Human-wildlife conflict a threat to conservation efforts: Experts

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Human-wildlife conflict a threat to conservation efforts: Experts

Oct 23, 2014-

Conservationists are calling for a legal framework to reduce human-wildlife conflict that is posing a serious obstacle towards long-term biodiversity and wildlife conservation.

While Nepal’s conservation efforts have been hailed globally, particularly for celebrating zero poaching years of endangered rhinos and tigers, the increasing incidences of attacks on humans by wild animals and vice versa is seen as a biggest challenge in the conservation sector.

During the Conference of Parties meeting on the Convention on Biological Diversity that concluded last week in South Korea, Chitwan National Park (CNP), the country’s most populated habitat for tigers and rhinos, among others, was honoured as world’s best protected areas for it successful interventions towards controlling poaching, illegal wildlife trade and community engagement in conservation.

“We have achieved some positive results in the conservation sector thorough coordination, proper implementation of existing policies and programmes and control in poaching and wildlife trade in the recent years,” said Maheshwor Dhakal, an ecologist and spokesperson at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). However, at the same time the increasing cases of killing of humans by animals and the retaliatory actions by people is posing a threat to overall conservation, he said.

Last month, a tiger in the CNP killed two local residents in a week while in another incident, fiver leopards were killed by locals in Pokhara in a week early this year.

A study carried out by Forestry Nepal in 2008 found that 36 tigers killed 88 people from 1979 to 2006 in the CNP alone. The number of human deaths increased significantly from an average of 1.2 per year before 1998 to 7.2 per year from 1998 to 2006. The increment in number of deaths of people by animals was contributed to the restoration of forests along the buffer-zone areas by local communities, according to the study.

According to Dhakal, a meeting was held on Tuesday to discuss various measures to combat the increasing cases of human-wildlife conflict across the protected areas. He said the meeting also stressed on the necessity to formulate a national policy on human-wildlife conflict.

Likewise, experts in the meeting recommended to work in three stages--pre, during and post conflict scenarios. Various preventive and remedial measures such as awareness among local communities, installation of solar fences to avoid people-animal confrontation, among others, are suggested in pre-conflict scenario. Similarly, establishment of an emergency fund to provide prompt rescue and compensation for people attacked by wildlife are part of post-conflict scenario.

Dhakal said the formation of five rescue teams each in five development regions to carry out prompt rescue and rehabilitation efforts are also recommended to be part of the proposed policy.

Published: 24-10-2014 09:19

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