Wildlife damage mitigation in agricultural crops in a Bolivian montane forest
Wildlife is often blamed for causing damage to human activities, including agricultural practices and the result may be a conflict between human interests and species conservation. A formal assessment of the magnitude of damage is necessary to adequately conduct management practices and an assessment of the efficiency of different management practices, is necessary to enable managers to mitigate the conflict with rural people. This study was carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of agricultural management practices and controlled hunting in reducing damage to subsistence annual crops at the Cotapata National Park and Natural Area of Integrated Management. The design included seven fields with modified agricultural practices, four fields subjected to control hunting, and five fields held as controls. We registered cultivar type, density, frequency of visiting species to the field, crops lost to wildlife, species responsible for damage, and crop biomass. Most frequent species in the fields were Dasyprocta punctata and Dasypus novemcinctus. Hunted plots were visited 1.6 times more frequently than agriculturally managed plots. Crop lost to wildlife averaged 7.28% at agriculturally managed plots, 4.59% in plots subjected to hunting, and 27.61% in control plots. Species mainly responsible for damage were Pecari tajacu, D. punctata, and Sapajus apella. We concluded that both management strategies were effective to reduce damage by >50% as compared to unmanaged crop plots.