Effective wildlife conservation efforts have led to growing populations of tigers, leopards and elephants in India’s Western Ghats. This conservation success has increased the frequency and severity of crop and property damage, livestock predation and occasionally human injury and death. Research led by Dr Krithi Karanth across India interviewing 10,000 households identified conflict hotspots including around Bandipur and Nagarahole Tiger Reserves. These reserves are home to globally important populations of tigers, leopards and elephants. When wildlife is seen as a cost, in lost crops and livestock, and as a threat to safety it is unsurprising that local families retaliate by killing “problem” animals.
Project Wild Seve (‘seve’ in Kannada means service or to serve) designed by Dr Krithi Karanth in consultation with Nikhil Velpanur was launched in 2015 with the support of Wildlife Conservation Society and Centre for Wildlife Studies. Upon receipt of a call, locally based field staff are dispatched to reported incident locations. They assess the extent of the damage and help the affected family file and track compensation claims with the government. Wild Seve has grown to service 600 village settlements and almost 1/2 million people around Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks. By empowering people and assisting the government, Wild Seve is helping to build tolerance for wildlife and wild places.
Live monitoring and response have enabled us to identify locations where repeated losses or encounters have taken place. For families experiencing repeat depredation incidents, Wild Seve has built several predator-proof livestock sheds. Wild Seve staff also actively support other requests from people to assist them with wildlife-related issues in their village.