Reducing conflict between people and wildlife
The solutions are often specific to the species or area concerned, and are often creative and simple.
An important aspect of the work is that it benefits both the animals and local human communities, and actively involves these communities. This is about finding solutions that lead to mutually beneficial co-existence.
The work has also often led to people being more enthusiastic and supportive of conservation, and has demonstrated that people can live alongside wildlife while developing sustainable livelihoods.
Finding common ground
The WWF report ‘Common Ground’ identifies themes that can be used to compose a common ground or a basic list of available and tested solutions.
- A united effort
In order to be truly effective, prevention of human-wildlife conflict has to involve the full scope of society: international organizations, governments, NGOs, communities, consumers and individuals. Solutions are possible, but often they also need to have financial backing for their support and development.
- Land-use planning
Ensuring that both humans and animals have the space they need is possible. Protecting key areas for wildlife, creating buffer zones and investing in alternative land uses are some of the solutions.
WWF and the Aga Khan Foundation's (AKF) Coastal Rural Support Programme (CRSP) are working to identify practical solutions to combat this human/animal conflict. One method is to make a mixture of oil, used car greese, fresh elephant dung and crushed chili (piri piri), which is slathered on ropes which are strung around fields of crops. When elephants run into these ropes the substance burns their skin and the pungent ordor repels them.
- Community-based natural resource management
The local community is key since they are the ones who may wake up in the morning with a tiger or bear in their back yard. But they are also the people who can benefit the most from this. If people are empowered to manage their relationship with wild animals, these "unwanted" neighbours can become allies in bringing income and promoting a better quality of life for all.
- Compensation / insurance
Compensation or insurance for animal-induced damage is another widely accepted solution. There are different ways this can be done. In Namibia, for example, community-based insurance systems exist for damage done to livestock. The Nepalese government pays compensation in areas around national parks.
- Payment for Environmental Services
Payment for Environmental Services (PES) is a concept that has recently gained popularity in the international development and conservation community. The most popular of these is financial reward for the sequestering of carbon, but it is also seen as a potential solution for human-wildlife conflict.
- Wildlife friendly products
Consumers is distant countries also have a role to play. Always look for products that are environmentally friendly and recognized by serious organizations.
- Field based solutions
There are a number of practical field-based solutions that can limit the damage done both to humans and human property, and to wildlife, by preventing wildlife from entering fields or villages. However, such solutions can only be applied on a case-by-case basis. What people see as solution in one place, they may resist in another. And what works in one place, may have the opposite effect somewhere else.