Our July 2023 issue features a special section on human–wildlife interactions. Whether it be elephants damaging agricultural areas in Sri Lanka and Cameroon, crocodile attacks on people in Zimbabwe or farmers’ nets causing the deaths of flying foxes in Japan, the articles in this section highlight the increasing frequency of and challenges caused by interactions between wildlife and people worldwide. In the lead article and cover feature, Smith et al. examine emerging threats from the increasing reliance of polar bears on anthropogenic food, a growing conservation and management issue across the Arctic. The editorial, by Sillero-Zubiri et al., emphasizes the need to manage solutions to human–wildlife interactions on a case-by-case basis. The issue also includes a host of Conservation News articles, book reviews and Briefly!

Find out more about this issue’s content, including our Editor’s picks, below:

Humanwildlife interactions

  • Anthropogenic food: an emerging threat to polar bears – Smith et al.
  • Biocultural conflicts: understanding complex interconnections between a traditional ceremony and threatened carnivores in north Kenya – Burgas et al.
  • Diurnality in the defensive behaviour of African honeybees Apis mellifera adansonii and implications for their potential efficacy in beehive fences – Djoko et al.
  • Negative human–crocodile interactions in Kariba, Zimbabwe: data to support potential mitigation strategies – Matanzima et al.
  • Socio-economic factors correlating with illegal use of giraffe body parts – Muneza et al.
  • Amidst nets and typhoons: conservation implications of bat–farmer conflicts on Okinawa Island – Charerntantanakul et al.
  • Settlements and plantations are sites of human–tiger interactions in Riau, Indonesia – Neo et al.
  • Asian elephant movements between natural and human-dominated landscapes mirror patterns of crop damage in Sri Lanka – Fernando et al.
  • Examining livestock depredation and the determinants of people’s attitudes towards snow leopards in the Himalayas of Nepal – Shahi et al.

The Vulnerable Ryukyu flying fox is threatened by habitat degradation, predation by feral dogs and cats, culling and entanglement in orchard nets. They are often perceived as pests that damage crops such as tankan oranges. But how much crop damage do they actually cause and how are populations affected by interactions with farmers? Photos: Yoshiaki Hama. Read Charerntantanakul et al.’s article here.

Behind the cover

The use of anthropogenic foods by the polar bear is less common historically compared to that by black and brown bears but is a growing conservation and management issue across the Arctic. Six case studies illustrate how negative food-related interactions between people and polar bears can become either chronic or ephemeral and unpredictable. Attractants are an increasing problem, exacerbated by climate change-driven sea-ice losses that cause increased use of terrestrial habitats by polar bears. Efforts to reduce food conditioning in polar bears include attractant management, proactive planning and adequate resources for northern communities, to reduce conflicts and improve human safety. Polar bears must be denied access to anthropogenic food sources to avoid food conditioning and to prevent human–polar bear conflict levels becoming worse.

Photograph © Andy Rouse/NaturePL.com

Editorial

From conflict to coexistence: the challenges of the expanding human–wildlife interfaceSillero-Zubiri et al.

The editorial reflects on the first international conference on human–wildlife conflict and coexistence that took place in April 2023, alongside recent guidelines published by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Human–Wildlife Conflict and Coexistence Specialist Group for understanding and mitigating human–wildlife conflict.

‘… to understand human–wildlife conflict properly, we need to dig into its multiple layers: the disputes, the underlying causes and any deeper issues. Many early reports described local people as obstacles to the management and recovery of wildlife populations, but the same people are now recognized as a vital part of the solution … It is of paramount importance that local people are involved or—better still—become leaders in promoting coexistence and helping to revert often deeply rooted, negative views of wildlife.’

 

Editor’s picks

  1. Biocultural conflicts: understanding complex interconnections between a traditional ceremony and threatened carnivores in north Kenya – Burgas et al.
  2. Asian elephant movements between natural and human-dominated landscapes mirror patterns of crop damage in Sri Lanka – Fernando et al.  (blog post here)
  3. Wild meat consumption in urban Sierra Leone during the Covid-19 pandemic – Sainge et al. (blog post here)
  4. Community-based fish sanctuaries: untapped potential for freshwater fish conservation – Jumani et al.

Left: A male elephant was coming into human habitation on a full moon day, not worrying about the extra light on that day. Right: An effective early-warning system can be used to prevent an elephant like this (a seasonal crop user) coming in to the cropping fields. Photos: Chandima Fernando. Read the blog here.

Other content

  • Piloting development of species conservation action plans in Guinea – Couch et al. (blog post here)
  • Disentangling vertebrate spatio-temporal responses to anthropogenic disturbances: evidence from a protected area in central Myanmar – Thu et al.
  • Mobile animals and immobile protected areas: improving the coverage of nature reserves for Asian elephant conservation in China – Li et al.
  • Rediscovery of the Critically Endangered Primula esquirolii, a karst cave species with an extremely small population endemic to China – Wu et al.

Left: Cailliella praerupticola. Right: Anisotes guineensis. Photos: Xander van der Burgt. Read Couch & Magassouba’s blog here.

Conservation news

  • Next generation of global conservation leaders awarded funding and support – Thomas
  • Russian sturgeon in the eastern Black Sea basin, Georgia – Ananiashvili et al.
  • First global summit on human–wildlife conflict and coexistence – Zimmermann
  • China Species Specialist Group: piloting a new initiative for expansion of the IUCN Species Survival Commission – Xie et al.
  • The IUCN Species Survival Commission launches a new Red List Authority to assess marine invertebrates – Sigwart et al.
  • Searching for Lost Sharks: Extinct or Alive? – Ebert et al.
  • EU Court of Justice rules NGOs have the right to challenge forest management plans through the courts in Poland – Kitowski et al.
  • TikTok facilitating songbird trade in Indonesia – Fiennes et al.
  • A new specialist group for Brazilian fungi – Drechsler-Santos et al.
  • Updating of the action plan of the national strategy for the conservation of fungi in Cuba – Mena-Portales et al.
  • Conservation of the Critically Endangered dark sitana in Nepal through education campaigns – Bhattarai & Prasad
  • Dipterocarpaceae, the Vanishing Giants of the Tropics – Khoo et al.
  • Supporting the recovery of the pampas deer in Uruguay – Gonzalez et al.
  • Conservation of Diospyros crumenata (Ebenaceae), an Endangered tree endemic to the Western Ghats, India – Jose et al.

Book reviews



Emma joined the Oryx team in 2022 after completing an MSc in wildlife conservation. She is particularly interested in African wildlife and the wildlife trade, and carried out her MSc research on the impact of wild meat hunting on duiker populations in Central Africa. Prior to her MSc, Emma worked in finance before volunteering at conservation organizations and training as a field guide in South Africa.