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Livestock predation in the rehabilitated Bilema Community Conservation Area, East Gojam Zone, Ethiopia
  • Misganaw Tamrat
Misganaw Tamrat
Addis Ababa University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

Bilema Community Conserved Area (BCCA) was degraded due to intensive human encroachment and many of the wild animals were eliminated. However, since the last 30 years the area has been well conserved and rehabilitated by the surrounding community’s initiatives, and carnivores could recover and reoccupy it. The current study aimed to assess the level of livestock predation in and around BCCA. Call-up method was applied to estimate carnivore densities and questionnaire surveys were conducted to estimate the magnitude of carnivore predation at three different distant villages from the periphery of the BCCA. The study revealed that spotted hyena (Crocuta Crocuta) and black-backed jackals (Lupulella mesomelas) were the major livestock predators in BCCA. A density 1.6 of spotted hyenas and 0.36 of black-backed jackals were recorded per one ha of the conserved area. Spotted hyenas attacked cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys, while black-backed jackals predated sheep, goats and poultries. About 5.4% of the total livestock owned by the respondents were predated by the two carnivores in three years period (2021 – 2023) and responsible for 36,796 USD economic loss. Spotted hyenas’ predation mainly from enclosure and their higher predation was recorded during the wet season, while black-backed jackals attacked livestock around the periphery mainly from the inside of BCCA, and their higher kills were recorded during the dry season. Spotted hyena predations exhibited significantly higher outside of the BCCA, and nearly consistent from boarders of the BCCA towards outside. In total, livestock predation strongly affects local communities’ livelihoods around BCCA. When predators attack continue, people may be triggered to retaliate against predators which in turn threatens the persistence of carnivore populations. Hence, for the sustainable coexistence of carnivores and local communities living around BCCA proper compensation of the economic loss and appropriate conflict mitigation practices should be promoted and implemented.