What we all need to know about Human-Wildlife Conflict
Human Wildlife Conflicts have prevailed since the dawn of humanity. Back then the conflicts were about survival. But as over time humans have presumed dominance over the ecosystem, the greed of humans to accumulate all the resources instead of sharing it is what drives the conflicts now.
Yet nature has its own rules, regulations and rhythms, and so many a times humans have to face the retaliation of the wild. But it’s not just the humans who face the danger; you will be surprised to know that the world lost two-third of its wildlife in just 50 years and no one but humans are to be blamed for this.
What is Human-Wildlife Conflict?
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) often referred as Man-Animal Conflict is defined as “any human and wildlife interaction which results in negative effects on human social, economic, or cultural life, on wildlife conservation, or on the environment.”
The agriculture sector is the most affected due to such conflicts especially the farmers residing in buffer zones. Several cases of crop raiding by animals like Elephants, Tigers, Deers and Nilgais have been reported which has led to retaliation by many helpless farmers.
Human-Wildlife Conflict is a multifaceted issue as it is very evident that there is suffering on both sides. On one hand we see extinction of different species and their loss of habitat while on the other we see many people losing their lives or means of livelihood. Hence it is necessary to have an empathetic approach towards both, humans and the wildlife.
Farmers have to suffer huge losses every season due to destruction of their crops. One such case is of M Appusamy, a 47 year old farmer of Bhavanisagar whose banana farm was raided by 3 elephants and the damage cost him 1 lakh rupees.
Efforts to Mitigate
To protect their crops, farmers use traditional methods like growing beehives or digging up trenches to keep the stray animals away. But these practices either hurt the animals or reverse its affects on humans.
For example, to keep wild animals away from their farmlands, farmers desperately follow the illegal practice of electric fencing to scare the crop raiders away. But these electric fences have cost the lives of not only animals but of humans as well.
Human-Wildlife Conflicts have very adverse affects on the people who live with it. With an ever increasing suicide/death rate of farmers and an endangered indigenous wildlife, our economy and our ecosystem both are in grave danger. We desperately need a solution to save the wildlife and also cater to the miserable condition of farmers.