionally, a vulture has been described to kill young and weak individuals without affecting livestock productions [35]. These presumed killing of live and healthy livestock by griffon vultures Gyps fulvus, that have no offensive weapons, lacks scientific evidence but has been magnified by the media through the spread of fake news, creating alarm that must be stemmed through careful information campaigns [36,37]. The species of Gyps show similar morphological features and can hybridise each other in natural conditions when range overlaps. ...
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Human activities are having increasingly devastating effects on the health of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Studying the adaptive responses of animal species to changes in their habitat can be useful in mitigating this impact. Vultures represent one of the most virtuous examples of adaptation to human-induced environmental changes. Once dependent on wild ungulate populations, these birds have adapted to the epochal change resulting from the birth of agriculture and livestock domestication, maintaining their essential role as ecological scavengers. In this review, we retrace the main splitting events characterising the vultures’ evolution, with particular emphasis on the Eurasian griffon Gyps fulvus. We summarise the main ecological and behavioural traits of this species, highlighting its vulnerability to elements introduced into the habitat by humans. We collected the genetic information available to date, underlining their importance for improving the management of this species, as an essential tool to support restocking practices and to protect the genetic integrity of G. fulvus. Finally, we examine the difficulties in implementing a coordination system that allows genetic information to be effectively transferred into management programs. Until a linking network is established between scientific research and management practices, the risk of losing important wildlife resources remains high.
Thesis
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Human activities transformed virtually all landscapes worldwide to fulfil their basic needs (e.g., resource extraction, agriculture or leisure activities). By doing so, they also affect species inhabiting these human-dominated landscapes. Due to their historical link to human activities, apex predators, especially vultures, are especially vulnerable to human-induced behavioural alterations and have undergone population declines worldwide. Therefore, finding a solution that reconciles vulture conservation and human activities in such landscapes is necessary. By using a set of behavioural indicators (e.g., breeding, occupancy/detectability and space use) from long-term monitoring and movement ecology, this thesis aims to build links between behaviour and conservation of Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus in human-dominated landscapes. The current dissertation shows that the species invests similar effort in parental care and that incubation and hatching are important tipping points during the breeding season (Chapter 1). This information could be, in turn, used to design cost-effective monitoring while accounting for imperfect detection and breeding phenology and other environmental variables that could help to adapt monitoring programs to different available budgets (Chapter 2). Similarly, the knowledge of breeding behaviour of the species could be used to infer the impact of habitat alterations on species nest occupancy and reproduction patterns and to improve conservation programs (Chapter 3), and test whether management programs and collaboration networks resulted effective in reducing the synergistic effect of various human disturbances (Chapter 4). Finally, it poses an advance in the understanding of how certain human activities that provide continuous and predictable food pulses, such as farming, could alter species space use and favour residency in partial migratory species (Chapter 5), and that human-driven changes in migratory behaviour could even have consequences on fitness and energy use of different migratory phenotypes (Chapter 6). Overall, this work demonstrates the utility of increasing vulture behaviour knowledge to ascertain the effects of human activities on the species and find coherent conservation solutions that favour its persistence and promote vulture-human coexistence in anthropogenic landscapes.
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Vultures are of immense ecological significance to forest and urban ecosystems. These birds play a major role in curbing environmental contamination through scavenging on carcasses. Prevention of spread of diseases is pivotal for public health and is an inexorable economic burden for any country. We present the crucial role vultures can play in disease mitigation and public health by regulating or decreasing the spread of zoonotic diseases. We elaborate examples from three zoonotic diseases; rabies, brucellosis and tuberculosis, which spread among dogs and cattle as well as human population. We establish the viable links in the transmission of these diseases from the infected dead and alive animals to humans and their possible exacerbation in the absence of vultures. These indirect links help formulate the case for increased interventions for disease spread and control along with conservation of these scavengers. Their role as natural and effective cleaners of the environment in the Indian health discourse is of importance because they can reduce the expenses of the government in waste management and maintenance of public health.
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Shark depredation, the full or partial removal of a hooked fish by a shark before it is landed, is anecdotally increasing in the United States. Perceptions of depredation by anglers and fishing guides may influence their behavior and have cascading effects on sharks and recreational fisheries. However, to date, these perceptions have not been broadly quantified. To better understand how anglers and guides respond to shark depredation in recreational fisheries, we used an online survey open to saltwater anglers in North America, distributed electronically via social media and online platforms. Of the 541 respondents, 77% had experienced depredation in nearshore and pelagic fisheries in the last five years, with depredation more commonly reported in the southeastern United States. Emotional responses to depredation were significantly different between anglers and guides, with the latter feeling more intense negative emotions. Behavioral changes in response to depredation, such as targeting and harvesting sharks, were driven largely by negative emotional responses and perceptions of sharks as threats to target species, while changes to protect target species varied with positive emotional responses and angler demographics. Guides were predominantly concerned about increased mortality to their target species and loss of trophy fish from the population. In fact, 87% of guides experienced depredation when fishing with clients and overwhelmingly reported that depredation has a negative effect on their livelihood. Overall, these results can be used to help inform strategies to reduce depredation while accounting for the values of stakeholder groups, particularly anglers and those advocating for shark conservation.
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One of the most important factors negatively influencing public attitudes toward brown bears (Ursus arctos) and other large carnivores is depredation on livestock. This is especially true in Norway, where a small population of 25-55 bears kills about 2,000 sheep annually. In other European countries the re-establishment of large carnivores is planned or underway, and similar problems may arise. As a basis for future large carnivore management in Europe, I compared depredation among 13 European countries having small, medium, or large bear, lynx (Lynx lynx), and wolf (Canis lupus) populations. I calculated annual per capita losses of livestock (ACLL) as the average annual loss of livestock divided by the estimated predator population in the area of concern. In Norway, the rates of livestock losses from bears, lynx and wolves were among the highest observed in Europe. Assuming predator population estimates are correct, each bear killed an average of 82 sheep annually, each wolf 41, and each lynx 9. Generally, in Europe, lynx were the least important predator on livestock. In all but one area (Cantabrian Mountains, Spain), sheep and goats were the livestock most often taken by all 3 of the large carnivores. Depredation levels were not related to the size of the bear population nor to the number of sheep available, but to differences in local husbandry traditions. Most attacks seemed to occur at night, and sheep were the most exposed on forested range. The high predation level in Norway can be explained by the large number of untended sheep that stay day and night on forested range. There is no example in Europe of extensive sheep farming with low losses and viable populations of bears and wolves on the same range.
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Black Vulture: The available evidence suggests that black vultures act as typical predators by seeking and disabling vulnerable animals prior to overwhelming and killing them (Gluesing et al., 1980). These birds take the path of least resistance and eat carrion when it is available. Black vultures are opportunists, however, and when the chance arises, they will attack and eat defenseless live animals. Defenseless does not necessarily mean sick or injured. Healthy newborn livestock are defenseless, especially if the mother is exhausted or otherwise not able to care for and protect the offspring. In assessing the role of black vultures as livestock predators, it is difficult to obtain objective, unbiased information because direct observations of black vulture attacks on livestock are uncommon. Usually, the investigator arrives at the feeding site after the prey animal is dead and the chain of events leading to the demise of the animal is speculative. The fact that black vultures are feeding on a carcass is not evidence that the birds killed the animal. Some animals are stillborn and others die for reasons unrelated to black vultures. Female livestock, especially young and inexperienced ones, sometimes suffer mortal injuries while giving birth. If vultures attack and kill such mortally injured animals, they are eliminating individuals that are already doomed. As the black vulture population increases and its range continues to expand, depredations to livestock are likely to increase. To resolve these conflicts, research is needed to understand more fully the population dynamics of this species and to determine factors that contribute to the birds’ preying on livestock. In particular, it will be important to know why some livestock operations incur vulture damage while other ranches are not affected. Research is currently underway specifically to address these data gaps. Golden Eagle: Golden eagle populations are increasing in western states with sheep production. It is unknown whether increased eagle numbers translates into increases in livestock depredations. It is important for livestock producers to understand that management techniques for golden eagles are limited. The combination of human-like scarecrows, harassment and increased human activity is the most feasible means of protecting lambing bands from golden eagles. As potential new avian management techniques evolve, an effort should be made to evaluate their effectiveness to reduce livestock depredation from golden eagles.
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Recolonization by wolves (Canis lupus) of areas of extensive sheep breeding in the French Alps in the early 1990s led to intense conflicts over losses of domestic livestock. We used data on depredations and sheep herd management from 45 pastures of the Mercantour Mountains of the French Alps to build models of attack and kill rates and to quantify the efficiency of using livestock-guarding dogs and of gathering or confining herds at night to prevent damage. Efficiency of livestock-guarding dogs was lowest when sheep were ranging freely and highest when sheep were confined at night. The effect of livestockguarding dogs on depredations was heterogeneous across pastures. When sheep were confined at night, presence of 3 to 4 dogs was predicted to prevent a large majority (>95%) of kills that would have occurred in the absence of dogs for 81% of pastures. No effect of dogs was found for the other 19% of pastures. Confining or simply gathering sheep at night in the presence of 5 livestock-guarding dogs was predicted to prevent most kills (94% and 79%, respectively) that would have occurred in similar conditions but with free-ranging sheep. Efficiency of each of these 2 techniques was drastically reduced when they were not used jointly. This study suggested that confining sheep in the presence of several livestock-guarding dogs can prevent a large majority of livestock losses to wolves in the southern French Alps.
Article
Damage by black (Coragyps atratus) and turkey (Catharates aura) vultures increased annually since 1990, when 2 complaints were reported, and peaked at 207 complaints in 1995. Black vultures are associated with depredations of livestock and pets and damage to real and personal property. Congregations of mixed flocks of black and turkey vultures are associated with health concerns, property damage, and nuisance complaints. Turkey vultures are infrequently identified as a problem compared to black vultures and mixed flocks. Vulture damage was reported in 55 counties and 2 cities in Virginia from October 1994 to 1996. Black vultures were reported to kill cattle or calves in 32 counties, with 76% of statewide livestock predation reported from Southwestern Ridge and Valley and Southern Piedmont physiographic regions. Eleven counties reported black vultures killing other livestock, including farm-raised deer. Twelve counties reported black vultures killing, injuring, and harassing pets. While there is a range of nonlethal techniques to alleviate black vulture predation on livestock - including harassment with pyrotechnics or center-fire rifles, removing carrion, moving expectant cattle to alternate pastures, relocating nearby vulture roosts by harassment with pyrotechnics, and monitoring livestock several times a day - these techniques frequently were ineffective. The lethal method recommended to reduce or stop black vulture predation on livestock was shooting a few vultures to supplement harassment. New research is needed to develop control methods to alleviate vulture damage and develop vulture population models.
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Recent changes in sanitary policies within the European Union (EU) concerning disposal of carcasses of domestic animals and the increase of non-natural mortality factors, such as illegal poisoning, are threatening European vultures. However, the effects of anthropogenic activities on demographic parameters are poorly studied. Using a long-term study (1994-2011) of the threatened Pyrenean Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus population, we assess the variation in the proportion of breeding pairs, egg-laying dates, clutch size, breeding success, and survival following a sharp reduction in food availability in 2005 due to the application of restrictive sanitary policies decreasing livestock carcass availability. We found a delay in laying dates and a regressive trend in clutch size, breeding success, and survival following policy change. The maintenance of specific supplementary feeding stations for Bearded Vultures probably reduced the negative effects of illegal poisoning and food shortages, which mainly affected subadult survival. A drop in food availability may have produced changes in demographic parameters and an increase in mortality due to an increased exposure to contaminated food. As a result, supplementary feeding as a precautionary measure can be a useful tool to reduce illegal poisoning and declines in demographic parameters until previous food availability scenarios are achieved. This study shows how anthropogenic activities through human health regulations that affect habitat quality can suddenly modify demographic parameters in long-lived species, including those, such as survival, with high sensitivity to population growth rate.
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Against a backdrop of growing interest in animal geographies and the genetic engineering of species, this article critically examines the process of animal domestication. To date, the social selection and breeding of animals have received little deconstructive effort from human scientists. The article begins by reviewing earlier schools of geographic thought on domestication, including the work of Carl Sauer, for whom domestication was a transhistorical process of evolution's unfolding. In working away from that perspective, I historicize animal domestication within a narrative politics of ideas about human uniqueness, savagery and civilization through which the process was conceived and conducted from at least classical times. The article thus develops a cultural critique of technologies that have been fundamental to the transformation of landscapes. Integral to the story are concepts of ‘domus’ and ‘agrios’, the ‘bringing in’ of ‘the wild’, and associated notions of containment, fixity, settling and improvement. These ideas, I argue, became threaded into the relations of not only humans and certain animals but also raced and gendered relations in European-derived societies. The article concludes with appeals to the imagining of more animal-inclusive models of social relations; the relaxation of rigid oppositions of civility and wildness; and a ‘human’ Self more conversant with its own wild side, dedomesticated and unbound.