Human-Wildlife Conflict

Human-Wildlife Conflict

News: Union Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change released 14 guidelines to address HumanWildlife Conflict (HWC).

What is HWC?
 HWC refers to struggles arising due to direct, recurring threats to human interests or needs posed by wildlife.

Causes of HWC:
 Habitat Loss and habitat degradation
 Change in cropping patterns
 Growth of animal population
 Movement of animals to human dominated landscapes
 Movement of human beings to forests for illegal collection of forest produce.
 Expansion of road/rail networks to forests
 Increasing human settlement near periphery of protected areas
 Lack of protected area – In India, 35% tiger ranges currently lie outside protected areas.
 Wildlife borne infections

Impacts of HWC:
 HWC can have permanent impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity. People might kill animals in self-defence, or as preemptive or retaliatory killings, which can drive species involved in conflict to extinction.
 The most evident and direct negative impacts to people from wildlife are injuries and the loss of lives and of livestock, crops, or other property.
 The economic and psychological costs of living with wildlife disproportionately fall to those who live near that wildlife, while the benefits of a species’ survival are distributed to other communities as well.
 222 elephants killed by electrocution between 2018-19 and 2020-21; 29 tigers killed by poaching between 2019 and 2021; 1,579 humans killed by elephants between 2019-20 and 2021-22

About Guidelines:
 The guidelines are developed under the Indo-German cooperation project on HWC Mitigation. The guidelines are advisory in nature. A review of these guidelines is planned to take place every five years from 2023 onwards.
 10 species-specific Guidelines - Guidelines for Mitigating Human-Elephant, -Gaur, -Leopard, -Snake, - Crocodile, -Rhesus Macaque, -Wild Pig, -Bear, -Blue Bull and -Blackbuck Conflict; and
 4 guidelines on cross-cutting issues-
 Guidelines for Cooperation between the Forest and Media sector in India - Towards effective communication on Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation
 Occupational Health and Safety in the Context of Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation
 Crowd Management in Human-Wildlife Conflict-Related Situations
 Addressing Health Emergencies and Potential Health Risks Arising Out of Human—Wildlife Conflict Situations - Taking a One Health Approach.

What initiatives have been taken to prevent HWC in India?
 The Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife (SC-NBWL) has issued advisory for management of HWC in India.
 The committee suggested for empowering gram panchayats, involve local communities in conservation, providing insurance cover against crop damaged due to HWC conflict, augmenting fodder and provide instant relief.

Way Forward
 The need of the hour is to move from conflict to co-existence. For example, Cultural Model of Conservation followed by Maldhari Tribe in Junagadh (Gujarat) where success of lion conservation in the Gir forest area is due to the peaceful coexistence of tribes with lions.
 Holistic HWC management approaches allow species to survive in areas where they otherwise would have declined or become extinct.

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