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Coexistence isn’t just about science and self-interest. It’s about stories, too.

When people and big, potentially dangerous predators share landscapes, it’s usually the predators who lose. People fear them and the harms they cause, and calm their fears by killing. Yet in the northern Indian district of Hamirpur, on the western slopes of the Himalayas, both people and leopards thrive.

It’s not because protected areas shelter the big cats; there are none. The animals live entirely in multi-use landscapes. Neither is it because leopards don’t attack people; they do. Instead the acceptance is rooted in a culture where leopards are regarded as fellow persons, allowing a culture of coexistence to flourish.