Conflict prevention is the way forward if co-existence is to be possible.
Producers’ lives demand one risk management decision after another. They are experts and willingly assess possibilities for loss in their quest to provide food for a nation.
The contingencies they address range from events as vast as the weather to the tiny bacteria that could negatively impact their livelihood in the same grand scale.
Irrigation, vaccination, antibiotics, noxious vegetation removal and many other methods of husbandry are part of everyday life for farmers and ranchers in the 21st century. One more item needs to be added to that list and that is ‘conflict prevention’. As humans claim more and more wildland as their own, we encroach on the needs of our native flora and fauna. We develop, fragment and alter the very spaces needed for enhanced biodiversity. Our gain is indeed our loss!
Preventing conflict with wildlife is kind of the natural seatbelt we can choose to use. Non-lethal deterrents-like the seatbelt-do not provide 100% guarantee, but if you get into an unexpected situation, they are the best chance you have. We need to find a way to help make non-lethal deterrents as second nature as the seatbelt-not just something you grab when you think there might be a wreck. How this can be done is an issue that all stakeholders can work on together, whether it is by providing incentives to producers, tax relief for prevention equipment, or compensation if it fails. We can all be part of the solution and when we peel back the negative layers that line the reactive attitudes towards predators, we will remove yet another excuse for exploiting and destroying them.