Discourses around human-wildlife conflicts have grabbed the attention of practitioners, managers and researchers in the last few decades since this type of conflict is considered one – or even the most – critical challenge facing wildlife conservation. However, human-wildlife interactions go beyond the negative impacts that species have on the environment or humans and their belongings. In fact, the research emphasis has recently expanded from a focus on conflicts to include the broad spectrum of interactions between people and wildlife that range from negative to neutral to positive.
In this book, we aim to build upon Woodroffe, Thirgood and Rabinowitz’s (2005), People and Wildlife: Conflict or Coexistence, by placing a greater emphasis on the coexistence aspect of human-wildlife interactions. Our goal is to contribute to the development of more comprehensive frameworks and approaches, and present a variety of perspectives and solutions that emphasize positive rather than negative aspects of human-wildlife interactions. To foster the inclusion of coexistence in human-wildlife interactions, this book uses the conflict-to-coexistence continuum as a leitmotif (Frank 2016). This continuum spans from negative to positive attitudes and/or behaviours, which defines the different degrees of conflict and coexistence that characterize human-wildlife interactions. The book also encourages complementary as well as competing perspectives on human-wildlife interactions, as the intent of this contribution is to propose new directions for how best to include positive interactions in human-wildlife research and conservation.
Through the innovative conceptual and applied contributions in this book, we aim to catalyse a paradigm shift from discourse on human-wildlife conflict to dialogue promoting human-wildlife interactions and coexistence. Exploring when and why people start to accept wildlife in their proximity is key to this endeavour and represents a pathway by which we may begin to shift toward mechanisms that enhance the willingness to coexist with wild species.
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