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Coexistence with large cats: Experience from a citizen science project










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    Planning for human-wildlife coexistence 2023
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    The Projeto Onças do Iguaçu (Jaguars of Iguaçu Project) aims to protect the jaguar population in the Iguaçu National Park (INP) in Brazil and Iguazú National Park in Argentina, fostering coexistence with local communities. The planning for coexistence involved a stakeholder analysis, workshop, and structured approach. Using a Human-Wildlife Interaction (HWI) diagram, current interactions were categorized as conflict, overexploitation, nuisance, or coexistence. Scoping and goal-setting exercises defined the desired changes, targeting family farmers, increasing jaguar numbers, and shifting community attitudes. A system map identified causal relationships affecting interactions, revealing leverage points for intervention. A Theory of Change (ToC) outlined the sequence of events to achieve outcomes, guiding data collection for monitoring. Lessons learned included aligning actions with goals, conducting strategic planning before activities, involving staff with shared goals, and utilizing baseline data. The process fostered teamwork and ownership among project members. The planning process provided a clear roadmap for the project, promoting coexistence between people and jaguars while protecting the region's jaguar population.
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    Fostering coexistence through a poverty reduction approach 2022
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    The case study comes from Bolivia, where following a regional assessment on the distribution of Andean bears in 2010, researchers received reports from local communities regarding Andean bears attacking and killing cattle in the Tarija region, with retaliation against the bears ensuing. Researchers were surprised by these reports as the presence of bears had not been documented in the area. However, in 2016, a camera trap study was initiated by Chester Zoo, Protección Medio Ambiente Tarija (PROMETA) and the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) and confirmed the presence of a reproductive population of Andean bears in the region. These findings became the trigger to start the Andean Bears and People Project in 2018, a collaboration between Chester Zoo, PROMETA, WildCRU, Centro de Estudios Regionales de Tarija (CERDET), Instituto de Investigación y Capacitacion Campesina (IICA) and the Natural History Museum Alcides d’Orbigny. This case study describes the main findings of the project related to fostering coexistence through poverty reduction approach.
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    Navigating cultural narratives to provide meaning to a human-wildlife conflict situation 2024
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    The case study comes from the Cantanhez National Park in Guinea-Bissau and aims at exploring the human-wildlife interface and the people-park interface from the perspective of the park's inhabitants. This case study focuses on how these investigations revealed that encounters between chimpanzees and people, as described by the park’s inhabitants, generated two parallel narratives. Two narratives coexist—one attributing the actions of a chimpanzee to a person who supposedly shape-shifted into a chimpanzee, while the other attributes the chimpanzee's actions as a response attributable to the conservationists. Both narratives address issues of social responsibility, where individuals are perceived to not fulfil their societal obligations of redistribution. Through various discussions with different informants, it was reported that unprovoked attacks by chimpanzees were attributed to individuals who had allegedly shape-shifted into chimpanzees to commit harmful acts. In contrast, “clean” or “bush” chimpanzees were perceived to attack only if threatened or if denied a source of food. When attacks by “clean” or “bush” chimpanzees occurred, it was believed to be due to some provocation. for example, if someone had taken a chimpanzee by surprise and the chimpanzee attacked them as a defensive reaction. it was found that in Guinea-Bissau culture, accusations of witchcraft and sorcery, including those related to shape-shifting, can be used against people who are perceived as accumulating too many things and/or failing to adhere to essential cultural sharing.

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