Capacity building for management of Human- wildlife conflict
Authors: Mukesh Kumar and Pampi Paul

HWC is a common phenomenon from the past and has become a significant problem throughout the world (Wang & Macdonald, 2006). Human-wildlife conflicts also undermine human welfare, health and safety, and have economic and social costs.

Driving forces to Human-wildlife conflicts:

There are so many cases of human-wildlife conflicts recorded where wildlife threatens, attacks, injures or kills human or destroys their livestock, agricultural crops or property. A set of global trends has contributed to the escalation of HWC worldwide. These can be grouped into human population growth, rapid urbanization, 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 as a result of conservation programmes, climatic factors and stochastic events. Human-wildlife conflict also occurs when humans deliberately injure, abuse or kill wildlife because of distinguish or actual threats to their property, livelihoods, lifestyle, person or family.

Human wildlife conflict scenario: Worldwide Retrospect

Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) is a serious threat to the survival of many endangered species and serious obstacles to wildlife conservation efforts worldwide and causes both direct and indirect costs for human beings. Conflicts are becoming more prevalent as human populations increase and diversify, development expands, resources shrink, the global climate changes, and other human, societal and environmental factors put people into greater potential for conflict with wildlife. Human-wildlife conflict occurs when wildlife requirements encroach on those of human populations, with costs both to residents and wild animals (IUCN, 2005). Destruction and loss of food crops, livestock depredation and human harassment are direct costs of livestock owners -wildlife conflict (LWC). LWC is not restricted to particular geographical regions or climatic conditions, but is common to all areas where wildlife and human population coexist and share limited resources. Dense human population in close vicinity to nature reserves seems to pose the greatest challenges in many countries (Western, 1989). If solutions to conflicts are not adequate, local support for conservation of wildlife declines. All continents and countries whether developed or developing, are affected by human wildlife conflict.

Building Management Capacity for Individuals, Groups, Organizations, and Institutions:

Most broadly, in a global context, "capacity" refers to the ability of individuals and institutions to make and implement decisions and perform functions in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner. More narrowly, the GEF (UNEP) defines environmental capacity as the ability of individuals, groups, organizations and institutions to address environmental issues as part of a range of efforts to achieve sustainable development. Further, the GEF (UNEP) defines capacity building (also called capacity development) as the process by which capacity in environment and appropriate institutional structures are enhanced. Capacity building, whatever the sector, encompasses a country's human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional, and resources capabilities.

Capacity building addresses at least three levels: individual, organizational, and societal level. Individual capacity is the ability of individuals to learn, gain knowledge and skills that can be expanded when new opportunities arise. Individual capacity also address the not insignificant problem of ensuring that the right people are in place, that is, highly motivated, decent individuals who are committed to excellence. Organizational capacity is about people working together on a common cause, including building institutional capacity and reforms that are owned and driven by countries themselves. Organizations can be formal, such as a government agency or an NGOs, or informal such as people's cooperatives, network of associations, and business or professional groups. Societal capacity refers to the overall incentive environment as well as the rules and norms under which people and organizations operate. Societal capacity also refers to the broader political and cultural environment, and the civil engagement of societal actors. It includes the ability of societies as a whole to allow and support the use and growth of individual people's capacities and to prevent loss of skills or brain drain of countries.

With the wild animals as the focus of concern and an umbrella species like tiger, leopard, elephant etc. capacity building refers to investment in people, organizations, and societies so practice and policy enable countries to achieve their biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability objectives. It requires a coordinated process of deliberate interventions at all levels. Too often, training at the individual level, however effective in enhancing knowledge and skills, is wasted because the organizational structures are not in place to allow individuals to implement what they have learned, and/or society insufficiently values the results. For example, a protected area manager may successfully interdict poachers but the justice system may not work to effectively prosecute offenders and society may not value wildlife enough to impose meaningful punishments.

References:

1. Western, D. (1989). Conservation without parks: wildlife in the rural landscape. Pages 158 - 165 in D. Western, and M. C. Pearl, editors. Conservation for the Twenty-First Century. Oxford University Press, Oxford. U.K.
2. IUCN. (2005). Preventing and Mitigating Human-Wildlife Conflicts: Report of the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress.
3. Wang, S. W. & Macdonald D, W. (2006). Livestock predation by carnivores in Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, Bhutan, Biological Conservation, 129, 558-565.


About Author / Additional Info:
Authors are Ph.D. scholar in Dairy Extension Division, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal-132001 Haryana (India).