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Global Ecology and Conservation


Often, however, conservation agencies and governments do not have a proper understanding of conflicts prior to establishing mitigation programs or are unable to collect the appropriate data to verify claims of livestock loss. We investigated livestock depredation events in the Eastern Panhandle of the Okavango Delta, Botswana between October 2014 and December 2016 and compared these investigations with concurrent Problem Animal Control (PAC) information from the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) compensation program. Only animals killed in livestock enclosures or while being herded qualify for reimbursement through the compensation program, but DWNP is typically unable to verify claims. We identified wildlife sign at the depredation event location and collected information from the livestock owner to determine the species responsible for the attack, time of the attack, the livestock lost, and the husbandry methods employed. In total, 116 livestock were killed and 13 more injured in 102 confirmed wild carnivore attacks. Most (90%) attacks occurred while livestock were unattended and freely grazing in multi-use, communal areas. Cows, oxen (castrated male cows) and calves (Bos taurus and B. t. indicus) were killed most often and African lions (Panthera leo) were responsible for 74% of investigated attacks, while African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) accounted for 13%, leopard (Panthera pardus) 8%, and spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) 5%. Valuation of verified losses totaled ∼$30,000 over the study period. There were 50% more events reported to DWNP for compensation than we confirmed through independent investigations. In its current form, the compensation program does not seem sustainable, nor does it enable the verification of claims. While compensation programs should not be abandoned, programs designed to provide monetary reimbursement for losses caused by predators should require timely reporting and in-depth investigation of depredation events. Additional conflict mitigation strategies should target increasing livestock husbandry methods in the area, with a specific focus on herding.




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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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