Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Room to roam and hotspots of conservation conflicts: Lions, livestock and people in the matrix
Authors: Sargent, Rebecca
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Globally, large terrestrial carnivores have suffered precipitous declines in population and range. Today, they must persist in increasingly isolated natural habitat patches within a human-dominated landscape matrix. For the African lion (Panthera leo), approximately 44% of their remaining range lies outside of protected areas and retaliatory killing in response to the negative impacts of lions on communities is a key driver of lion declines in human-modified landscapes. In this thesis, I investigate the ecological and social aspects of human-lion interactions in order to understand the viability of the landscape matrix for supporting free-roaming lion populations. My literature review reveals that lion habitat preferences are varied and context-specific. While prey abundance and proximity to water are important drivers, lions adapt their habitat use in response to anthropogenic pressures. I demonstrate the use of two modelling techniques to develop maps of livestock depredation risk in the Ruaha landscape of Tanzania, showing that lion attacks follow predictable patterns in space based on features including distance to protected areas and rivers, and net primary productivity. I then examine the transferability of my approach as a simple, scalable method for predicting livestock depredation across three additional study sites. Finally, I trial the use of a novel experimental game to examine pastoralist decision-making in response to human-lion conflict. My findings suggest that non-lethal deterrents are the preferred mitigation strategy and that while incentive-based instruments can promote pro-conservation behaviour, these may be more effective when targeted at individuals rather than groups. This work contributes to our understanding of human-lion interactions and the resulting conservation conflicts. I highlight the complexity of the system and the broad range of methods and disciplines needed to understand it. To manage Africa’s changing landscapes effectively for roaming lions, future research should focus on habitat use outside of protected areas and develop collaborative approaches which lead to mutually beneficial results for both people and wildlife.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
dspacelicence.pdfLicence43.82 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Sargent R Thesis (DS).pdfThesis11.7 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.