Human wild life conflict still a concern for the farmers
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.