Human-Wildlife Conflict


    In News

    A new report released by WWF and UNEP has found that 35 per cent of India’s tiger ranges currently lie outside protected areas.


    • The report is titled A Future for All – A Need for Human-Wildlife Coexistence.
    • It examines increasing human-wildlife conflict.
    • It features contributions from 155 experts from 40 organisations based in 27 countries.

    Key Findings

    • Less Protected Areas: 
      • The report has found that marine and terrestrial protected areas only cover 9.67 per cent globally.
      • With most of these protected areas disconnected from each other, many species depend on human-dominated spaces for their survival and shared landscapes. 
      • These areas play an increasingly important role in the survival of key species such as large predators and herbivores
    • Human-Animal Conflict:
      • conflict-related killing affects more than 75 per cent of the world’s wild cat species. 
      • Polar bears and Mediterranean monk seals as well as large herbivores such as elephants are affected.
      • The conflict between people and animals is one of the main threats to the long-term survival of some of the world’s most emblematic species. 
    • Falling Population: Global wildlife populations have fallen an average of 68 per cent since 1970.
    • Covid 19 and Zoonotic Diseases:
      • The COVID-19 pandemic – sparked by a zoonotic disease that very likely originated in wild animals and then spread to people
      • Zoonoses, diseases transmitted from wildlife to humans and vice versa… is driven by the close association of people, their livestock, and wildlife and by the unregulated consumption of wild animals.

    India specific Data

    • Rising Human-Animal Conflict: Over 500 elephants were killed between 2014 and 2015 and 2018 and 2019, most related to human-elephant conflict. 
      • During the same period, 2,361 people were killed as a result of conflict with elephants.
      • They are restricted to just 3-4% of their original habitat
      • Their remaining range is plagued by deforestation, invasive species and climate change. This causes animals to move out for food thereby causing conflicts.
    • Interactions between them: These pressures intensify the interactions between people and wildlife because they often share living space without a clear demarcation of boundaries.
    • Most affected country: India will be most affected as it has the world’s second-largest human population as well as large populations of tigers, Asian elephants, one-horned rhinos, Asiatic lions and other species.
    • Animals living outside protected areas: Apart from India’s tigers, 40 per cent of the African lion range and 70 per cent of the African and Asian elephant ranges fall outside protected areas.


    • Human-Wildlife Conflict: Increasing challenges faced driven by-
      • development pressures 
      • increasing population, 
      • high demand for land and natural resources, 
      • resulting in loss, fragmentation, and degradation of wildlife habitats.
    • Unregulated consumption of wildlife animals: COVID 19 is an example of such transmission of zoonotic diseases from wild to humans, living together.
    • Ignored by the policymakers: Human-animal conflict, despite being strongly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), continues to be overlooked by policymakers. 

    Way Forward

    • Completely eradicating human-wildlife conflict is not possible as of now. 
    • But well-planned, integrated approaches to managing it can reduce conflicts and lead to a form of coexistence between people and animals.

    Best Practice/Model

    • WWF India had developed the ‘Sonitpur Model’ during 2003-2004
    • In this, community members were connected with the state forest department. 
    • They were given training on how to work with them to drive elephants away from crop fields safely.
    • Afterwards, crop losses dropped to zero for four years running. Human and elephant deaths also reduced significantly.
    • WWF India had developed a low-cost, single strand, non-lethal electric fence to ease the guarding of crops from elephants.

    World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

    • WWF is an independent conservation organization
    • With over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. 
    • Its mission is 
      • To stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and 
      • To build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, 
      • Conserving the world’s biological diversity, 
      • Ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable 
      • Promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. 

    United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP)

    • UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. 
    • It was established after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in June 1972.
    • It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
    • Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya.

    Sources: IE