Mainstreaming Coexistence with Wildlife: Reply to Gallagher

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Response or Comment

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In a recent article we conceptually reframed the discussions surrounding how to conserve large terrestrial carnivores in the Anthropocene [1]. Our main proposal is to unite the understandings of the impacts carnivores have on humans and the impacts that humans have on large carnivores within a frame of human–carnivore interactions where the conservation goal being pursued is sustainable coexistence. Among key elements that we identified are: (i) tolerable impact levels (coexistence does not imply the absence of risk from carnivores, just that it is contained within acceptable levels); (ii) effective governance (coexistence requires mechanisms for addressing conflicting priorities among different publics); and (iii) coadaptation (both humans and carnivores change their behaviours to accommodate each other). Importantly, coadaptation between people and carnivores is the dynamic mechanism by which coexistence is achieved and maintained. Our ideas are developed from our own experiences working with large terrestrial carnivores. However, as Gallagher [2] very correctly points out, these ideas are relevant for other species groups.