Willingness to Coexist with Jaguars and Pumas in Costa Rica

In: Society & Animals
Jennifer Rebecca Schauer Environmental Studies Program, Department of Sociology, Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA USA

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Shrinking habitat, depleted prey sources, and hunting increase conflict between humans and jaguars in Latin America. Participant observation was used for 131 open-ended interviews in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor of Costa Rica to describe and provide recommendations for Panthera’s rancher outreach program. Changing husbandry practices is different than wanting to relocate jaguars or pumas, which suggests willingness to coexist is based on geo-physical proximities. Further, perceived attacks on livestock may be unreliable creating a perception of more predation, villainizing large felines, and challenging coexistence. This study urges wildlife managers to evaluate the effectiveness of relocation; suggests systematic recordkeeping of jaguar and puma attacks; encourages researchers to measure willingness to co-exist with large carnivores based on geo-physical distance; suggests strategies of coexistence may have both cultural and regional differences; and recommends a communication strategy through a citizen science approach, in order to educate ranchers and create social investment among communities.

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