Investigation coexistence between livestock grazing and carnivores in rangelands

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Wednesday, 16th June 2021

Pathways towards coexistence with large carnivores in production systems

Boronyak, L., Jacobs, B., Wallach, A., McManus, J., Stone, S., Stevenson, S., Smuts, B., Zaranek, H.

Agriculture and Human Values 2021

Coexistence between livestock grazing and carnivores in rangelands is a major challenge in terms of sustainable agriculture, animal welfare, species conservation and ecosystem function. Many effective non-lethal tools exist to protect livestock from predation, yet their adoption remains limited. Using a social-ecological transformations framework, we present two qualitative models that depict transformative change in rangelands grazing. Developed through participatory processes with stakeholders from South Africa and the United States of America, the models articulate drivers of change and the essential pathways to transition from routine lethal management of carnivores towards mutually beneficial coexistence. The pathways define broad actions that incorporate multiple values in grazing systems including changes to livestock management practices, financial support, industry capacity building, research, improved governance and marketing initiatives. A key finding is the new concept of ‘Predator Smart Farming’, a holistic and conscientious approach to agriculture, which increases the resilience of landscapes, animals (domesticated and wild) and rural livelihoods. Implementation of these multiple pathways would lead to a future system that ensures thriving agricultural communities, secure livelihoods, reduced violence toward animals, and landscapes that are productive and support species conservation and coexistence.

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