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201606Apr21:22

New report con­firms global car­ni­vore con­ser­va­tion at risk

Infor­ma­tion
pub­lished 06 April 2016 | mod­i­fied 06 April 2016
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African lioness in tree, UgandaShrink­ing habi­tat, increased con­flict pro­jected in regions crit­i­cal to sur­vival of threat­ened top preda­tors.

A new study con­firms that the global con­ser­va­tion of car­ni­vores is at risk. Pub­lished online on 1 April in Sci­en­tific Reports, the report mod­els future global land con­ver­sion and esti­mates this will lead to sig­nif­i­cant range loss and con­flict with local peo­ple in regions crit­i­cal for the sur­vival of already threat­ened car­ni­vore species.

Orga­nized by researchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Helsinki in col­lab­o­ra­tion with an inter­na­tional team of con­ser­va­tion and land use change sci­en­tists the study con­cludes that imme­di­ate action is needed to pre­vent habi­tat loss and con­flict with humans in pri­or­ity areas for car­ni­vore conservation.

While some of the most charis­matic species, such as the tiger and giant panda were found to be at high risk under future land use change, smaller, less charis­matic species, with small ranges were found to be equally threat­ened by habi­tat loss
Dr.Enrico Di Minin, lead author,Uni­ver­sity of Helsinki »

Dr.Enrico Di Minin explained, “We assessed how expected land use change will affect pri­or­ity areas for car­ni­vore con­ser­va­tion in the future. The analy­sis revealed that car­ni­vores will suf­fer con­sid­er­able range losses in the future. Wor­ry­ingly, it seems that the most impor­tant areas for car­ni­vore con­ser­va­tion are located in areas where human-​carnivore con­flicts are likely to be most severe.”

Di Minin con­tin­ued, “Presently, South Amer­i­can, African, and South East Asian coun­tries, as well as India, were found to con­tribute mostly to car­ni­vore con­ser­va­tion. While some of the most charis­matic species, such as the tiger and giant panda were found to be at high risk under future land use change, smaller, less charis­matic species, with small ranges were found to be equally threat­ened by habi­tat loss.”

Performance curves carnivore speciesPer­for­mance curves quan­ti­fy­ing the median pro­por­tion of the orig­i­nal occur­rences of all car­ni­vore species, rep­re­sented at each frac­tion of the ter­res­trial land pro­tected for car­ni­vores.
The dashed ver­ti­cal line in yel­low rep­re­sents the per­cent­age cur­rently pro­tected (~11% of ter­res­trial land). The ver­ti­cal dashed line in black rep­re­sents the 17% tar­get for the opti­mized expan­sion of the pro­tected area net­work. The dashed ver­ti­cal lines in red and blue rep­re­sent the ter­res­trial land tar­gets required to meet a 50% rep­re­sen­ta­tion across all car­ni­vore species under present, and future (2040), land use allo­ca­tion (21 and 24% of ter­res­trial land, respec­tively). The grey dashed lines and rec­tan­gle show the cor­re­spond­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion lev­els for already exist­ing pro­tected areas and the Aichi tar­get 11 for 17% ter­res­trial land pro­tec­tion.
Di Minin, E., Slo­tow, R., Hunter, L., Montesino-​Pouzols, F., Toivo­nen, T., Ver­burg, P., Leader-​Williams, N., Petracca, L., Moila­nen, A. 2016. National pri­or­i­ties for global car­ni­vore con­ser­va­tion under land use change. Sci­en­tific Reports 6:23814, doi: 10.1038/srep23814.

Pro­tect­ing car­ni­vores pro­tects also other species
Car­ni­vores include some of the most iconic species that help gen­er­ate fund­ing for bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion and deliver impor­tant ben­e­fits to humans. Pro­tect­ing car­ni­vores will con­serve many other bird, amphib­ian, rep­tile and mam­mal species that live in pri­or­ity areas for car­ni­vore conservation.

Dr.Luke Hunter, Pres­i­dent and Chief Con­ser­va­tion Offi­cer of Pan­thera, the global wild cat con­ser­va­tion organ­i­sa­tion, and a co-​author of the paper shared, “Car­ni­vores like big cats have been squeezed out of their ranges at alarm­ing rates for decades now, and we can now see that habi­tat loss and its shock waves on wildlife are only on the rise. In order to pro­tect our planet’s land­scape guardians, a far greater finan­cial invest­ment from the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity is needed for range-​wide con­ser­va­tion approaches, both within and out­side of pro­tected areas where car­ni­vores roam.”

Pro­fes­sor Rob Slo­tow from the Uni­ver­sity of KwaZulu-​Natal, another co-​author in the paper, in South Africa empha­sizes that reduc­ing con­flict with humans out­side of pro­tected areas is piv­otal. “Most pri­or­i­ties for car­ni­vore con­ser­va­tion are in areas in the global south where human pop­u­la­tions are increas­ing in size, agri­cul­ture is inten­si­fy­ing, and human devel­op­ment needs are the high­est. There is need to imple­ment con­ser­va­tion strate­gies that pro­mote tol­er­ance for car­ni­vores out­side pro­tected areas and focus on the ben­e­fits that peo­ple derive from these species.”

Global risk human-carnivore conflictGlobal risk of human-​carnivore con­flict.
The bars rep­re­sent the con­tri­bu­tion in terms of total area size (km2) that each coun­try makes to the 17% pro­tec­tion tar­get for mam­malian car­ni­vores under present (a) and future (2040) land use change. No pri­or­ity means that the coun­try makes no con­tri­bu­tion to the 17% pro­tec­tion tar­get. Full details about how the risk index was cal­cu­lated are avail­able from the Meth­ods sec­tion. Fig­ure cre­ated in ArcGIS 10.2.1 soft­ware (URL http://​desk​top​.arcgis​.com/​e​n​/).
Di Minin, E., Slo­tow, R., Hunter, L., Montesino-​Pouzols, F., Toivo­nen, T., Ver­burg, P., Leader-​Williams, N., Petracca, L., Moila­nen, A. 2016. National pri­or­i­ties for global car­ni­vore con­ser­va­tion under land use change. Sci­en­tific Reports 6:23814, doi: 10.1038/srep23814.


(Source: Uni­ver­sity of Helsinki press release, 04.04.2016)


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