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1 April 2006 Andean bear–livestock conflicts: a review
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Abstract

We review the state of knowledge regarding conflicts between the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and livestock. Information was gathered from the current known geographic range of the species (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia). Andean bears are perceived as livestock predators where herding is common; bears are frequently blamed for any livestock disappearance or death. This negative perception often leads to the poaching of Andean bears by local residents and to a disregard of protected areas and conservation efforts. We found no systematic documentation of conflicts in any Andean country. Carcass dragging, feeding signs, and presence of tree and ground nests were common features of livestock depredation sites. Direct observation of cattle depredation by Andean bears was reported at 3 sites in Colombia and Ecuador. No seasonal or cyclic patterns of depredation were discerned, and evidence suggested that bear–livestock conflicts were restricted to particular sites and involved problem bears. The conservation of Andean bears requires research on rapid ways of dealing with problem bears, as well as mitigation techniques designed to reduce perceived and actual conflicts between bears and livestock.

Received: 15 May 2004; Accepted: 1 November 2005; Published: 1 April 2006
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