Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Environmental Studies Program


Philip J. Nyhus

Second Advisor

F. Russell Cole

Third Advisor

David H. Firmage


Large carnivores are some of the world’s most difficult species to conserve because of their large spatial requirements, low population density, and high potential for conflict with humans. However, large carnivores are valuable for ecological, cultural, and ethical reasons. Carnivore management can take a wide variety of forms, including translocation, sterilization, livestock compensation programs, regulated hunting, improved livestock husbandry practices, and zoning, among others. The objective of this thesis was to conduct a comparative analysis of examples of zoning from around the world to examine whether it is an effective carnivore management strategy.

Analysis of twelve case studies showed that zoning systems vary widely based on the characteristics of the target species and location-specific factors. However, four broad categories of zoning were identified: density driven, core area, game species, and pest species zoning. Furthermore, several factors stood out as important in the success or failure of zoning systems: space availability, level of conflict with humans, relative abundance of the species, public support for the zoning system, and the economic and political context of the location. It seems that zoning has the potential to be a successful management tool for large carnivore species if these factors are taken into account during the management planning process.


Carnivore management, comparative analysis, zoning, carnivore management strategy, space availability, level of conflict with humans, relative abundance of the species