Hu­man wild life con­flict still a con­cern for the farm­ers

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Pen­jor

Re­gard­less of tak­ing nu­mer­ous mea­sures by the con­cern agen­cies, hu­man-wildlife con­flict (HWC) is still a con­cern for the farm­ers and brings to many neg­a­tive im­pacts on hu­man in­ter­ests, in­clud­ing loss of in­come, re­duced food se­cu­rity, in­juries and loss of life.

The third tech­ni­cal work­shop on Asia Pro­tected Ar­eas Part­ner­ship (APAP) - a re­gional plat­form that fos­ters col­lab­o­ra­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence shar­ing among gov­ern­ment pro­tected area agen­cies was or­ga­nized with the aims to: give par­tic­i­pants a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of HWC within an over­ar­ch­ing con­cep­tual frame­work; de­velop an over­view of HWC in Asia, in­clud­ing its un­der­ly­ing causes and im­pacts; share ex­pe­ri­ences and lessons from the Asia re­gion; and iden­tify emerg­ing best prac­tice and pri­or­i­ties for the fu­ture.

Though, the mea­sures are tak­ing in place, Sarpang’s Chief Forestry Of­fi­cer , Phub Dhendup said that hu­man-wildlife con­flict is quite se­vere in the coun­try.

He said that as per the state of the na­tion re­port, it had shown that the peo­ple have lost lot of crops and livestock to wild an­i­mal.

As an agrar­ian so­ci­ety, 69 per­cent of pop­u­la­tion de­pends on crop and livestock pro­duc­tion for liveli­hood.

As per the state of the na­tion re­port 2016, 70 per­cent of farmer re­ported of crop dam­aged by wildlife whereas 12 per­cent re­ported of lost of livestock to wildlife.

Re­port also states that 7,542 MT of ce­real crops had been lost to wildlife prior to in­stal­la­tion of elec­tric fenc­ing.

The press re­lease from the depart­ment of forests and park ser­vices stated that for the prox­im­ity of poor, ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties to pro­tected ar­eas in many parts of Asia, and their de­pen­dence on for­est prod­ucts and sub­sis­tence agri­cul­ture, makes them par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to the im­pacts of hu­man-wildlife con­flicts. These ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties - which al­ready have lim­ited liveli­hood op­por­tu­ni­ties - are hence the hard­est hit by con­flicts.

HWC also poses a se­ri­ous threat to bio­di­ver­sity. It un­der­mines pub­lic and po­lit­i­cal sup­port for con­ser­va­tion, and many an­i­mals are killed or in­jured by com­mu­ni­ties in Asia ev­ery year in their ef­forts to pro­tect crops and livestock. In those in­stances in which HWC in­volves threat­ened species (e.g., tigers), the loss of even a few an­i­mals can have long-term con­ser­va­tion im­pli­ca­tions, stated the press re­lease.

Phub Dhendup said that to ad­dress hu­man-wildlife con­flict, cur­rently they are putting in lots

of mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures that in­cludes in­stal­la­tion of elec­tric fenc­ing as a phys­i­cal bar­rier and dig­ging drench be­sides that they are also putting in alarm­ing siren to alert lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“With this we are try­ing to im­ple­ment the safe ap­proach which has been ini­ti­ated by the na­tional plant pro­tec­tion cen­tre whereby, we are try­ing to save the peo­ple and an­i­mals and also en­sure save habi­tat for the an­i­mals,” added Phub Dhendup.

As the peo­ple were de­pen­dent on agri­cul­ture, he said that crop in­surance scheme sys­tems were in­tro­duced in the com­mu­ni­ties as in­ter­ven­tion mea­sures for the loss of livestock and crop dam­ages.

To en­sure sus­tain­abil­ity of the elec­tric fenc­ing, “We bring the com­mu­ni­ties to­gether and give them the own­er­ship of elec­tric fenc­ing and also they have by-laws.”

For the de­vel­op­ment of the by-laws, it was made in con­sul­ta­tion of the com­mu­ni­ties them­selves, he added.

Mean­while, other mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures are also in tak­ing place that in­clude mak­ing trenches, blank fir­ing by foresters. Tra­di­tional meth­ods in­cludes by plac­ing of scar­ing away with torch fires, scare­crow, lo­cal ap­peas­ing meth­ods and ra­dio col­lar­ing.

For the soft ap­proaches, mit­i­ga­tion, it in­cludes com­mu­nity con­ser­va­tion com­mit­tee-in­surance, aware­ness on HWC, Quick Re­sponse Team­from the com­mu­nity and habi­tat en­rich­ment

Mean­while, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 11 APAP mem­ber coun­tries par­tic­i­pated in the work­shop that in­cludes Bhutan, Bangladesh, Cam­bo­dia, In­dia, Ja­pan, Mon­go­lia, Myan­mar, Pak­istan, Repub­lic of Korea, Sri Lanka, and Viet­nam with fi­nan­cial sup­port from the Min­istry of the En­vi­ron­ment Ja­pan, the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment Korea, RGoB, ICIMOD, UNDP Bhutan and WWF Bhutan. Tech­ni­cal sup­port is be­ing pro­vided by the IUCN Species Sur­vival Com­mis­sion’s Task Force on Hu­man-Wildlife Con­flict.

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