Spatial Assessment of Attitudes Toward Tigers in Nepal
Carter, Neil H., Shawn J. Riley, Ashton Shortridge, Binoj K. Shrestha, and Jianguo Liu. 2014. “Spatial Assessment of Attitudes Toward Tigers in Nepal.” Ambio 43(2):125-137.
In many regions around the world, wildlife impacts on people (e.g., crop raiding, attacks on people) engender negative attitudes toward wildlife. Negative attitudes predict behaviors that undermine wildlife management and conservation efforts (e.g., by exacerbating retaliatory killing of wildlife). Our study (1) evaluated attitudes of local people toward the globally endangered tiger (Panthera tigris) in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park; and (2) modeled and mapped spatial clusters of attitudes toward tigers. Factors characterizing a person’s position in society (i.e., socioeconomic and cultural factors) influenced attitudes toward tigers more than past experiences with tigers (e.g., livestock attacks). A spatial cluster of negative attitudes toward tigers was associated with concentrations of people with less formal education, people from marginalized ethnic groups, and tiger attacks on people. Our study provides insights and descriptions of techniques to improve attitudes toward wildlife in Chitwan and many regions around the world with similar conservation challenges.