Determinants of herder attitudes towards the Vulnerable snow leopard Panthera uncia in Yushu Prefecture, China
Carnivore, China, human-wildlife conflict, livestock, Panthera uncia, snow leopard, survey, Tibetan Plateau
Yushu Prefecture in Qinghai Province provides some of the largest known stretches of habitat for the Vulnerable snow leopard Panthera uncia in China. People living in these areas are dependent on agropastoralism. Support from local communities is necessary for effective long-term conservation action for snow leopards, but loss of livestock to snow leopards can create financial burdens that induce negative attitudes and encourage retaliatory killing. We assessed factors driving herders' attitudes towards snow leopards and their conservation. We found that herders had higher agreement with positive than with negative statements about snow leopards despite nearly half reporting livestock loss to snow leopards within the last 5 years. No retaliatory killing was reported. Herders with more years of formal education and fewer livestock losses were more likely to have positive attitudes whereas those with lower importance of snow leopards to their religion, fewer livestock losses, and fewer years of education were more likely to have negative attitudes. Understanding the multifaceted mechanisms responsible for positive views towards species is imperative for reaching conservation goals. Our findings ascribe to the importance of increased education and adherence to Tibetan beliefs in promoting conservation tolerance towards snow leopards in Qinghai Province, but also indicate a need for further research into the impact of livestock loss.
Hacker, C., Dai, Y., Cheng, Y., Zhang, Y., Zhang, Y., Miller, L., & Janecka, J. (2021). Determinants of herder attitudes towards the Vulnerable snow leopard Panthera uncia in Yushu Prefecture, China. ORYX, 55 (5), 783-790. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605319001315