To address the rising occurrences of Human-Animal conflict, the Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change recently recommended establishing an advisory group of specialists in its report. What is meant by Animal-human conflict? Why are they growing? What are the outcomes of Human-animal conflict? Read the article to know more about the Human-Animal conflict.
The conflict between humans and wildlife (HWC) arises when animals directly and repeatedly endanger human lives or safety.
Many other species groups, including elephants, pigs, deer, monkeys, sharks, birds of prey, and rhinos, as well as the majority of large carnivores are impacted by HWC.
The second-largest human population in the world, along with sizable numbers of tigers, Asian elephants, one-horned rhinos, Asiatic lions, and other species, make India one of the most affected nations.
Although people and wildlife have coexisted for millennia, HWC is now a major global concern for both development and conservation. It is also becoming more regular, serious, and pervasive.
Why are they growing?
- Increasing interaction: As human populations and space demands rise, people and wildlife are interacting more and vying for the same resources, leading to more human-wildlife conflict.For instance: In order to fulfil the increasing demand, agricultural and plantation buffer zones between human settlements and woods are being destroyed, which has increased the interface with animals.
- Fragmentation of habitats: The loss of animal life and fragmentation of natural habitats are the results of development operations such as building roads and railroads across animal habitats.
- Land use changes: The construction of communities near woods and the building of reservoirs have changed the natural habitat of animals, which has caused them to shift their behaviour and migratory paths.For instance: Illegal buildings along the Nilgiri elephant corridor are a key contributing factor to elephant assaults in the area.
- Climate change: As a result of increased flooding, forest fires, and droughts brought on by climate change, animals are now being forced to abandon their natural habitats in search of food and shelter. For instance, during monsoons, animals in Kaziranga National Park shift to higher ground as a result of rising water levels. Due to the dense population in the Karbi-Anglong Hills, there are more interactions between humans and wildlife.
- There are only 9.67% of worldwide protected areas on land and in the sea. As a result, most of the species don’t dwell in protected areas. For instance, 35% of the tiger ranges in India are currently outside of protected areas.
- Increase of Alien Invasive Species: Wild herbivores’ access to food has decreased as a result of invasive plants like Prosopis juliflora and Lantana camara infesting forests. Herbivores leave the forest to graze on agricultural crops as a result.
- Conservation efforts’ success: Successes in species conservation have occasionally led to the development of a new HWC.For instance, the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972’s ban on hunting has caused the population of vermin like wild boars and nilgai to explode. Due to their incursion into farmlands, as a result, there have been major crop failures.
- Poaching: When predators’ prey base is reduced due to illegal poaching, it compels them to forage in adjacent villages. This causes these carnivores to kill cattle, putting them in confrontation with people.
Outcomes OF Human-Animal conflict
- Loss of life and livelihood: Human-wildlife conflict causes species to become extinct while posing dangers to communities’ property, livelihoods, health, and safety.
- Loss of biodiversity: Conflict between people and animals is one of the biggest risks to biodiversity, according to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
- Disease transmission: Many zoonotic diseases are transmitted through wild animals. A rise in HWC could lead to the transmission of new diseases to people that are comparable to COVID-19. For instance, the Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), often known as monkey fever, has been blamed for a number of deaths in the Shivamogga district of Karnataka state in recent years and fruit bats are thought to be the source of the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala.
- A difficulty for conservation efforts: Conflicts that recur make people less interested in protecting forests and wildlife, which has an impact on conservation efforts.
- Impact on Sustainable Development: Though not specifically listed, HWC is a crucial theme for achieving the objectives of biodiversity conservation, especially SDG 15. (life on land).
- HWC occasionally causes social outrages and calls into question the course of human growth and development, which has an impact on societal morality. For example, a national outcry was caused when a pregnant elephant died in Kerala in May 2020 after eating pineapples that had been loaded with firecrackers.
Human-Animal conflict can be controlled by adopting measures for protecting wildlife in India.
Measures for protecting wildlife in India
- The 1972 Wildlife Protection Act: According to the Act, the government has established Protected Areas such as National Parks, Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves, and Community Reserves and has placed sanctions on individuals who engage in illegal hunting. The six schedules make up the protection status of numerous plants and animals under the Act.
- NBWL, the National Board for Wildlife: In accordance with the WPA’s 1972 rules, NBWL was established. It serves as the principal authority for examining all issues involving wildlife and approving projects in and near national parks and sanctuaries. The promotion of conservation and development of wildlife and forests is the responsibility of the NBWL, which is presided over by the prime minister.
- To stop the criminal trade in wildlife and endangered species, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) was founded under the WPA in 1972.
- Institutions for doing research: To carry out research on wildlife conservation, specialised organisations like the Wildlife Institute of India, the Bombay Natural History Society, and the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History were founded.
- Conservation Programs: Specific projects have been devised, such as Project Tiger, Project Elephant, and Project Rhino, to stop the population decline and safeguard important species.
- Eco-sensitive zones: The term “Eco-Sensitive Zone” refers to a delicate area that is 10 kilometres away from a protected area, such as a national park or a wildlife sanctuary. To act as a sort of shock absorber around the protected regions, an Eco-Sensitive Zone is designated.
- Project RE-HAB: To prevent elephant attacks on human settlements using honey bees and so minimise the loss of both human and elephant lives, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees). Under the National Honey Mission of KVIC, Project RE-HAB is a sub-mission.
- While Project RE-HAB employs bee boxes as a fence to deter elephant attacks, the Honey Mission uses apiaries to improve bee populations, honey output, and beekeepers’ revenue. In March 2021, the pilot project was started at four places near the village of Chelur in the Karnataka district of Kodagu.
- The conflict between people and nature will always exist. As a result, improving the safety of people and wildlife while fostering cohabitation should be the main objective of HWC management.
- To help communities who live near forests lessen their reliance on them, the government should promote socioeconomic development and offer them alternatives for sustainable livelihoods.
- The government should give communities the technical know-how and organisational support they need to integrate coexistence into their planning and management.
- In order to promote sustainable coexistence, conservation plans for species that are prone to the conflict must take into account both current conditions and potential future conflicts.
- Interdisciplinary approaches are crucial for comprehending the nature of a given dispute, identifying what is required for its resolution, and ensuring access to the appropriate expertise and resources.
- In order to generate synergies in HWC management and HWC risk prevention, strategic partnerships between governments, humanitarian, and conservation organisations should be developed.
- In order to obtain the best results for health and wellbeing, one health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and trans-disciplinary strategy that takes into account the links among people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.
- HWC should be acknowledged as a crucial region for sustainable development and wildlife preservation. In order to realise the 2050 vision of “living in peace with nature,” human-wildlife coexistence must be incorporated into the implementation of the SDG framework and made an official goal of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) process.
Article Witten By :Atheena Fathima Riyas