Biodiversity Nepal
For the Future Generation

Human-Wildlife Conflict In Nepal: Challenging Issue for Today’s Conservation Strategy

Human-wildlife co-existence and the promotion of sustainable conservation is the essence of today.

Human-Elephant conflict in Bahundangi, Jhapa Source: Global Press Online
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The competition for food and resources create conflict between humans and wildlife. The death caused by retaliation leads to the extinction of wild species. Whereas human losses consist of crop damage, livestock depredation, property damage, and human injury and casualties.

According to a report of the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), 63.4% of human injuries incidences, 36.3% of casualties and 0.4% of harassment due to the attack from the wild animals were recorded. About 92% of the districts in Nepal have reported the incidences of human-wildlife conflict. Wild elephants are responsible for the majority of 70% of human injuries and deaths in Nepal.

Human-wildlife conflict in Banke National Park. source: slideshare.net

From the report of DNPWC, 26 species of animals were identified as human-wildlife conflicts associated with wild animals in Nepal. Among the recorded animals 69% species were mammals and 31% of were reptiles, 7 species of snakes and marsh mugger were associated with human-wildlife conflicts. 

According to Gopal Khanal (2020), a snow leopard researcher, the retaliatory killing of the cats by local communities is the most prominent threat they face. “Nepal does not have a large elephant population, but they are facing threats due to human-wildlife conflict and habitat encroachment,” said Dinesh Neupane, research director at Resources Himalaya Foundation who had a decade of experience in human-elephant conflict dynamics.

Conflicts become extremely controversial when people are attacked by endangered and legally protected species. Injury, death and property loss due to attacks result in retaliation often in the form of killing and torturing the animals involved in the conflict.

Many already endangered Large mammals such as Snow Leopard, Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Elephant and One-horned Rhinoceros are involved in the conflict with humans. So, the retaliatory killing of which further increases their extinction risk. The penalties for illegally killing endangered animals may further escalate hostile attitudes towards conservation efforts.

Government and non-government wildlife monitoring authorities must continue to engage with the local communities of affected areas to find better ways to manage human-wildlife conflicts.  Exploration of new ways of strengthening human-wildlife coexistence through technological interventions, nature-based solutions, community awareness and relief support can be a critical step in years ahead. 

For the transformation of our wildlife resources into the national treasury from sustainable management, we must consider Profiles on the status, distribution and conservation threats; and qualitative/quantitative and spatial analysis of protected and human-wildlife conflicts associated with wild animals in Nepal. 

Hence, improved strategies are urgently needed for human-wildlife co-existence and the promotion of sustainable conservation.

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