Wildlife means a group of animal species that are nondomesticated, living in natural habitat away from human habitat. We all know about humans. Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) is one of the critical threats facing many wildlife species today, and this topic is receiving increasing attention worldwide.
Due to human overpopulation growth causing human encroachment in wild habitat, the home of precious living is declining day by day and is in extreme danger. The continuous increase in the human population results in competition between humans and animals for limited resources.
Habitat destruction causes shrinkage of wild species home range, hunting areas which cause animals compelled to visit in human settlement areas for food and water which results in many conflicts like crop-raiding, livestock predation, property damage, human death, and injury and the killing of wild animals. The conflict becomes extremely controversial when people are attacked by endangered and legally protected animals.
HWC is the very serious problem around national parks and conservation areas. The locals of these areas are heavily dependent on the resources of the parks.
Though an area aside for human use and management is established around these parks called a buffer zone. This area is the hotspot of human-wildlife conflict. In Nepal, people are attacked by large mammal species such as; tigers, common leopard, rhinoceros, elephants, and bears.
In a survey in the period of 5 years (2010-2014) elephants were found to be involved in 30% of the HWC incident. While the wild cats like leopards and tigers were part of 21% and 10% of the HWC incident. While the famous One-Horned Rhino caused 16% and bear caused 12% of the HWC incident.
To reduce these conflicts which are harmful to both humans and animals, preventive measures should be applied such as: the application of electrical fences to prevent the wildlife movement towards human settlements, building predator proof place to prevent livestock loss during night, planting crops which are not edible to wild animals.
These mitigation strategy certainly helps to reduce the conflicts. In addition, awareness programs should be conducted to change the attitude of local people towards wildlife. Strong national-level plans should be brought in action to deal with such issues.
Written by Aayush Dhungana Forestry student at IOF, Hetauda