Fencing is an important part of husbandry for pastoral communities; however, these same fences can have unintended consequences for wildlife populations by restricting movement, reducing connectivity, and causing direct mortality. This paper assesses the current status and effects of fencing present in Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve, soon to be part of the recently proposed Qilianshan National Park. A questionnaire survey was conducted among 70 households to gauge local herders' perceptions of fences, threats of fencing to native ungulates, and the number of wildlife found entangled in fencing. We found that local communities rely on fencing for livestock management and individuals who had encountered wildlife entangled in fences were more likely to perceive fences as having negative effects. Furthermore, those who perceived fencing as harmful to wildlife were more likely to support the dismantling of fences. On the other hand, families who needed to hire others to tend to their livestock were less likely to support dismantling efforts. However, the best model was only able to account for some of the data variability, suggesting that while perceptions of fences are important, other factors could be influencing support for fence dismantling. Hence, increasing awareness of threats alone may not be enough to generate community support of a fence dismantling program. Therefore, outreach and community collaboration to reduce the impacts of fence alterations upon livestock management will be necessary for a successful fence dismantling program within the new national park. Finally, those surveyed reported finding kiang, argali, and Tibetan gazelle dead in fences, with kiang found more often than the other two. This suggests that these three species may be more vulnerable to fence entanglement and that they are good targets for future studies and dismantling efforts.
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22 January 2021
Ungulate Mortality due to Fencing and Perceptions of Pasture Fences in Part of the Future Qilianshan National Park
Sydney M. Greenfield,
Aliana C. Norris,
Joseph P. Lambert,