Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences | Geography Department | Biogeography | News_folder | Prioritizing livestock grazing right buyouts to safeguard Asiatic cheetahs from extinction

Prioritizing livestock grazing right buyouts to safeguard Asiatic cheetahs from extinction

Michaela Daberger, Tobias Kuemmerle, Amirhossein Kh. Hamidi, Leili Khalatbari, Hamed Abolghasemi, Hamid Reza Mirzadeh, Arash Ghoddousi

 

Summary:

By combining species distribution modelling with a spatial prioritization framework, we aimed to identify where grazing right buyouts should take place to reduce cheetah killing by herders and their dogs. Our results provide a novel approach to minimize the mortality risk for cheetahs in Iran.

 

Abstract:

Livestock husbandry exerts major pressures on wildlife across the world. Large carnivores are particularly at risk because they are often killed by pastoralists as a preventive or precautionary response to livestock depredation. Minimizing the overlap between pastures and carnivore habitat can thus be a conservation strategy, but it remains often unclear which pastures should be targeted to maximize conservation benefits given a limited budget. We addressed this question for the last viable population of the Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) in northeastern Iran. By combining species distribution modelling with a spatial prioritization framework, we aimed to identify where grazing right buyouts should take place to reduce cheetah killing by herders and their dogs. We assessed the Asiatic cheetah habitat using species distribution models, highlighting large, contiguous areas that overlap with livestock pastures (5,792 km², equaling 72% of the total predicted suitable habitat). Subsequently, we used data on the number and distribution of livestock (~47,000 animals in 80 pastures) and applied a spatial prioritization method to identify pastures for grazing right buyouts for a range of budget scenarios (US$100,000-600,000). Pastures selected had a high level of irreplaceability and were generally stable across budget scenarios. Our results provide a novel approach to minimize encounter rates between cheetah and livestock, and thus the mortality risk, for one of the world’s most endangered felids and highlight the potential of spatial prioritization as a tool to devise urgent conservation actions. 


Link to the manuscript: https://doi.org/10.1111/CSP2.12832

 

Citation: Daberger, M., Kuemmerle, T., Hamidi, A.K., Khalatbari, L., Abolghasemi, H., Mirzadeh, H.R., Ghoddousi, A., 2022. Prioritizing livestock grazing right buyouts to safeguard Asiatic cheetahs from extinction. Conservation Science & Practice: e12832.

 

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