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A Conservation-Based Approach to Compensation for Livestock Depredation: The Florida Panther Case Study.

Jacobs CE, Main MB - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Depredation sites of tagged calves had a significantly greater probability of panther presence than depredation sites of untagged calves that were found by ranchers in open pastures.This suggests that there may be more calves killed in high risk environments than are being found and reported by ranchers and that panthers can hunt effectively in open environments.We suggest that our approach could be applied to prioritize and categorize private lands for participation in a Payment for Ecosystem Services program that compensates landowners for livestock loss and incentivizes conserving high quality habitat for large carnivores where livestock depredation is a concern.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Calf (Bos taurus) depredation by the federally endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) on ranches in southwest Florida is an important issue because ranches represent mixed landscapes that provide habitat critical to panther recovery. The objectives of this study were to (1) quantify calf depredation by panthers on two ranches in southwest Florida, and (2) develop a habitat suitability model to evaluate the quality of panther hunting habitat on ranchlands, assess whether the model could predict predation risk to calves, and discuss its potential to be incorporated into an incentive-based compensation program. We ear-tagged 409 calves with VHF transmitters on two ranches during 2011-2013 to document calf mortality. We developed a model to evaluate the quality of panther hunting habitat on private lands in southwest Florida using environmental variables obtained from the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) Cooperative Landcover Database and nocturnal GPS locations of panthers provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). We then tested whether the model could predict the location of calf depredation sites. Tagged calf loss to panthers varied between the two ranches (0.5%/yr to 5.3%/yr) and may have been influenced by the amount of panther hunting habitat on each ranch as the ranch that experienced higher depredation rates contained a significantly higher probability of panther presence. Depredation sites of tagged calves had a significantly greater probability of panther presence than depredation sites of untagged calves that were found by ranchers in open pastures. This suggests that there may be more calves killed in high risk environments than are being found and reported by ranchers and that panthers can hunt effectively in open environments. It also suggests that the model may provide a means for evaluating the quality of panther hunting habitat and the corresponding risk of depredation to livestock across the landscape. We suggest that our approach could be applied to prioritize and categorize private lands for participation in a Payment for Ecosystem Services program that compensates landowners for livestock loss and incentivizes conserving high quality habitat for large carnivores where livestock depredation is a concern.

No MeSH data available.


Location of the JB Ranch (JB) and Immokalee Ranch (IM) study areas in the Primary Zone (high quality panther habitat) in southwest Florida.
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pone.0139203.g001: Location of the JB Ranch (JB) and Immokalee Ranch (IM) study areas in the Primary Zone (high quality panther habitat) in southwest Florida.

Mentions: Florida panther recovery efforts have included the designation of primary, secondary, and dispersal panther habitat zones in south Florida (Fig 1). Panther habitat zones represent both public and private lands identified as essential to the long-term survival of the Florida panther [8]. Briefly described, the primary zone includes all lands essential for the survival of the Florida panther in the wild, the secondary zone includes lands which panthers may currently use that are contiguous with the primary zone and where expansion of the Florida panther population is most likely to occur, and the dispersal zone was identified as an area needed for panthers to disperse north of the Caloosahatchee River [8]. Private lands encompass approximately 27% of the primary zone, which supports the core range of the Florida panther, 60% of the secondary zone, and nearly the entire dispersal zone [11]. Many private lands contain cattle ranches, which are low-intensity land use operations that typically support a mosaic of different natural land cover types used by the Florida panther and its prey [12, 13,14,15].


A Conservation-Based Approach to Compensation for Livestock Depredation: The Florida Panther Case Study.

Jacobs CE, Main MB - PLoS ONE (2015)

Location of the JB Ranch (JB) and Immokalee Ranch (IM) study areas in the Primary Zone (high quality panther habitat) in southwest Florida.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4589380&req=5

pone.0139203.g001: Location of the JB Ranch (JB) and Immokalee Ranch (IM) study areas in the Primary Zone (high quality panther habitat) in southwest Florida.
Mentions: Florida panther recovery efforts have included the designation of primary, secondary, and dispersal panther habitat zones in south Florida (Fig 1). Panther habitat zones represent both public and private lands identified as essential to the long-term survival of the Florida panther [8]. Briefly described, the primary zone includes all lands essential for the survival of the Florida panther in the wild, the secondary zone includes lands which panthers may currently use that are contiguous with the primary zone and where expansion of the Florida panther population is most likely to occur, and the dispersal zone was identified as an area needed for panthers to disperse north of the Caloosahatchee River [8]. Private lands encompass approximately 27% of the primary zone, which supports the core range of the Florida panther, 60% of the secondary zone, and nearly the entire dispersal zone [11]. Many private lands contain cattle ranches, which are low-intensity land use operations that typically support a mosaic of different natural land cover types used by the Florida panther and its prey [12, 13,14,15].

Bottom Line: Depredation sites of tagged calves had a significantly greater probability of panther presence than depredation sites of untagged calves that were found by ranchers in open pastures.This suggests that there may be more calves killed in high risk environments than are being found and reported by ranchers and that panthers can hunt effectively in open environments.We suggest that our approach could be applied to prioritize and categorize private lands for participation in a Payment for Ecosystem Services program that compensates landowners for livestock loss and incentivizes conserving high quality habitat for large carnivores where livestock depredation is a concern.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Calf (Bos taurus) depredation by the federally endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) on ranches in southwest Florida is an important issue because ranches represent mixed landscapes that provide habitat critical to panther recovery. The objectives of this study were to (1) quantify calf depredation by panthers on two ranches in southwest Florida, and (2) develop a habitat suitability model to evaluate the quality of panther hunting habitat on ranchlands, assess whether the model could predict predation risk to calves, and discuss its potential to be incorporated into an incentive-based compensation program. We ear-tagged 409 calves with VHF transmitters on two ranches during 2011-2013 to document calf mortality. We developed a model to evaluate the quality of panther hunting habitat on private lands in southwest Florida using environmental variables obtained from the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) Cooperative Landcover Database and nocturnal GPS locations of panthers provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). We then tested whether the model could predict the location of calf depredation sites. Tagged calf loss to panthers varied between the two ranches (0.5%/yr to 5.3%/yr) and may have been influenced by the amount of panther hunting habitat on each ranch as the ranch that experienced higher depredation rates contained a significantly higher probability of panther presence. Depredation sites of tagged calves had a significantly greater probability of panther presence than depredation sites of untagged calves that were found by ranchers in open pastures. This suggests that there may be more calves killed in high risk environments than are being found and reported by ranchers and that panthers can hunt effectively in open environments. It also suggests that the model may provide a means for evaluating the quality of panther hunting habitat and the corresponding risk of depredation to livestock across the landscape. We suggest that our approach could be applied to prioritize and categorize private lands for participation in a Payment for Ecosystem Services program that compensates landowners for livestock loss and incentivizes conserving high quality habitat for large carnivores where livestock depredation is a concern.

No MeSH data available.