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Livestock Owners-Wildlife Conflict: A Review from India

BY: Dr. H. R. Meena | Category: Issues | Submitted: 2016-07-20 00:37:39
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Article Summary: "The interaction between human and wildlife results in human-wildlife conflict which is one of the major problems experienced by livestock owners in vicinity of protected areas. Livestock Owners-Wildlife Conflict (LOWC) is a global issue, which has been serious threat all over the world. The conflict results in severe impacts on .."


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Livestock owners-wildlife Conflict: A Review from India
Authors: Dr. H. R. Meena, Mukesh Kumar and A. P. Verma
Dairy Extension Division, ICAR-NDRI, Karnal-132001


Introduction

Livestock owners-Wildlife Conflict (LOWC) is a serious threat to the survival of many endangered species in the world and causes both direct and indirect costs for human beings. Conflicts between humans and wildlife is not only a local or regional issue, but must be considered a global raising issue. Human-Wildlife Conflict occurs when wildlife requirements overlap with those of human populations, creating costs both to residents and wild animals (IUCN World Parks Congress, 2003). Depredations on domestic animals are the most common type of livestock owners-wildlife conflict. Wild animals readily kill livestock and other domesticated animals in areas where wild prey are depleted, usually due to hunting, habitat degradation and competition with livestock (Madhusudan & Mishra, C., 2003). Livestock owners-Wildlife Conflict is any negative interaction between wildlife and humans which causes harm, whether it is to the human, livestock, the wild animal or property. Conflict with human is a worldwide issue in conservation of wildlife (Nowell and Jackson, 1996; Bagchi and Mishra, 2004) and more intense in the developing countries where livestock holdings and agriculture are an important part of rural people's livelihoods and incomes. When wild animals enter human-dominated areas, it is not a conflict per se, but such events might be a precursor to conflict and receive considerable attention from local people, who often request intervention from government authorities and, hence, are considered LOWC (Nugraha & Sugardjito 2009; Goodrich et al. 2010) that arises mainly because of the loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitats through human activities such as, logging, animal husbandry, agricultural expansion, and developmental projects (Fernando et al. 2005). With increasing population and pressure on forest areas, human-wildlife interaction and resultant conflict is also increasing (Zubiri & Switzer, 2001) and causes serious economic and social losses by preying on livestock, causing damage to property and general community insecurity, and in exceptional cases, human injury or death (Madhusudan and Mishra, 2003; Distefano, 2005; Ogra and Badola, 2008; Lee, 2011).

OVERVIEW OF LIVESTOCK OWNERS-WILDLIFE CONFLICT

In recent day the conflict between wildlife and human is extending owing to increasing human population, loss of natural habitats for wildlife and gradual increase in their population due to successful conservation efforts of Indian government after the implication of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. LOWC has traditionally been viewed to occur 'when the needs and behavior of wildlife impact negatively on the goals of humans or when the goals of humans negatively impact the needs of wildlife' (Madden, 2004). LOWC occurs when humans or wildlife damage or threaten one another in the course of pursuing their needs or interests. It includes wildlife threatens, attacks, injures, or kills humans, as well as cases where wildlife threatens, attacks, injures, or destroys their livestock, crops or property. LOWC moreover occurs when livestock owners intentionally injure, abuse, or kill wildlife because of perceived or actual threats to their property, livelihoods, communities, or family. Agricultural losses, livestock depredation or killing to wildlife can create significant financial losses and hardship for farmers. In India, densely populated human landscapes and wildlife habitats often overlap and the resultant crunch of space and resources adversely affect both humans and wildlife (Madhusudan and Mishra, 2003). Woodroffe et al. (2005) reported in Northern Kenya that Conflicts between wildlife and humans are increasing worldwide, especially in and around protected areas and also revealed that human-carnivore conflicts are universal and people's near ubiquitous negative behaviour to carnivores in the conflicts are a major challenge to biodiversity conservation. Fernando et al. (2005) and Kushwaha & Hazarika (2004) described that the growing human population in Assam and increasing demand for land rights is resulting in continual habitat fragmentation through unsustainable extraction of forest products and agriculture, causing conflict between elephants and people.

Wang and Macdonald (2006) in Bhutan expressed that Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) is a common phenomenon from the ancient times and has become a significant problem throughout the world and also revealed that Subsequent increases in wildlife populations resulted in increased threats to humans, crops, and livestock and also revealed that farmers bear heavy losses in terms of property damage by wildlife; crop loss by direct feeding and destruction; the loss of use of arable land due to fear of crop damage; livestock depredation by wildlife; and harassment, injury, or death of local people. Parker et al. (2007) reported in Africa that Elephants are more dangerous than other herbivore species, causing more human deaths and injuries and as a result they often elicit fear in rural communities. Kilpatrick et al. (2009) in America revealed that Interactions between wildlife and domestic livestock have created conflict for centuries because of pathogen transmission, competition for space and food, and predation.

Dickman (2010) identified in UK that despite decades of research and significant financial resources invested, we still lack a fundamental understanding of which ecological and social factors drive human-wildlife conflicts. MOEF (2011) reported that Human-elephant conflict is major threat to the Asian elephant. Nearly 400 people and 100 elephants lose their lives due to this conflict every year. Singh, YV (2012) reported in Vidarbha Region of Maharashtra that decreased prey base in protected area which was caused by poaching of herbivores has resulted in carnivores moving out of forest in search of prey and indulge in cattle lifting.

Human-Wildlife Conflict Manifestation around the world

Human-wildlife conflict is a global problem that is experienced especially in areas where people and wildlife share limited resources (Musimbi, 2013) and also shares boundaries (Eniang et al., 2011). Human-wildlife conflict is more intensive in developing countries where agriculture is a major source of livelihood for the rural people (Eniang et al., 2011; Musimbi, 2013). Wildlife damage represents a very real and tangible threat to livelihoods in terms of personal injury, crop and livestock losses, and property damage (Happold 1995; Emerton 2001; Choudhury 2004; Dublin & Hoare 2004; Madden 2004; Graham et al. 2005).

CHARACTERIZATION AND IMPACTS OF HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT

CONFLICT DRIVING FORCES:


A set of global trends has contributed to the escalation of LOWC worldwide. These can be grouped into livestock grazing in vicinity of protected areas, human population growth, land use transformation, species habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, growing interest in ecotourism and increasing access to nature reserves, increasing livestock populations and competitive exclusion of wild herbivores, abundance and distribution of wild prey, increasing wildlife population.

Livestock grazing: Livestock grazing in forests leads to human-wildlife conflict as carnivores are attracted towards the easy prey and become direct enemies of livestock graziers. Grazing by livestock has severely threatened our wildlife and their habitats in various ways. The most noticeable effect is the decline of wild herbivore populations as they have to compete with livestock for their food source.

Growing Human population: Human population growth has lead to encroachment into wildlife habitats, constriction of species into marginal habitat patches and direct competition with local communities (IUCN, World Park Congress, 2003). Many settlements have come up near the peripheries of protected areas, encroaching the forest areas and using it for their own benefit.

Habitat fragmentation and shrinkage - All the aforesaid reasons contribute to fragmentation of large habitats and shrinking sizes of forest patches. This makes that landscape unviable for wild animals as their needs are not fulfilled. As a result of which they wander in nearby areas searching for resources.

References:

1. Bagchi, S. and Mishra, C. (2004). Living with large carnivores: snow leopard predation on livestock in the Spiti Trans-Himalaya. CERC Technical Report No. 11. Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, and International Snow Leopard Trust, Seattle.
2. Choudhury, A. (2004). Human-elephant conflicts in northeast India. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 9(4):261-270.
3. Dickman, A.J. (2010). Complexities of conflict: the importance of considering social factors for effectively resolving human-wildlife conflict. Animal Conservation.13 (5), 458-466.
4. Distefano, E., (2005). Human-wildlife conflict worldwide: a collection of case studies, analysis of management strategies and good practices. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) paper. (web document) http://www.fao.org/sard/common/ecg/1357/en/hwc_final.pdf
5. Dublin, H.T. and R.E. Hoare. (2004). Searching for solutions: the evolution of an integrated approach to understanding and mitigating human-elephant conflict in Africa. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 9(4):271-278.
6. Emerton, L. (2001). The nature of benefits and the benefits of nature: why wildlife conservation has not economically benefited communities in Africa. In: African Wildlife & Livelihoods: the Promise & Performance of Community Conservation (eds. D. Hulme and M. Murphree), pp 208-226. David Philip Publ, Cape Town, SA.
7. Eniang, E. A., Ijeomah, H. M., Okeyoyin, G. & Uwatt, A. E. (2011). Assessment of Human-Wildlife Conflicts in Filinga Range of Gashaka Gumti National Park, Nigeria. Publication of Nasarawa State University, Keffi, PAT, 7(1),15-35. Retrieved from http://www.patnsukjournal.net/currentissue.
8. Fernando, P., Wikramanayake E.D., Weerakoon D., Jayasinghe L.K.A., Gunawardene M., Janaka H.K. (2005). Perceptions and patterns of human-elephant conflict in old and new settlements in Sri Lanka: insights for mitigation management. Biodiversity Conservation, 14, 2465-2481.
9. Goodrich JM, Miquelle DG, Smirnov EN, Kerley LL, Quigley HB, Hornocker MG (2010). Spatial structure of Amur (Siberian) tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) on Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Zapovednik, Russia. Journal of Mammalogy 91, 737-48.
10. Graham, K., A.P. Beckerman and S. Thirgood. (2005). Human-predator-prey conflicts: ecological correlates, prey losses and patterns of management. Biological Conservation 122:159-171.
11. Happold, D.C.D. (1995). The interaction between humans and mammals in Africa in relation to conservation: a review. Biodiversity and Conservation 4(4):395-414.
12. IUCN-World Conservation Union, (2003): Red List of Threatened Species [www Document] Available At: Http://www.Redlist.Org/retrieved on 18th may 2016
13. Kilpatrick, A.M., Gillin, M. C., Daszak, P. (2009) Wildlife-livestock conflict: the risk of pathogen transmission from bison to cattle outside Yellowstone National Park Journal of applied ecology, 46, 476-485.
14. Lee T. (2011). A Review of Compensation Programs for Livestock in Southwestern Alberta. Prepared for: Chinook Areas Land Users Association & WATERTON Biosphere Reserve. Miistakis Institute. University of Calgary. Calgary, AB. Canada. Pp. 35.
15. Madden, F. (2004). Creating coexistence between humans and wildlife: global perspectives on local efforts to address human-wildlife conflict. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 9(4):247-258.
16. Madhusudan M.D. & Mishra C. (2003). Why big, f ierce animals are threatened: conserving large mammals in denselypopulated landscapes. I M. Rangarajanand V. Saberwal eds.: Battles over nature: the science and politics of conservation in India. Permanent Black, New Delhi.
17. Ministry of Environment and Forests report. (2011). Gajah: Securing The Future For The Elephant In India.pp3.
18. Musimbi, M. (2013). Factors Influencing Human-wildlife Conflict in Communities around the Park: A Case of Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya. Masters' thesis, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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20. Nugraha RT, Sugardjito J. (2009). Assessment and management options of human-tiger conflicts in Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia. Mammal Study 34, 141-54.
21. Ogra, M., and Badola, R. (2008). Compensating Human Wildlife Conflict in Protected Area Communities: Ground level perspectives from Uttarakhand, India. Human Ecology 36, 717-729.
22. Parker, G.E., Osborn F.V., Hoare R.E., Niskanen L.S., editors. (2007). Human-elephant conflict mitigation: a training course for community-based approaches in Africa. Participant's manual. Elephant Pepper Development Trust, Livingstone, Zambia nd IUCN/SSC AFESG, Nairobi, Kenya.
23. Singh, YV. (2012). A Study of Human-Wildlife Conflicts in Eastern Vidarbha Region of Maharashtra. Working plan. pp8.
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26. Zubri, C. and Switzer, D. (2001). Crop raiding primates: searching for alternative human ways to resolve conflict with farmers in Africa. People and Wildlife Initiative Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Oxford University.


About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently working as Senior Scientist in Dairy Extension Division, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal-132001 Haryana (India). I have also worked with ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243122 Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh (India) as Scientist for 10 year. Also a recipient of the ICAR's prestigious "The Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Outstanding Extension Scientist Award" in social science.

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