Communities living adjacent to protected areas tend to express more willingness to coexist with large carnivores in their areas when they receive tangible benefits. The aim of this study was to explore people’s willingness to coexist with large carnivores, including lions (Panthera leo), leopards (Panthera pardus), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta), African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) and black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas schmidti). We used a pre-test and post-test approach by implementing a chemoprophylactic program as a conservation incentive among the Maasai and Sonjo tribes living in the eastern Serengeti, Tanzania. Chemoprophylaxis is the prevention of infectious disease by using chemical agents. The pre-test results showed that both tribes had low willingness to coexist with these large carnivores. Of the two tribes, the Sonjo tribe was less willing than the Maasai tribe. Our post-test results indicated an increase in willingness to coexist with large carnivores in their area because the livestock loss due to large carnivore depredation was significantly lower than that caused by diseases in both tribes. Therefore, this study calls for more conservation incentives to local people to promote their willingness to coexist with large carnivores in their areas.
Keywords: coexistence, depredation, diseases, large carnivores, livestock, Maasai and Sonjo tribes