Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats
REVIEW

Disease-related conflicts in mammal conservation

Christian Gortázar A , Ezio Ferroglio B , Catherine E. Lutton A C and Pelayo Acevedo D E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A IREC Wildlife Research Institute (CSIC–UCLM–JCCM), Ronda de Toledo s.n., 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain.

B Dipartimento di Produzioni Animali, Epidemiologia ed Ecologia, Università di Torino, Via Leonardo Da Vinci 44, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy.

C Environment Department, University of York, Heslington, York, North Yorkshire, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom.

D Biogeography, Diversity, and Conservation Research Team, Department of Animal Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Malaga, E-29071 Málaga, Spain.

E Corresponding author. Email: pacevedo@uma.es or pacevedo@irec.csic.es

Wildlife Research 37(8) 668-675 https://doi.org/10.1071/WR10031
Submitted: 19 February 2010  Accepted: 14 October 2010   Published: 22 December 2010

Abstract

Diseases pose a major direct or indirect threat to the conservation of endangered species, and can be a source of conflict among the stakeholders in conservation efforts. We aim to provide examples of disease-related conflicts in conservation, and information that can be used to identify means to reduce existing conflicts and avoid potential new ones. After introducing how diseases can affect conservation efforts, we have provided examples of different types of disease-related conflicts, including (1) those related to the movements of hosts, vectors and pathogens, (2) those linked to cats and dogs living in contact with wild carnivores, (3) those related to ungulate overabundance and (4) those related to carrion and hunting remains. We then discuss the management options available to mitigate these situations and resolve the conflicts surrounding them. Disease-related conflicts can affect conservation in several different ways. Whereas it is clear that diseases must be considered in any recovery plan for endangered species, as well as for sympatric and related abundant species such as relevant prey, it is also important to foresee and mitigate any eventual disease-related conflicts. Where conflicts have arisen, identifying the cultural carrying capacity for a disease or disease host species will help identify management strategies. It is important to quantify the risks for stakeholders and educate them about possible solutions. Multidisciplinary research teams that communicate their work to stakeholders should help resolve conflicts. Management options will not only depend on the status of the endangered host species and the epidemiology of the diseases considered, but also on the levels of existing conflict. Conservation strategies affected by diseases should explicitly include efforts to educate and inform all stakeholders as required throughout the process, and tackle any conflicts that arise.

Additional keywords: conflict mitigation, conflict resolution, endangered species, wildlife diseases, wildlife management.


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