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Pastoralist experience and tolerance of snow leopard, wolf and lynx predation in Karakoram Pamir Mountains

Babar Khan, Abdukadir Ablimit, Muhammad Ali Nawaz, Rehmat Ali, Muhammad Zafar Khan, Jaffaruddin, Rakhshinda Karim

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.5(4), 214-229, October 2014


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Human-carnivore conflict is a common conservation and livelihood issue in mountain communities. This study was conducted to understand nature and extent of socio-ecological interaction between pastoralism and wildlife conservation in cold deserts of Karakoram Pamir Mountains (KPM) between China and Pakistan. Study revealed that livestock depredation is a burning issue in KPM with varying intensity from place to place, depending upon wild prey abundance, herd size, herding practices, predator type and age. Snow leopard, wolf and lynx were the major predators, while Brown bear despite its presence was reported being less fatal to livestock. Snow leopard killed highest number of animals (88.7% n=1440) mostly sheep and goats whereas, wolf killed more juvenile yaks. Lynx was found occasionally predating on young domestic crop. Highest number of kills was recorded from pastures during summer months (July-Aug) when animals were free grazing or were kept inside pens at night. Wild prey base being abysmally low, livestock seemed offering a considerable portion of diet to carnivores. Despite considerable losses from carnivores, more respondents in KNP (Pakistan) buffer zone had sympathies for predators compared to those in TNR (China) who were annoyed of the carnivores. Although people attributed escalating human-carnivore conflict to a higher level of protection to wild animals in Protected Areas (PA) but efforts are still needed to judiciously integrate conservation with local livelihood and development needs, otherwise herders may continue losing their livestock to predators and retaliatory killing of endangered carnivore species i.e., Snow leopard and Wolf may continue unabated and would further destabilize the fragile mountain ecosystem.


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