KATHMANDU, AUGUST 22
Nepal's unique geographical formation and rich bio-diversity harbour different species of wild animals. Nepal has made some remarkable achievements in the conservation of wildlife, but multiple factors continue to threaten their survival. Among them, the human-wildlife conflict is an undeniable threat.
It is a conflict that arises from competition between human and wild animals for food and resources. Such conflicts result in two types of loss: first is wildlife death or harm, which could lead to species extinction.
The second, or human aspect of loss, is destruction of crops, livestock, property, and sometimes even life.
Human dominated landscapes and areas not included within the protected areas are the major conflict hotspots in Nepal. About 90 per cent of the districts in Nepal have incidences of wildlife-human conflict.
The human transformation of the landscapes and ecosystem for residential purpose, farming and infrastructural development has fragmented the wild habitat. Human activities have restricted their movement, migration, reproduction and breeding pattern. Issues such as loss of extraction rights and losses due to wildlife interference, without proper financial compensation, have been highlighted as the root causes of conflict between the local communities and conservation programmes.
In Nepal, several management approaches and efforts to mitigate conflicts have been practised. The government in 2010 endorsed the Wildlife Damage Relief Guidelines 2066, which saw its third amendment in 2073 BS to provide support to wildlife victims. Monetary compensation is provided for human casualties, injuries as well as loss of domestic animals and property due to wildlife attacks.
A buffer zone relief fund has been created in Chitwan, Bardiya and Suklaphanta national parks. The community-based Snow Leopard Insurance Scheme has been practised in the Kanchenjunga conservation area. Solar electric fencing in the Koshi Tappu protected area has proved effective in mitigating conflicts.
These mitigation strategies have helped to reduce conflict locally, but the intended result at the national level has not been seen yet. Research and studies on the pattern and fatalities of conflict in a vast and variant geographical region should be conducted to reduce the frequency of conflicts. Wildlife corridors in human dominant areas and animal migratory routes should be constructed.
The residents should be educated and trained about animal behaviours. The cost of conflict is always a loss, so we should act to change conflict to collaboration.
A version of this article appears in the print on August 23 2021, of The Himalayan Times.