Big Cats and People Live in Close Quarters in India
The numbers of large carnivores, especially leopards, are increasing in private lands and lands outside the protected-area systems in India, bringing new challenges for coexistence.
撰文/播音 史蒂夫·米尔斯基（Steve Mirsk）
"In India, as a consequence of stricter protection of wildlife and increased tolerance, numbers of large carnivores are increasing in private lands and lands outside the protected-area systems."Ullas Karanth of the U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society and India's Centre for Wildlife Studies.
“在印度，由于对野生动物越发严格的保护措施与对野生动物越来越高的容忍度，私有土地和未划入保护区的土地上的肉食动物数量正在上升。”美国野生动物保护组织与印度野生动物研究中心（U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society and India’s Centre for Wildlife Studies）的乌拉斯·卡拉夫（Ullas Karanth）如是说。
"While this is a good thing for conservation it poses serious problems for management because occasionally these interactions turn hostile, between people and carnivores. And this issue is particularly serious with leopards."
Karanth and his team studied interactions between people and leopards in Karnataka, a state in India's southwest that's home to more than 60 million people. Leopards can be found in 47 percent of the state, in areas outside parks and other sanctuaries. So people and leopards do, every once in a while, run into each other.
To gauge the frequency of such interactions, the researchers scoured media reports during a 14-month period from 2013 to 2014. The total tally was 245 separate incidents. Most were attacks on livestock or simple sightings of the leopards by people. But leopards did attack people 32 times, causing three deaths. Thirty-four leopards died in the study period, mostly from poaching and being hit by vehicles. Capturing and relocating the animals did not seem to be an effective way to cut down on animal-human contacts. The study is in the journal PLoS ONE. [Vidya Athreya et al, Spotted in the News: Using Media Reports to Examine Leopard Distribution, Depredation, and Management Practices outside Protected Areas in Southern India]
So how can the large carnivores and people better coexist? The researchers think that an obvious but important step is to get a lot more data on just where leopards are most likely to be found in populated areas, so people can avoid the cats. And that farmers should be quickly and fairly compensated for any livestock losses. Which seems to be a better alternative than trying to hunt down and kill or move the offending animal.