The importance of refugia, ecological traps and scale for large carnivore management

Show simple item record Pitman, Ross T. Swanepoel, Lourens Hendrik Hunter, Luke T.B. Slotow, Robert Balme, Guy Andrew 2016-02-15T05:01:10Z 2015-08
dc.description.abstract Management zones feature prominently in conservation planning, particularly at large spatial scales, but prioritization of areas of concern is required to focus efforts and limited resources. Human-mediated mortality constitutes a major threat to species persistence, particularly for widespread carnivores that undergo harvest and population control, such as the leopard (Panthera pardus). In this study, we evaluated the extent and spatial distribution of legal anthropogenic offtake of leopards to identify de facto refugia and ecological traps across Limpopo Province, South Africa. We defined refugia as management units with offtake levels below an established sustainable harvest rate, and ecological traps as management units with offtake exceeding the sustainable harvest rate. We assessed offtake at three geographical scales using trophy hunting permit records alone, and then in combination with problem leopard permit records to investigate the compounding effect of additional forms of offtake and the potential for management scale mismatching. Across Limpopo Province, high leopard offtake created fewer areas of refuge than ecological traps. Refugia were smaller in size and within close proximity of ecological traps. Human-mediated leopard mortality occurred mostly in prime leopard habitat. Finerscaled management units resulted in fewer ecological traps and more refugia, and enables authorities to focus conservation attention in areas of concern. Human-mediated leopard mortality exceeded the annual offtake rate considered sustainable. Our study highlights the importance of assessing both the scale and distribution of the harvest, whilst also considering alternative forms of offtake, when devising harvest management strategies. Management scale mismatching and high human-mediated leopard mortality is of particular concern in Limpopo Province, as such, we propose an adaptive, science-based regulatory framework aimed at improving leopard harvest strategies. en_ZA
dc.description.embargo 2016-08-31
dc.description.librarian hb2015 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship Panthera Kaplan Graduate Award and a South African National Research Foundation (NRF) bursary (#83690) and NRF post-doctoral fellowship (#88179). en_ZA
dc.description.uri en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Pitman, RT, Swanepoel, LH, Hunter, LTB, Slotow, R & Balme, GA 2015, 'The importance of refugia, ecological traps and scale for large carnivore management', Biodiversity and Conservation, vol. 24, no. 8, pp. 1975-1987. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 0960-3115 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1572-9710 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1007/s10531-015-0921-9
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Springer en_ZA
dc.rights © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015. The original publication is available at : en_ZA
dc.subject Human-carnivore conflict en_ZA
dc.subject Harvest rates en_ZA
dc.subject Trophy hunting en_ZA
dc.subject Problem animal en_ZA
dc.subject Leopard (Panthera pardus) en_ZA
dc.title The importance of refugia, ecological traps and scale for large carnivore management en_ZA
dc.type Postprint Article en_ZA

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