This is about a world which is quite similar to Earth in many respects. It has continents, oceans, mountains, fjords, humans, and every other property Slartibartfast might be more or less proud of in his work.
It also has a species of wilderness-living, large (roughly between the size of a large dog and a large feline), sapient, intelligent, land-dwelling carnivores. These live in groups and do not have any magical or supernatural abilities. In other words, what you might consider just another species of group-living animal, just a very smart one. Naturally, not having evolved from apes, these creatures' intelligence is rather different from that of humans, but it is of a similar level.
These creatures have evolved alongside humans, so the way I have it so far, insofar as there has historically been interaction between them and humans in the first place the two species have pretty much grown accustomed to each other's existence.
For the most part, these creatures are happy to live their lives with minimal interaction with humans. Some might tolerate or even enjoy human company, but most are relatively indifferent to humans. (That isn't cast in stone, however.) They might, at most, defend themselves or their offspring if threatened. As such, for the very most part, they are not a direct threat to humans, and they pose little threat to for example humans' livestock. They are, however, decidedly carnivores, easily able to kill an unprotected human should they see the need to.
The humans of this world are largely the same as humans of our real world.
I could just hand-wave it all away, but one issue has been gnawing on me for some time. How can I make sure that my world allows for the continued existence of these creatures as well as humans as we know them, through history and into the future?
I could put these carnivores and humans in different parts of the world, but as we know, particularly humans aren't exactly known to historically have stayed put, so especially in recent centuries, almost no matter where on Earth I put these creatures, humans will have encountered them, and might very well feel threatened by the existence of such a creature that they had no idea even existed.
Another alternative would be to accept that these creatures and humans will need to know about each other from early on, and give them overlapping ranges (and have the humans learn to act non-threatening to these creatures, as well as for these creatures to largely ignore humans), but again as we know, humans haven't exactly embraced the idea of sharing their world with other species, particularly large and potentially dangerous ones.
What are realistic options that don't break suspension of disbelief too much?