, Volume 52, Issue 6, pp 1320-1332
Date: 13 Sep 2013

Living with Wildlife and Mitigating Conflicts Around Three Indian Protected Areas

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Abstract

Crop and livestock losses to wildlife are a concern for people neighboring many protected areas (PAs) and can generate opposition to conservation. Examining patterns of conflict and associated tolerance is important to devise policies to reduce conflict impacts on people and wildlife. We surveyed 398 households from 178 villages within 10 km of Ranthambore, Kanha, and Nagarahole parks in India. We compared different attitudes toward wildlife, and presented hypothetical response scenarios, including killing the problem animal(s). Eighty percent of households reported crop losses to wildlife and 13 % livestock losses. Higher crop loss was associated with more cropping months per year, greater crop variety, and more harvest seasons per year but did not vary with proximity to the PA, suggesting that PAs are not necessarily “sources” for crop raiders. By contrast, complaints of “depredating carnivores” were associated with people-grazing animals and collecting resources from PAs. Many households (83 %) engaged in mitigation efforts. We found that only fencing and guard animals reduce crop losses, and no efforts to lower livestock losses. Contrary to our expectations, carnivores were not viewed with more hostility than crop-raiding wildlife. Households reported greater inclination to kill herbivores destroying crops or carnivores harming people, but not carnivores preying on livestock. Our model estimated crop loss was 82 % across surveyed households (highest in Kanha), while the livestock loss experienced was 27 % (highest in Ranthambore). Our comparative study provides insights into factors associated with conflict loss and tolerance, and aids in improving ongoing conservation and compensation efforts.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-013-0190-x.