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Livestock Protection

Large carnivores can cause many problems for local people, particularly through the risk or reality of them attacking livestock. Livestock, particularly cattle, are extremely important for many of the communities we work with, so these attacks often cause substantial economic and social harms. Large carnivores are often killed, either to prevent or retaliate for such attacks, so protecting livestock from attack is extremely important both for local people and for wildlife. 

Our research has shown that most attacks on livestock occur within poorly-protected enclosures. We therefore work with people to improve livestock enclosures, either by helping build fortified livestock enclosures, or providing support through community coexistence training. We are also trialling the use of ‘Lion Lights’ to see if they could help reduce the risks of attack around livestock enclosures.

a collared lioness by Ami Vitale
Fortified livestock enclosure

Of course, not all attacks happen within enclosures: protecting grazing livestock is also very important, and we have trialled the use of specialised livestock guarding dogs, with mixed results. We also have an initiative called Collaring for Coexistence: when we place tracking collars on lions which we know have caused problems, we share that information directly with local people so they can avoid areas where those lions are known to be. 

All of these approaches have value, but regardless of the specific tool used, we have found that the most critical aspect is to build a network of reliable, trusted local people who can respond quickly to any attacks and support their communities to implement practices that prevent them. Our network of community liaisons, including Lion Defenders, Lion Rangers, Conflict Officers and Lion Extension Officers, all work tirelessly to respond to and reduce threat to local communities.

Together, our team helps to improve the safety of people and their livestock, reduce the economic and social costs of living alongside carnivores, and reduce the risk of carnivores being killed. 

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