Household Conflicts with Snow Leopard Conservation and Impacts from Snow Leopards in the Everest and Annapurna Regions of Nepal.
Impacts on households from large carnivores are frequently reported in the conservation literature, but conflicts between households and large carnivore conservation are not. Employing a human-wildlife coexistence framework that distinguishes between human-wildlife impacts on one hand, and human-conservation conflicts on the other, this paper presents data from Annapurna Conservation Area and Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, Nepal, each with different models of conservation governance. Using systematic sampling, quantitative information from 705 households was collected via questionnaires, while 70 semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants for cross-methods triangulation. 7.7% of households reported conflicts with snow leopard conservation in the previous 12 months, primarily due to damage to livelihoods; these were significantly higher in the Annapurna region. 373 livestock were reported lost by households to snow leopards in the previous 12 months, representing 3.4% of total livestock owned and US$ 132,450 in financial value. Livestock losses were significantly lower in the Everest area. In linear regression models, total household livestock losses to all sources best explained conflicts with snow leopard conservation and household livestock losses to snow leopards but the models for the former dependent variable had very low explanatory power. Conservation in general, and large carnivore conservation in particular, should distinguish carefully between impacts caused by coexistence with these species and conflicts with conservation actors and over the methods and interventions used to conserve carnivores, especially where these negatively impact local livelihoods. In addition, livestock husbandry standards are highlighted again as an important factor in the success of carnivore conservation programmes.
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