Treves, A., Krofel, M., McManus, J. (equal co-authors). 2016. Predator control should not be a shot in the dark. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14: 380-388. Click to access the article at the journal website but don't forget the Supplement button up top.
In a nutshell:
• Predator control methods to prevent livestock loss have rarely been subject to rigorous tests using the “gold standard” for scientific inference (random assignment to control and treatment groups with experimental designs that avoid biases in sampling, treatment, measurement, or reporting)
• Across the controlled experiments that we systematically examined, higher standards of evidence were generally applied in tests of non-lethal methods than in tests of lethal methods for predator control
• Non-lethal methods were more effective than lethal methods in preventing carnivore predation on livestock generally; at least two lethal methods (government culling or regulated, public hunting) were followed by increases in predation on livestock; zero tests of non-lethal methods had counterproductive effects
• All flawed tests came from North America; ten of 12 flawed tests were published in three journals, compared to four of 12 tests with strong inference in those same journals.
• We recommend suspending lethal predator control methods that do not currently have rigorous evidence for functional effectiveness in preventing livestock loss until gold- standard tests are completed.
Chapron, G., Treves, A.. (equal co-authors). 2016. Blood does not buy goodwill: allowing culling increases poaching of a large carnivore. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283: 20152939. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.2939.
Take-home messages: Culling wolves did not help Wisconsin or Michigan’s wolf populations. Culling did not reduce poaching and may have increased it.
Treves, A., Bonacic, C. (equal co-authors). 2016. Humanity's Dual Response to Dogs and Wolves. Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE). doi:10.1016/j.tree.2016.04.006
Take-home message: The relationship between humans, dogs, and wolves has changed over more than 40,000 years in ways that reflect the ecology and evolved traits of all three species.
Our wildlife trust: see the blog posted by Project Coyote, for a quick and easy retelling of the U.S. public trust doctrine by Dr. Adrian Treves. The blog refers you to a scientific article: "Predators and the public trust" published in a major peer-reviewed, international journal, Biological Reviews
Take-home messages: Democratic governments have a duty under the public trust to preserve wildlife for current and future generations without substantial impairment. Trust duties are fiduciary duties meaning transparent accounting and prudence at a minimum. Few trustees of predaotrs have lived up these legal and ethical standards.
We envision a balance between human needs and carnivore conservation worldwide.
To attain this vision, we create knowledge about human-carnivore coexistence through interdisciplinary research around the world.
We apply that knowledge to solve current conservation problems.
We share our findings with audiences worldwide.
For quick summaries of the carnivores we work with, click on the names below.
Large carnivores are the most challenging species with which to coexist. For millions of years, they competed with our ancestors for food and space. Humans were generally subordinate in this struggle. But, the past few hundred years have seen the tables turned. Now humans cause most carnivore mortality worldwide. We have degraded ecosystems as a result because large carnivores play essential roles in maintaining functioning, diverse ecosystems. Therefore large carnivores are among the most challenging to conserve.
Two species of large carnivores have gone extinct in recent times and most have suffered major population reductions. Loss of large carnivores disrupts ecosystems and depletes biodiversity, because of cascading influences on prey and smaller-bodied carnivores. The larger species of carnivores typically require vast areas to survive, thereby competing indirectly with people for space and resources. Direct competition is also apparent when carnivores prey on livestock or damage crops when people retaliate by clearing habitat or killing carnivores. Human causes of mortality predominate in virtually all large carnivore populations.
Mainly, people retaliate against carnivores for real and perceived threats to property, safety, or game. Thus, carnivore conservation has often depended on reducing human causes of mortality. Both private citizens and governments are implicated. Government-sponsored bounties, pest eradication campaigns, and trophy hunts extirpated carnivores across vast areas of many countries. Even in the last decade, private eradication efforts have occurred in many localities.
Large carnivores can be conserved within human-dominated areas, while also protecting people's livelihoods and safety. The solutions are never simple; indeed they can be maddeningly complex. But when we combine local knowledge with technical support and state-of-the-art research, we can balance the needs of people and wildlife.
Dr. Adrian Treves founded the Carnivore Coexistence Lab in April 2007. The following web pages outline CCL's current research efforts along with a sample of our recent findings.