HOUSTON - (Feb. 25, 2021) - Low-income livestock farmers in developing countries are often faced with a difficult dilemma: protect their animals from endangered predators, or spare the threatened species at the expense of their livestock and livelihood.
A new paper by Rice University economist Ted Loch-Temzelides examines such circumstances faced by farmers in Pakistan. "Conservation, risk aversion, and livestock insurance: The case of the snow leopard" outlines a plan under which farmers can protect themselves from crippling financial losses while preserving and possibly benefiting from the lives of endangered predators.
"These livestock owners often have very low incomes," Loch-Temzelides said. "The loss of even one animal can be financially devastating. They're faced with the difficult task of weighing conservation efforts against economic losses due to attacks on their herds. And this situation isn't limited to snow leopards -- it applies anywhere large predators live near livestock."
Loch-Temzelides proposes establishing community livestock insurance contracts for farmers in developing countries who don't have access to the types of policies available in more developed nations. Under these contracts, farmers would agree to share the cost of lost animals with other farmers in their community. For example: If one farmer in a community of 10 lost an animal valued at $100, each community member would lose the equivalent of about $10.
By aiding conservation efforts, he added, farmers may stand to reap additional benefits.
"Tourists around the world are willing to pay to see endangered species such as snow leopards in their natural habitats," Loch-Temzelides said. "And revenue from ecotourism can benefit communities and their residents significantly."
While Loch-Temzelides' study focuses on Pakistan, he hopes community livestock insurance can be useful around the world.
The study will appear in an upcoming edition of the journal Conservation Letters and is available online at
This news release can be found online at news.rice.edu.
Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.
Photo link: https://news-network.rice.edu/news/files/2021/02/115314887_l.jpg
Photo credit: 123rf.com
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,978 undergraduates and 3,192 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 1 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.