Human-Predator Conflict in North America and South/Central America
Many large carnivores across the world are experiencing steep declines in population size due mainly to conflict with humans. Large carnivores are important for their role in the trophic cascade, and regulate the rest of the ecosystem through top-down control. Removing, or significantly decreasing, the populations of large carnivores from their natural ecosystem can have very harmful effects. Despite the importance of these animals, human perception is often very negative, which can be attributed to seeing them as dangerous, or threatening to one’s livelihood. It is important to examine human-predator conflict in order to better understand how to conserve these large predators. I chose to research human conflict, with Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) in North America, and the Jaguar (Panthera onca) in Central and South America, and compare and contrast the two. I examined research on public perception of each species, identifying the main issues humans saw with each predator. Using these main themes, I looked into research on the true impact of these predators on humans in order to discover if it matched public perception. Next, I looked at research on management strategies, and analyzed which strategies seemed to be the most effective for reducing humanpredator conflict, and which ones best addressed, and reduced, negative impacts of each species on humans. By examining these conflicts and solutions, it can be better understood how to optimize management of these species.