LUCHERINI, M.; MERINO, M.J. 2008. Perceptions of human-carnivore conflicts in the High Andes of Argentina. Mountain Research and Development 28(1):81-85. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1659/mrd.0903
Abstract. The Andean cat (Leopardus jacobitus), one of the world’s most threatened felids, forms part of the little known carnivore guild occurring in the dry areas of the High Andes. Although human–carnivore conflicts are among the major causes of carnivore population decline, no data are available on this issue for the High Andes. We report here the results of the first survey of human perceptions of, and attitudes towards, carnivores in the high-altitude Andes of Argentina. Interviews with 50 adults and 226 schoolchildren revealed that pumas (Puma concolor) and foxes (Lycalopex culpaeus) are considered pests for preying upon livestock and are actively hunted by adults. Although perceptions of the Andean cat and the Pampas cat (Leopardus colocolo) were more positive, especially among schoolchildren, they are also frequently killed by local people. We suggest that, contrary to what was previously thought, hunting might be affecting the conservation status of the Andean cat and of some puma populations in the High Andes of Argentina, and that education strategies may help to improve human attitudes, particularly in the case of the endangered Andean cat.