Patterns of Human-Wildlife Conflict and People’s Perception towards Compensation Program in Nilambur, Southern Western Ghats, India

Chelat Kandari Rohini, Tharemmal Aravindan, Karumampoyil Sakthidas Anoop Das, Pandanchery Arogyam Vinayan

Abstract


Aim: The aim of the research was to examine patterns of human-wildlife conflict and assess community perception towards compensation program that was implemented to ameliorate human-wildlife co-existence.

Location: North and South Forest Divisions, Nilambur, South India.

Materials and Methods: Data were collected from official archives of applications made by victims or their familiesatDivisional Forest Office, Nilambur North and South Forest Division, for the period 2010–2013. The data included (a) types of conflict and extent of damage, (b) wildlife species involved in the conflict, (c) dates of application by applicants, decision made by concerned authority and (d) relief amount sanctioned. People’s perceptions towards compensation programwere gathered using a questionnaire survey (n=179).

Key Findings: Crop damage was the most commonform of conflict, followed by damage to property and death and injury by wildlife attack. Crop damage was contributed mainly by elephants (Elephasmaximus) (59%) and Wild boars(Susscrofa) (32%).Other species causing conflict included bonnet macaque (Macacaradiata) (3.8%), leopardd (Pantherapardus) (3.3%), Malabar giant squirrel (Ratufaindica) (0.47%), porcupine (Hystrixindica) (0.29%), Guar (Bosgaurus) (0.95%) and Sambar deer (Cervus unicolor)(0.29 %), of the damages. People took 13 days on average to make application for the compensation claims. Decisions were made on application in90 days in average. The majority of respondents (66.6%) were not satisfied with the compensation schemes. Of the total people who applied for compensation, 66.6% of respondentsrated compensation programas anineffective. The main reasons of such dis-satisfication included (a) meager amounts sanctioned for compensation (46.6%), (b) prolonged and difficult administrative procedure to make claims (20%), (c) people’s convictions that compensation scheme does not eradicate the conflict (20%) (d) disbelief on the authenticity of the forest officials (6.6%).

Conservation Implication: Our results showed that compensation program is not effective strategy to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Although it may reduce hostile attitude towards wildlife, alternative approaches are urgently needed that avoid conflicts.


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