This organized session will feature talks by six of Defenders' staff working at the frontlines of human-wildlife coexistence. Defenders of Wildlife, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of native animals and plants in North America, has long worked at the forefront of advancing human-wildlife coexistence. In celebration of more than 30 years of coexistence work, Defenders is marking 2019 as the Year of Coexistence. Our work in this area is diverse, spanning species, scales and levels of decision-making, with activities ranging from pioneering management interventions to organizing outreach efforts that strengthen social acceptance of wildlife to advocating for federal and state policies and regulations. As Defenders' activities have grown and evolved over time, we have developed key strategies of success that enable sustainable, resilient coexistence between people and wildlife. These strategies are built on guiding principles of conservation science, conflict resolution, social change and economics that are broad enough to be universally applicable but also sufficiently flexible to be adaptable to the unique context of local communities. In this session, we will share these key strategies of successful coexistence through the lens of species and landscapes which Defenders protects across North America.
Carnivore predation on livestock often leads people to retaliate. Persecution by humans has contributed strongly to global endangerment of carnivores. Preventing livestock losses would help to achieve three goals common to many human societies: preserve nature, protect animal welfare and safeguard human livelihoods. With public interest in carnivore conservation rising, many non-lethal interventions have been implemented. Between 2016-2018, four independent reviews synthesized 40 years of research on the effectiveness of lethal and non-lethal interventions for reducing predation on livestock. From 114 studies, the reviews arrived at strikingly similar conclusions: scarce quantitative comparisons of interventions and scarce comparisons against experimental controls preclude strong inference about the effectiveness of methods. If policy is meant to regulate the use of public resources invested in protecting livestock and carnivores, then evidence of effectiveness should be a prerequisite to, or at a minimum measured during, policy-making or large-scale funding or implementation of an unproven method.