Pereira, J., Rosalino, L.M., Mucova, S., Massangue, Y., Abdulrazak, M., Vahossa, S., Selemane, M. Fonseca, C. & Santos, M.J. (2021) Livelihood vulnerability increases human-wildlife interactions.Environmental Conservation, 48, 1-9. DOI:10.1017/S037689292100028X (IF2020 3,012; Q1 Biodiversity Conservation)
Human–wildlife interactions (HWIs) occur in many rural African communities, with potential impacts on livelihood vulnerability. High livelihood vulnerability may force communities to employ strategies that increase the risk of negative HWIs, yet the extent to which HWIs drive or are driven by vulnerability is unclear. We hypothesized that more vulnerable households are more likely to be exposed to wildlife and experience negative interactions. To test this hypothesis, we calculated the Livelihood Vulnerability Index (LVI) of rural households in and around Quirimbas National Park (north-eastern Mozambique) and assessed whether there is a link between livelihood vulnerability and HWIs. We found a two-way association between LVI and HWIs, with more vulnerable households indeed taking greater risks and encountering wildlife when fetching water from rivers, whereas less vulnerable households tended not to employ strategies likely to increase wildlife encounters. We also observed that HWIs exert a strong effect on livelihood vulnerability, suggesting that HWIs should be included as an exposure factor in vulnerability assessments for rural households. We recommend that livelihood strategies and community vulnerability should be considered when designing HWI mitigation schemes and implementing conservation measures.