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Tiger vs. Cow: Risk Models Help Beat the Odds

~ by Jennie Miller

Originally posted in Conservation India.

A tiger and a cow meet in a jungle. The scenario is tragically predictable: tiger kills cow, cow’s owner kills tiger. Yet in India, where repeated conflict can amount to sizeable livelihood losses and tiger declines, predicting where the scenario plays out is far from easy. However, a simple statistical method applied to mapping human-carnivore conflict could up the odds by helping people anticipate high-risk hotspots.

Our study, published in Ecology and Evolution, explored a technique that could be used to aid local people and park managers in managing livestock husbandry and carnivore deterrents. Based in Kanha Tiger Reserve, we accompanied villagers to sites where tigers had killed their cows, buffalo, goats or pigs. Villagers in Kanha (and many protected areas worldwide) report these locations to receive financial compensation and subsidise the income losses of coexisting with big cats. But kill sites offer far more than just blood, bones and a queasy stomach; they offer a wealth of insight into how tigers hunt. Read the full article in Conservation India.

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