The unequal burden of human-wildlife conflict

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Alexander R. Braczkowski - , Southern University of Science and Technology, Griffith University Queensland, Nelson Mandela University (Author)
  • Christopher J. O’Bryan - , University of Queensland (Author)
  • Christian Lessmann - , Chair of Economics, esp International Economics, Dresden University of Technology, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research (Author)
  • Carlo Rondinini - , State University of New York (SUNY) Albany (Author)
  • Anna P. Crysell - , University of California at Los Angeles (Author)
  • Sophie Gilbert - , Nature Capital Development, University of Idaho (Author)
  • Martin Stringer - , University of Queensland (Author)
  • Luke Gibson - , Southern University of Science and Technology (Author)
  • Duan Biggs - , Griffith University Queensland, Northern Arizona University, University of Stellenbosch (Author)


Human-wildlife conflict is one of the most pressing sustainable development challenges globally. This is particularly the case where ecologically and economically important wildlife impact the livelihoods of humans. Large carnivores are one such group and their co-occurrence with low-income rural communities often results in real or perceived livestock losses that place increased costs on already impoverished households. Here we show the disparities associated with the vulnerability to conflict arising from large carnivores on cattle (Bos taurus) globally. Across the distribution of 18 large carnivores, we find that the economic vulnerability to predation losses (as measured by impacts to annual per capita income) is between two and eight times higher for households in transitioning and developing economies when compared to developed ones. This potential burden is exacerbated further in developing economies because cattle keepers in these areas produce on average 31% less cattle meat per animal than in developed economies. In the lowest-income areas, our estimates suggest that the loss of a single cow or bull equates to nearly a year and a half of lost calories consumed by a child. Finally, our results show that 82% of carnivore range falls outside protected areas, and five threatened carnivores have over one third of their range located in the most economically sensitive conflict areas. This unequal burden of human-carnivore conflict sheds light on the importance of grappling with multiple and conflicting sustainable development goals: protecting life on land and eliminating poverty and hunger.


Original languageEnglish
Article number182
Number of pages9
JournalCommunications biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2023

External IDs

PubMed 36823291
WOS 000955679400005


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Carnivores, Conservation, Costs, Global-level, Impacts, Livestock, National-park, Predators, Protected areas, Religion

Library keywords