Dimensions of a human-lion conflict: the ecology of human predation and persecution of African lions Panthera leo in Tanzania
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- Institutt for biologi 
Human-wildlife conflict is a major conservation issue worldwide. On the one hand it leads to loss of life and property, but on the other leads to the killing of animal species of conservation concern. Lions have the innate potential to kill humans, creating the most serious form of human-wildlife conflicts today. But lion persecution is also common and the number of lions in Africa has declined drastically over the past two decades as a result. Tanzania holds over 50% of the global population, and substantial numbers of which occur outside reserves, where interactions with local communities are high. This thesis provides knowledge on current levels of human-lion conflicts in rural areas of Tanzania. We document number of attacks that have occurred over the past 22 yrs (1987-2008). Findings show lion attacks on people have increased over the past 22 years, with the majority of cases occurring in the southern part of the country. Attacks are more of an unprovoked nature, with lions actively pursuing humans in circumstances which they may be captured as prey. In agreement with previous documented attacks, we found that the attacks occurred in much similar manner as in historical outbreaks of man-eating lions. There were two distinct patterns of attack, signifying behavioural patterns in man-eating. These patterns were significantly influenced by lion social behaviour. We found that in the selection of humans as prey, man-eating lions enter villages and go for victims in settlements which they are more vulnerable, not necessarily where they are more abundant. This confers to the predation theory showing that predators prefer foraging in habitats where prey is more accessible rather than just abundant. Pastoralist communities are generally known to kill lions in protection of their livestock. We found this propensity in the Ngorongoro Maasai and the number of lions killed was in direct proportion to lion depredation, particularly in cattle. However, adherence to cultural beliefs motivates Maasai youths to kill lions ritually in an area of the NCA frequented by non-resident lions. Human attacks by lions and lion persecution by humans presents two dimensions of a human wildlife conflict. Lions are a protected species where ever they occur in Tanzania, but their conservation presents serious risks to some lives and livelihoods. Tanzania holds over 50% of the global lion population, thus having the international obligation for their protection against human persecution. Resolving the human-lion conflict is therefore a major conservation challenge not only facing Tanzania, but the whole conservation movement.