SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL PATTERNS OF COUGAR-HUMAN CONFLICT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
Large mammalian carnivores have wide ranges and human encroachment will likely result in increased incidence of cougar-human conflict. Understanding temporal and spatial patterns of conflict can enable decisions to promote coexistence between carnivores and humans. We used resource selection models to provide predictive maps and obtain threshold values for variables that influence the likelihood of carnivore-human conflict.
For both male and female cougars we found that conflicts were more likely to occur close to roads, at intermediate elevations and far from the northern edge of the cougar distribution range. Male cougar conflicts were more likely to occur in areas of intermediate human density. Unlike cougar conflicts in other regions, cattle density was not a significant predictor of conflict location.
British Columbia includes Vancouver Island, the world’s greatest hotspot of cougar-human conflict. Using habitat and human variables to predict areas that are likely to have cougar-human conflicts can help target management strategies thereby reducing cougar mortality. With reduced cougar-human conflicts, people are more likely to accept and thus coexist with cougars on a shared landscape.