Emergency Conflict Response

Supporting the Karnataka Forest Department and communities in dealing with emergency conflict situation

IUCN and UNEP have recognised human-wildlife conflict as one of the key threats to wildlife conservation, and one of the main reasons for negative attitudes of communities towards wildlife across the globe.

The Western Ghats and Deccan Plateau region are home to a variety of wildlife like tigers, elephants, leopards, dholes, sloth bears, striped hyenas, gaur and many other endangered and vulnerable wildlife species. These habitats are also interspersed with high human densities. In India, a number of forest-fringe communities share the landscape closely with the wildlife of the region. As a result, there are instances of human-wildlife conflict, which can be a cause of concern for both, the communities and the wildlife.

Between 2019 to 2021, the government received close to 4000 applications arising out of conflict situations in the Cauvery and MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuaries landscape. Instances of human-wildlife interactions can sometimes cause severe harm to human life and property. Several species of animals like elephants and leopards also meet an unfortunate death due to electrocution, getting trapped in snares, and targeted killing. Approaching this problem from a holistic perspective becomes crucial to be able to find a lasting solution to it.

The team at HNF is working on mitigating conflict situations through multi-faceted approaches like developing warning systems, support to the Karnataka Forest Department (KFD), the government and communities, capacity building, and targeted outreach. An increase in awareness regarding the wild species and reduced instances of conflicts can help develop a more positive approach towards wildlife among local communities.

A number of times, our team is called by the KFD to help out in the instance of a conflict situation like an animal attack or human death. It is crucial to be well-trained to handle a situation of the sort. Managing people's anxiety and fear, providing well-reasoned next steps and working with the communities and KFD is essential to mitigate or handle the conflict situation.

Human-wildlife conflict awareness programmes are also carried out for local elected representatives, communities, government agencies and media personnel. This is done with the intention to educate a wide variety of stakeholders on reasons and possible solutions for conflict.

In recent years, we have worked with the government closely to increase the ex-gratia amount received by the families of the deceased to Rs. 7.5 lac.

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