Predicting Human-Wildlife Conflicts

Full Title

New tools to predict and prevent human-wildlife conflicts


Although wildlife provide numerous benefits to humans, they also threaten human safety and livelihoods. These threats encourage wildlife poaching, which contributes to global wildlife declines. Unfortunately, the complex causal and dynamic relationships between social and environmental systems that underlie these “human–wildlife conflicts” (HWC) are poorly understood; policies that improve human well-being and advance wildlife conservation are deficient. This project aims to evaluate multifarious fundamental mechanisms underlying HWC, with a focus on large predators. Large predators are disproportionately involved in HWC, and their conservation is complicated by direct competition with people. Our proposed international collaboration includes researchers, wildlife managers, and decision-makers. We will integrate existing long-term empirical data from multiple disciplines and regions differing in four socio-environmental settings in North America, Europe, and Africa. We will use advanced quantitative modeling to predict locations of human-predator conflicts and, based on those models, create risk maps to help target interventions. The proposed project is novel and actionable in several ways; it will:

  1. Advance methodological knowledge for synthesizing theories from disparate disciplines including wildlife ecology, social psychology, and criminology;
  2. Represent a first attempt to compare and replicate risk models across regions;
  3. Provide urgently-needed information for policy interventions that better protect people, their property, and reduce poaching;
  4. Identify similar underlying ecologies that allow scaling up of interventions to many other regions and species (e.g., elephants, rhinos); and
  5. Catalyze other cross-regional, and possibly global, initiatives to explicate drivers of human–wildlife conflicts.
Project Type
Team Synthesis Project
Principal Investigators
Adrian Treves, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Meredith Gore, Michigan State University
Jens Frank, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Drew Bantlin, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jeremy Bruskotter, Ohio State University
Guillaume Chapron, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
John Goodrich, Panthera
Abishek Harihar, Panthera
Tom Hobbs, Colorado State University
Luke Hunter, Panthera
Arlyne Johnson, Foundations of Success
Jessica Kahler, Michigan State University
José Vicente López-Bao, Oviedo University
Lisa Naughton, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Omar Alonso Ohrens Rojas, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mark Rabenhorst, Carnivore Coexistence Lab
Mahendra Shrestha, Smithsonian Institution
Ronak Sripal, Michigan State University

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