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Conflicts Involving Brown Bear and Other Large Carnivores in the Kalam Valley, Swat, Pakistan

Conflicts Involving Brown Bear and Other Large Carnivores in the Kalam Valley, Swat, Pakistan

Arshad Ali1, Muhammad Nasir Khan Khattak2*, Muhammad Ali Nawaz3 and Shoaib Hameed3

1Department of Zoology, Hazaara University, Mansehra
2Department of Applied Biology, College of Sciences, University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
3Department of Animal Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

*      Corresponding author: mnasir43663@gmail.com, mnasir@sharjah.ac.ae

ABSTRACT

Humans living close to carnivore habitats sometimes develop a negative attitude towards them because of the damages they cause. Such an attitude has costs, both for wild carnivores and local communities. Human costs are mostly in the form of economic loss to property and infrastructure, damage to crops, and depredation on livestock. In northern Pakistan where large carnivores like common leopard (Panthera pardus), snow leopard (Panthera uncia), Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetinus), Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus)), grey wolf (Canis lupus), and lynx (Lynx lynx) often encounter humans and contribute to significant economic losses. The present study was conducted in Kalam Valley, District Swat, Pakistan to estimate the occurrence of brown bear and conflicts with humans. Data about the presence-absence and depredation in five years (2009-2013) were collected from 86 households in the area. Total losses in Kalam Valley during the five year period were 72 animals. The brown bear predation was estimated as 29% of total predation in the area that killed 15 goats, 2 sheep, and 4 cattle. The snow leopard and wolf predation was 31% and 39%, respectively. To estimate the occurrence, 10 transects were laid out in each survey area with 100 m length and 50 m width. Each transect was laid out with minimum distance of one km from each other. Higher sign density was found in the forest compared to the other habitats. Twenty brown bear signs were recorded at four sites of the study area. According to signs, brown bear was widely distributed in Batendar area, while Jaba had the least distribution. Estimated livestock predation per household was 0.84 ± 1.13 animals. The total economic loss was PKR 20,207 or US$ 196 per household/year. The economic loss due to brown bear was PKR 5860 or US$ 58, snow leopard as PKR 6264 or US$ 63 and wolf as PKR 7880 or US$ 78 per household/year. Livestock predation and crop damages resulted in ruthless killing of large carnivores including brown bear in the area, which makes conservation efforts difficult.
 

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

October

Vol. 53, Iss. 5, Pages 1603-2000

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