In the area surrounding the WPP, we interviewed all 23 farm owners or managers (no refusals), a heterogeneous population with respect to culture, age and education (Stein, 2008). Game fencing was present on a portion of only 39% of the farms (mean area=103 km2; range=32–400 km2), and none of the farms maintained electric fencing aside from enclosures used for captive predators. A total of 55% of the respondents claimed that >90% of their household income was derived from livestock related activities, while only 23% received 50% or less of their income from livestock farming. Other sources of income included trophy hunting, which was conducted on 55% of the farms and contributed between 5 and 50% of the yearly household income for those farms. In addition, tourism provided income for 36% of the farms (range=1–100%). One farm, run by a non-government organization, received 97% of its income from private donations. Game farming was considered a small income source for 18% of the farms (range=1–20%). Although some farmers have invested in game farming, only two stated that >5% of their income came from game.
The three highest reported causes of livestock losses were consistent between the cattle and small stock farms. Carnivore depredation was the most commonly reported cause of cattle loss (mean annual % loss of cattle=3.8, sd=3.9%, range=0–14, n=19) with disease (mean=3.4%, sd=3.2, range=0–10, n=15) and theft (mean=1.3%, sd=3.4, range=0–13, n=14) listed as the next highest causes respectively. Farmers stated that small stock mortality was primarily due to carnivore depredation (mean=5.7%, sd=6.2, range=0–15, n=13) followed by disease (mean=5.7%, sd=8.8, range=0–30, n=11) and theft (mean=3.3%, sd=5.1, range=0–15, n=11). Poisonous plants were listed as a substantial source of small stock loss (mean=2.1%, sd=2.5, range=0–8, n=9). The remaining sources of livestock loss, including poison, dystocia or birthing difficulties, snake bites and poor nutrition, were not considered primary sources of loss. Farmers thought that jackals C. mesomelas were both the most common predator on their farms and had the highest status as a problem, and leopards and cheetahs were the next most common and problematic (Table 1).
Table 1. Predator occurrence and conflict rankings between farms near the Waterberg Plateau Park in north-central Namibia
|Area||Jackal||Leopard||Cheetah||Brown hyena||Caracal||Wild dogs|
Livestock farmers employed a variety of techniques to manage their livestock and protect them from predators, disease and stock theft (Table 2). Of the livestock farmers interviewed, 67% of all farmers implemented a calving season (focused effort to have livestock give birth in the same season); the least common technique used was livestock kraaled near (<30 m from) a house (32%). More than half of the farmers employed three to six techniques; seven farmers employed only one or no husbandry techniques. Those farmers employing at least one husbandry technique have reduced (∼85% less) livestock losses (n=14) compared with farmers using no husbandry, yet we detected no differences among farmers using one or more techniques, nor among different combinations of techniques used.
Table 2. Per cent of cattle operations near the Waterberg Plateau Park in north-central Namibia that used various livestock husbandry techniques
|Area||Calving season||Separated during calving||Kraaled||Livestock near housea||Guard animals||Herder|
Over 90% of the respondents believed that leopards were present on their farms, yet only 55% believed them to be a problem. The majority of farmers (53%) believed that the leopard population was stable, while 41% perceived it to be increasing and 6% believed the population was decreasing.
Nearly 45% of regional farmers stated that they would only remove a leopard after losses have occurred while 40% of farmers stated that they would not remove leopards even after losses. However, 15% of the farmers responded that they would remove leopards at the first sign of their presence, regardless of losses. When conflicts occurred, 60% of farmers would attempt to shoot the problem animal, but 45% would also trap animals either to shoot, translocate or release them, 35% would call the Ministry of Environment and Tourism or a conservation organization to seek advice or animal translocation after capture (trapped leopards were translocated from 29% of the farms), 18% of farmers ‘trophy hunted’ problem animals, 17% set poison and 12% called the ‘predator hotline’ to organize a trophy hunt.
Over the past 5 years, an average of 11 leopards has been removed (killed or translocated) annually, as reported by regional commercial farmers. This removal rate represents about 14% of the adult leopard population, as extrapolated from intensive camera-trapping survey estimates (Stein, 2008).
Livestock farmers were willing to lose 3.3% (range 0–10%) of their calves annually (Table 3). When comparing the current level of livestock loss reported by individual livestock farmers with the per cent they are willing to lose, over 64% of the livestock farmers tolerate their current level of livestock loss (n=14). There were no significant correlations among farmer background, farm size or location, losses to predators, husbandry practices or removal rates.
Table 3. Characteristics of farms for the two subregions around the Waterberg Plateau Park, Namibia
|Area||nb||Farm size (km2)||Total number of calves||Per cent of calves killed by predators||Per cent WTLa||Cost (US$) of lost calves/100 km2|
|Mean||sd||Mean||sd||n||Per cent||n||Per cent||n||Cost|
On commercial livestock farms, regional farmers reported owning a total of 8839 animals, of which 1567 were calves valued at US$612 697. Regional livestock farms maintained a mean of 92.2 calves (sd=50, range 30–180), of which an estimated 3.8% (3.5/farm, or 59.5 total) were reported lost to predators each year (no adult livestock were killed by predators). This total monetary loss (US$23 283) equals US$1370 per farm. However, farmers reported an average WTL 3.3% of their calves (3.0/farm, or 51.7 total) to predators, an average of about US$1189/farm (Table 3). Thus, the discrepancy between the amount that farmers lost and what they were willing to lose was approximately US$180/farm (US$3064 for the region).
The per cent losses attributed to predators were significantly higher (P=0.003) for north-eastern farms (mean=6.4, n=7) compared with south-western farms (mean=1.7, n=8; Table 3). However, mean farmer tolerance on farms of the north-eastern region (%WTL=4.0, n=6) was also slightly higher than for farms in the south-western region (%WTL=2.8, n=6). Still, all north-eastern farmers received more loss than they reported they would tolerate (n=5) and all south-western farmers incurred less loss than they reported tolerating (n=6). Income sources for farmers were not significantly different between areas (Table 4).
Table 4. Per cent of annual income derived from various sources for livestock farmers around the Waterberg Plateau Park, Namibia
Although the overall cost of lost calves per unit area averaged about US$0.15/100 km2 (Table 4), there was an order of magnitude difference in cost between farms in the north-east (US$0.50/100 km2) versus those in the south-west (US$0.05/100 km2). This is because farms in the north-eastern region were smaller (mean=62 km2) than the farms of the south-western region (mean=129 km2), and though farms in the north-east had nearly the same number of calves per farm (88 vs. 96), the per cent of calves lost was almost four times higher (Table 3), possibly a result of the higher livestock densities in the north-eastern region.
A total of 83 useable questionnaires identified tourists from nine countries, primarily in Europe; 71% were from large tour groups and therefore were incorporated into the captive viewing analysis. Tourists showed the highest preference for viewing mammals and scenery, as well as predators and the ‘Big 5,’ and appeared somewhat less interested in culture, flora and birds as part of their experience. When asked about specific mammal species, leopards, lions and cheetahs ranked the highest, nearly universally valued as the most preferred species for viewing; elephants, rhinos and giraffes Giraffa camelopardalis also were highly preferred (Stein, 2008, p. 163). In general, wild herbivores, hyenas and jackals were moderately preferred, and caracals, African wild dogs and Cape buffalo were least preferred.
Many tourists were willing to pay for the opportunity to view leopards, depending on the likelihood of seeing one (Fig. 2). With a 25% likelihood of viewing a leopard at a bait station, 52% of respondents were unwilling to pay, while 36% were willing to pay between US$25 and US$50 and 12% were willing to pay US$50 or more. If the likelihood of viewing a leopard was increased to 50%, fewer respondents were unwilling to pay and more were willing to pay at each cost level. Even though captive facilities would provide a 100% chance of viewing a leopard, tourists were less willing to pay in comparison with a 75% viewing chance in the wild, and would pay about the same as a 50% viewing chance in the wild (Fig. 2). Those respondents willing to pay to visit a captive facility cited interests in either the conservation or educational aspects of the facility.
Figure 2. The willing to pay (WTP) of tourists for viewing leopards in captivity and varying likelihood of viewing wild leopards at bait stations.
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Professional trophy hunters receive payment for a variety of charges and fees, among which is a species-specific trophy fee based on species abundance and required hunting effort. For leopards, interviewed trophy hunters (n=11) were willing to pay farmers 50–60% of their trophy fees (mean=US$3363; sd=US$776, range=US$1900–4250) for the opportunity to hunt a leopard on a commercial farm. Given a payment to farmers of 50% of an average reported trophy fee (about US$1682) that does not include fees for lodging, staff assistance, etc., that some farmers may collect, and an average of 11 leopards removed from farms in the study area each year, the potential annual remittance to farmers is perhaps US$18 497. Currently, four to five of the removed leopards are actually reported as ‘trophy hunted,’ but the current rate of remittance to farmers for these hunted leopards could not be determined. Interestingly, problem animal control records obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) showed a total of 11 problem animal control permits within the study area between 2000 and 2005 or 1.8 problem animal control removals per year (MET, unpubl. data) as opposed to the 33 leopards killed and 55 removals reported by survey respondents.