Livestock Depredation of the Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) in Southern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia

Gidey Yirga, Hans Bauer

Abstract


A household survey was conducted with an intention to quantify livestock losses resulted from depredation of the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), diseases and theft in southern Tigray, Ethiopia from October to December, 2009. Our intensive survey canvassed 1100 randomly selected households from two sub-districts (Debri and Felege Selam) of the Endreta district. Respondents were asked questions relating number of livestock owned, livestock management, number of livestock lost to predation by hyenas, diseases and theft between 2005 and 2009, human attacks and vulnerable livestock species to hyena predation. To quantify the economic cost of livestock lost, the species, age, number and sex of livestock losses were recorded and estimates of current average market values of these classes of livestock species were obtained from traders. Values were translated in to US$ at the exchange rate of the time of the study. Surveyed households reported losses of 1039 domestic animals due to predation, disease and theft over the last five years. The average annual depredation resulted in an estimated economic loss of about US$ 5401. Hyena attacks on livestock represent an economic concern for livestock owners which were blamed for 11.8% of all reported livestock losses. The total estimated economic loss caused by diseases, theft and depredation was about US$ 229,104, representing 85.5%, 2.7% and 11.8%, respectively. On average, US$ 45,820 per year (US$ 125 per day) has been lost. Hyena attacks reported were not in proportion to the relative abundance of livestock species. Donkeys were significantly more likely to be reported as lost to hyena predation, representing 67.8%, followed by goats (16.7%) and sheep (10.5%). Our results suggested that simple improvements in livestock management practices would help mitigate human-hyena conflicts.


Keywords


Diseases; Economic losses; Livestock; Spotted hyena; Depredation

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