Dr. Adrian Treves visited Fauna Australis
Dr. Adrian Treves founded the Carnivore Coexistence Lab in April 2007. Dr. Treves was awarded a Fullbright scholarship to visit our Department and setup a collaboration with Dr. Cristian Bonacic about pumas and conflict resolution in 2012.
CARNIVORES COEXISTENCE LAB
Dr. Treves’ work
Large carnivores are the most challenging species with which to coexist. For millions of years, they competed with our ancestors for food and space. Humans were generally subordinate in this struggle. But, the past few hundred years have seen the tables turned. Now humans cause most carnivore mortality worldwide. Large carnivores are among the most challenging to conserve therefore.
Two species of large carnivores have gone extinct in recent times and most have suffered major population reductions. Loss of large carnivores disrupts ecosystems and depletes biodiversity, because of cascading influences on prey and smaller-bodied carnivores. The larger species of carnivores typically require vast areas to survive, thereby competing indirectly with people for space and resources. Direct competition is also apparent when carnivores prey on livestock or damage crops when people retaliate by clearing habitat or killing carnivores. Human causes of mortality predominate in virtually all large carnivore populations.
Mainly, people retaliate against carnivores for real and perceived threats to property, safety, or game. Thus, carnivore conservation has often depended on reducing human causes of mortality. Both private citizens and governments are implicated. Government-sponsored bounties, pest eradication campaigns, and trophy hunts extirpated carnivores across vast areas of many countries. Even in the last decade, private eradication efforts have occurred in many localities.
Large carnivores can be conserved within human-dominated areas, while also protecting people’s livelihoods and safety. The solutions are never simple; indeed they can be maddeningly complex. But when we combine local knowledge with technical support and state-of-the-art research, we can work with affected communities to balance the needs of people and wildlife.