Effective wildlife conservation efforts have resulted in growing populations of tigers, leopards and elephants in India’s Western Ghats. This conservation success has increased the frequency and severity of human-wildlife conflicts. Conflict refers to crop and property damage, livestock predation and occasionally, human injury and death.
From 2000-2010, the state of Karnataka alone witnessed compensation claims being filed for over 100,000 incidents. The claims are recorded and processed by the state Forest Department. However, there are many conflict incidents that are not filed and remain unreported.
Research led by Dr Krithi Karanth analysed data from more than 10,000 households and identified conflict hotspots around several Indian reserves including Bandipur and Nagarahole National Parks. These parks are home to globally significant 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 was launched in 2015 with the support of Wildlife Conservation Society and Centre for Wildlife Studies. Wild Seve serves conflict-prone households and villages identified around Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks. Wild Seve is helping to build tolerance for wildlife and empowering people. Upon receipt of a call, the field staff are dispatched to reported conflict incident sites to assess the extent of the damage.
The Wild Seve team presently serves 600 villages and settlements and plans to expand outreach to 200 more villages in the upcoming year. The team assists families in completing the government mandated documentation and enabling people to file compensation claims with the government. In doing so, the project helps facilitate compensation from the state Forest Department to those affected by human-wildlife conflict.
Live monitoring and response have enabled us to identify locations where repeated attacks have taken place. The project also assists families that have experienced repeat predation incidents to build predator-proof livestock sheds. Wild Seve staff actively support other requests from people to assist them with wildlife-related issues in their village.
Conflict cases and compensation received as of February, 2017.