Drishti IAS
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Human Wildlife Conflict
Oct 18, 2016

As human populations expand and natural habitats shrink, people and animals are increasingly coming into conflict over living space and food.

Why this conflict

  • Habitat fragmentation and shrinking of habitat : This give rise to shrinking of space, food etc in the forest which is required for the wild animals which result in animals stray out of habitat in search of food, water or shelter. This habitat fragmentation may be result of many reasons, for example, Construction of roads especially big Highways and canals passing through dense jungles and the big mines
  • Encroachment in the forest lands by local people: It has resulted in shrinkage of wildlife habitats especially on the fringes which has increased the pressure on the limited natural resources in the forest areas.
  • Increased disturbance due to collection of fuel wood, fodder, NTFPs, water etc. from the forests has also increased the incidences of man-animal conflict.
  • Increase in area under cultivation around wildlife habitats and changed cropping pattern : These have also contributed to increased man-animal conflict. People have started growing commercial crops like sugarcane and banana, which provide good hiding place for the wild animals like wild boar, sloth bear and panther.
  • Water scarcity:
  • In some forest areas, the number of wild animals especially prolific breeders like wild pig has increased beyond the carrying capacity of the habitat concerned. Hence wild animals stray out of forests cause man-animal conflict
  • Decreasing prey base: Decreased prey base caused by poaching of herbivores has resulted in carnivores moving out of forest in search of prey and indulge in cattle lifting.

What measures could be taken:

  • Legal route: Wildlife management in India is carried out under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, which is strongly preservationist in nature. The Act makes it virtually illegal to kill or capture wild animals even when problem animals are involved in severe conflict situations. Only government officials or agents authorized by the Chief Wildlife Warden can authorize such killings or captures. While admirable in their intent, these strict legal provisions make it very difficult for local wildlife managers to deal effectively with urgent, life-threatening situations of human–tiger conflict.
  • Guarding, barriers and aversive conditioning: For example Agriculture fields situated near wildlife habitat/forest areas can be protected by stone fencing or solar fencing.
  • Controlling poaching : Poaching of wild animals should be stopped so that the no of wild animals can stabilize at its carrying capacity which would reach equilibrium in the ecosystem and this equilibrium between the numbers of prey animals and predators in the forest ecosystem would be maintained.
  • Stop fragmentation of wildlife habitat and wildlife corridors: While going for construction of dams, long canals for irrigation and Highways through the forest areas, we should avoid the fragmentation of wildlife habitat and take proper care so that the connectivity through wildlife corridors is not disturbed.
  • Compensation to victim in case of loss due to wildlife which will lessen the hostility towards wildlife.
  • Awareness Raising – People should be made more and more aware so they should avoid going deep into the forest areas. If they have to go in any case they should go in groups and they should keep talking to each other to detract the wild animals.

    Human Wildlife Conflict


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