Many populations of threatened mammals persist outside formally protected areas, and their survival depends on the willingness of communities to coexist with them. An understanding of the attitudes, and specifically the tolerance, of individuals and communities and the factors that determine these is therefore fundamental to designing strategies to alleviate human-wildlife conflict. We conducted a meta-analysis to identify factors that affected attitudes toward 4 groups of terrestrial mammals. Elephants (65%) elicited the most positive attitudes, followed by primates (55%), ungulates (53%), and carnivores (44%). Urban residents presented the most positive attitudes (80%), followed by commercial farmers (51%) and communal farmers (26%). A tolerance to damage index showed that human tolerance of ungulates and primates was proportional to the probability of experiencing damage while elephants elicited tolerance levels higher than anticipated and carnivores elicited tolerance levels lower than anticipated. Contrary to conventional wisdom, experiencing damage was not always the dominant factor determining attitudes. Communal farmers had a lower probability of being positive toward carnivores irrespective of probability of experiencing damage, while commercial farmers and urban residents were more likely to be positive toward carnivores irrespective of damage. Urban residents were more likely to be positive toward ungulates, elephants, and primates when probability of damage was low, but not when it was high. Commercial and communal farmers had a higher probability of being positive toward ungulates, primates, and elephants irrespective of probability of experiencing damage. Taxonomic bias may therefore be important. Identifying the distinct factors explaining these attitudes and the specific contexts in which they operate, inclusive of the species causing damage, will be essential for prioritizing conservation investments.
We explore variation in the prices paid by recreational hunters of trophy animals in Africa and its possible causes, including perceived rarity. Previous work has raised the possibility that extinction can result if demand rises fast enough as a species becomes rarer. We attempt to disentangle this from other inter-correlated influences affecting price. Species with larger body sizes and larger trophies were more valuable. Value increased less steeply as a function of size for bovids than for felids and the effect was consistent across countries. Power laws, ubiquitous in physical and social systems, described the trends. The exponent was approximately 0.4 for bovids, compared with approximately 1.0 for felids. Rarity (as indexed by IUCN score) influenced the value of bovid trophies - price was higher for species in categories denoting higher global threat. There was substantial variation in price among and within families not explained by either size or rarity. This may be attributable to a charisma effect, which seems likely to be a general attribute of human perceptions of wildlife. Species where prices were higher than predicted by size or rarity are ranked high in published accounts of desirability by hunters. We conclude that the valuation of these species is explicable to a large extent by body size and perceived rarity, and that differences in valuation between taxonomic groups are related to less easily quantified charisma effects. These findings are relevant for conservationists considering the threat status of species exploited in open access markets, and where license quotas are adjusted in response to changes in perceived rarity.
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