Finance Mechanisms and Conservation Prioritization for Large African Felids
Large carnivores such as African lions, leopards and hyenas are in decline across much of their African range (Hunter, 2013). They are important as they generate tourist revenue and serve as top-down ecological agents. They are therefore worthy of conservation attention. However large carnivores also have the ability to cause significant financial damage to livestock and wildlife, particularly on reserve edges, which provide access to attractive sinks such as farms and ranches (McManus et al.2014). Carnivore attributed livestock and wildlife mortality often leaves ranchers disgruntled at both the responsible carnivores and park authorities, and often leads to retaliatory-based killings of carnivores (Ferguson et al. 2012). We will collaborate with the SATIB Trust, a South African NGO, and South African National Parks in order to assess the efficacy of a newly launched $ 125 000 compensation scheme aimed at reducing human-carnivore conflict on the Kruger Park’s western boundary. We will also assess concurrently lion guardian, mobile boma and community-based ecotourism schemes in order to a) increase a tolerance for African lions and other large carnivores in the region, b) stabilize large carnivore mortality in the region and c) use our results to develop an adaptive management scheme which can be applied to other areas in the broader Limpopo-Mpumalanga complex.