My name is Davinia Bartolome and I am a MSc. student from University of West England working in collaboration with Lion Landscapes to study human-wildlife coexistence across Laikipia county. My professional interests are carnivores and landscapes, with a particular passion for feline conservation. My current project is a case-study of the effects of the 2017 drought on livestock killing behaviour in large carnivores, and resulting threats to coexistence. Coexistence between humans, livestock and large carnivores is key for a healthy Laikipia landscape, where conservation and sustainable development are both possible.
Many Laikipia properties are participating in this study by sharing data on the livestock influxes into the region during the 2017 drought, and causes of livestock mortality before, during and after the event. Without the participation from so many Laikipia properties, this study would be impossible. Livestock influxes, in search of grazing during the drought, left carnivores exposed to large numbers of weak and poorly guarded livestock, which has led to an increase in livestock predation. I plan to put numbers to this climate-driven problem by assessing the extent of the carnivore’s livestock killing and also the consequent economical effects, as this situation can lead to long lasting losses of profit for local livestock owners, as well as retaliatory killing of large carnivores.
Carnivores play an important role in African ecosystem structure and function, and are a key tourism species. However, many people in the Laikipia ecosystem are dependent on livestock for their livelihoods and any increase in livestock killing by carnivores threatens people’s ability to coexist with them. Human and livestock populations are increasing, and climate change is leading to more frequent droughts, which put pressure on available resources. A good understanding of the wider consequences of the 2017 drought helps Lion Landscapes and other local stakeholders, plan appropriate mitigation strategies, which protect local livelihoods and carnivores.
If anyone would like to contribute to the project or find out more contact Davinia.email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org