Between Thorn Bushes and Claws

Humans and large carnivores tend not to get along very well. When there’s not enough for hyenas to eat in Ethiopia, they turn on donkey herds. If a few sharks come a bit too close for comfort, governments institute sanctioned culls. In some parts of Europe, bears are killed in retaliation for livestock depredation.

There are only three possible solutions for any sustained clash between human communities and large carnivores. One, the needs of our species can be put first, to the detriment of the predators and the ecosystems in which they live. Two, conservation organizations can promote “peaceful coexistence,” which often includes education about the important role that apex predators play in maintaining an ecosystem, and monetary compensation for livestock losses. Three, the needs of wildlife can be put first, and humans can be removed from their habitat.

The problem with the first solution is obvious, and…

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