While there have been increasing numbers of reports of human-wolf conflict in China during recent years, little is known about the nature of this conflict. In this study, we used questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to investigate local villagers’ perceptions of wolves in Jiuzhaigou County, western China. We sampled nine villages with more frequent reports of wolf depredation to the local government, but included three villages near alpine pastures in which reports of depredation were less frequent. We sampled 100 residents, a subset of the local population who were more likely to have had experience with wolves. During the preceding three years, most families of the respondents grazed livestock on alpine pastures, and most of them reported that their livestock suffered from depredation by wolves. The mean value of the reported annual livestock loss rates was considerably higher in villages that reported depredation more frequently than in those with less frequent reports of depredation. Most respondents in the more frequently depredated villages perceived an increase in wolf populations, whereas many in the less frequently depredated villages perceived a decrease in wolf populations in their areas. People’s attitudes towards wolves did not differ significantly between these two village categories. The majority of the respondents were negative in their attitude to wolves, despite a prevalent Tibetan culture that favors the protection of wildlife. People’s negative attitude was directly related to the number of livestock owned by their family. Those with a larger number of livestock were more likely to have a negative attitude towards wolves. Factors such as village category, ethnicity, age and education level did not influence people’s attitudes to wolves. We suggest that improved guarding of livestock and provision of monetary support on human resources and infrastructure may mitigate human-wolf conflicts in this region.
Cite this as(2015) Local villagers’ perceptions of wolves in Jiuzhaigou County, western China. PeerJ 3:e982 https://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.982