Conflicts between people and wild animals in semiarid areas of Paraíba and their implications for conservation

Lívia Emanuelle Tavares Mendonça, Caroline Mendes Souto, Lyuska Leite Andrelino, Wedson de Medeiros Silva Souto, Washington Luiz da Silva Vieira, Rômulo Romeu Nóbrega Alves


Throughout their history, humans have utilized animals in different ways, demonstrating their importance and reflecting
attitudes of respect, admiration and affection. However, some attitudes related to control, exploitation, fear and aversion
regarding wild animals have produced conflicts between human populations and nature. This conflict is of widespread
conservation interest, but studies on this subject are scarce amongst those covering semiarid environments such as the
Caatinga. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to document the hunting activities geared towards the control of
animals considered dangerous and/or causes of damage to the community of a semiarid area in the interior of Paraíba, in the
northeast of Brazil. The study involved 123 hunters and ex-hunters from the municipality of Pocinhos. Between 2007 and
2010, interviews using semi-structured questionnaires were conducted, supplemented by informal conversations. A total
of 23 species of wild animals were hunted and the main groups were mammals (particularly carnivores) (n = 7 species) and
reptiles (particularly snakes) (n = 13) and, to a lesser extent, birds. The reasons for the conflicts that led to the killing of
wild animals were: attacks on livestock; risk of killing people; destruction of crops, and the risk of transmitting disease.
Although infrequent, damage caused by wild animals generates widespread intolerance amongst local hunters, encouraging
indiscriminate killing of these animals. Environmental education programs for the public are essential in order to maintain
local wildlife resources.



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