The conservation of rare and endangered carnivores in human dominated landscapes is particularly challenging when predators are perceived as a threat to livestock. This study verifies whether the human perception of Ethiopian wolves as predators of livestock accurately reflects the actual damage done by this specialist predator of highland rodents. With that purpose, we quantified the contributions of prey species, including livestock, to the diet of Ethiopian wolves by analysing 118 scats. We then compared them to the reported livestock losses and attitudes in 300 households surrounding wolf habitat in the highlands of South Wollo in north Ethiopia. We found 10 prey species, totalling 222 prey occurrences in the study sample. The most common prey were diurnal rodents, with 79.2% of all prey occurrences. Only 5.4% were livestock (sheep) remains, a result similar to that obtained in other wolf populations. The proportion of households reportedly affected by Ethiopian wolf predation was relatively low (17%), and these households lost an average of 1.0 sheep per year over the previous five years. Even though the proportion of households affected by livestock predation was relatively low, 88% of the households that reported losing sheep to Ethiopian wolves had a negative perception of the species, compared with only 9% of the households unaffected. Clearly current levels of livestock predation in South Wollo lead to widespread negative attitudes among the people affected, an emerging problem that requires the attention of conservationists and wildlife authorities.
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||1|
|Status||Gepubliceerd - 2018|