“If you talk to most heads of state of governments or national parks they’ll tell you that their biggest
problem is not poaching, its human-wildlife conflict. Elephants coming into crop lands, destroying crops, killing people, antagonizing everybody, and then making them very unwelcome”
Dr. Eric Dinerstein, Head of the Biodiversity and wildlife solutions program at Resolve.
Protecting means first of all Coexisting.
As human populations expand and natural habitats shrink, people and animals are increasingly coming into conflict over living space and food. From birds around airports endangering aircrafts, to grazing battles, elephants entering villages and destroying crops in Africa, orangutans damaging Palm oil plantations, wolves and bears killing livestock in Europe, or baboons and lions killing cattle in Namibia.
Human–wildlife conflict is defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as "any interaction between humans and wildlife that results in negative impacts on human social, economic or cultural life, on the conservation of wildlife populations, or on the environment.” It occurs when growing human populations overlap with established wildlife territory, creating reduction of resources or life to some people and/or wild animals. The conflict takes many forms ranging from damage to equipment, loss of life or injury to humans, and animals both wild and domesticated, to competition for scarce resources to loss and degradation of habitat.
Earlier Conflict management strategies comprised lethal control, translocation, and regulation of population size and preservation of endangered species. Recent management approaches attempt to use scientific research for better management outcomes, such as behavior modification and reducing interaction. As human-wildlife conflicts inflict direct, indirect and opportunity costs, the mitigation of human-wildlife conflict is an important issue in the management of biodiversity and protected areas.
This Conflict between people and animals is one of the main threats to the continued survival of many species in different parts of the world, and a source of a significant threat to human populations, which decreases any support for protection or conservation, and even drives the killing of many threatened or endangered species by local populations.
The aim of conflict resolution or management is to reduce the potential for human-wildlife conflicts in order to protect life and limb, safety and security of animal populations, habitat and general biodiversity, and also to minimize damage to property. The preference is always for passive, non-intrusive prevention measures but often active intervention is required to be carried out in conjunction.
Potential solutions to these conflicts include various methods and technologies beyond the previous mentioned, beginning with simple “chili pepper” planted around crop areas to stop elephant intrusion, automatic blinking lights systems to stave off lions from cattle in Kenya, automatic radars, gun shots and “hawk-drones” to scare birds in airports, electric fencing, or even the use of drones to for human-elephant conflict.
The opportunities are vast,
we just need to clearly understand and define the problem in each location, methodically frame the surrounding conditions, set measurable goals, and start searching objectively.
Contact us to learn more.