Human–wildlife conflicts occur when wildlife has an adverse effect on human activities (e.g., predation of livestock, crop raiding). These conflicts are increasing, particularly in areas surrounding natural protected areas, where villagers engage in subsistence agriculture. Crop damage may cause farmers to retaliate and harm wildlife species considered responsible for the damage. Among the factors that determine the intensity of the conflict are the frequency of the damage and the amount of biomass consumed relative to the perceptions, values, and cultural history of the farmers affected. To better understand the conflicts between farmers and wildlife, we compared farmer perceptions of wildlife damage to corn (Zea mays) to damage estimates recorded from May to June 2016 in 2 communities located in southern Mexico adjacent to the Natural Protected Area of Agua Blanca. We identified 128 farmers who had reported previous damage and used an administered structured questionnaire to assess their perceptions of the magnitude of the damage. Over 70% of the farmers surveyed considered that wildlife incursions in crops are a problem and 18% of them had implemented hunting and poisoning as a control measure. Farmers attributed their losses mainly to white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) and northern raccoon (Procyon lotor). However, our field data indicated that birds were causing more damage. On average, each corn crop lost $30.80; this value may be considered low, but the farmers’ dependence on the harvest they obtain from their crops causes these losses, added to those they already have due to other causes (i.e., long droughts, insect pests, and fungus), which impact their bottom line. Wildlife crop depredation is not the main cause of economic loss, but its impact negatively influences the perception of some farmers on wildlife. A poor perception in farmers could lead to an increase in the use of lethal methods, which may also affect nontargets.
Can-Hernández, Gabriel; Villanueva-García, Claudia; Gordillo-Chávez, Elías José; Pacheco-Figueroa, Coral Jazvel; Pérez-Netzahual, Elizabeth; and García-Morales, Rodrigo
"Wildlife Damage to Crops Adjacent to a Protected Area in Southeastern Mexico: Farmers’ Perceptions Versus Actual Impact,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 13
, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol13/iss3/11