What is the Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC]?

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 28, 2023, 10:31

Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC] refers to conflicts that occur in situations where the presence of wildlife poses either direct or implied constant dangers to human rights or demands, often leading to clashes between different groups of people and negative impacts on wildlife or humans.

Causes of Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC]

Lack of Protected Area

  • In India, 35% of the Tiger ranges are currently in areas that are not protected.
  • Terrestrial and marine protected zones only comprise 9.67% of the globe. Nearly 40% of the African Lion range is out of the protected zones. And when it comes to ranges of African and Asian elephants outside protected zones, the number is 70%.

Wildlife-borne Infections

  • Zoonotic Disease is caused by the proximity Association of individuals, their livestock, and the unregulated consumption of wild animals.
  • With more frequent and varied contact between people and animals, the chance of microbes from animals being passed to human beings increases.

Other Reasons

  • Urbanisation Today, industrialisation and rapid urbanisation have resulted in the conversion of forest land and as a result, the habitat for wildlife is decreasing.
  • Transport Network: The growth of the road and rail networks through forests has led to animals being injured or killed during accidents on roads and railway tracks.
  • Growing Human Population: Many human settlements are being built near the edges of protected areas, and the encroachment of forest land by residents to cultivate their land and gather food and fodder, etc., consequently the pressure is increasing on the natural resources in the forest.

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Impacts of Human-Wildlife Conflict

Impacts on the wildlife and ecosystem: HWC can cause permanent and adverse effects on biodiversity and the ecosystem. Humans might kill animals in self-defence or prevent retaliatory killings. This can cause species to be driven from conflict to extinction.

The impact on the local communities: The most evident and immediate adverse effects on the people living near wildlife are injuries and loss of life and livestock crops, livestock, or other properties.

Impact on equity: The psychological and economic burdens of living in the presence of wildlife disproportionately affect those who live near the species. In contrast, a species's survival benefits are shared with different communities, too.

Impact on social dynamics: When an HWC incident affects farmers, the farmer might accuse the government of protecting the culprit who causes damage to crops. A conservationist might blame farmers and industry for clearing habitats of wild animals and establishing the HWC in the first place.

Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC] Objectives

Moving From Conflict to Coexistence: HWC management aims to improve the protection of humans and animals and enhance the mutual benefits of coexistence.

Integrated and Holistic Practices: Holistic HWC management strategies permit species to remain in areas where they would have declined or even become extinct.

Ecosystem: Every species of life on earth is vital to keeping the ecosystem healthy and functioning.

Participation: Full participation by communities can reduce HWC and facilitate the coexistence of wildlife and humans.

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FAQs on Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC]

Q1. What can be a case of Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC]?

A case of Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC] can be any incident such as the baboons of Namibia attacking a farmer's cattle, rhinos with one horn in Nepal ruining crops or orangutans causing chaos in oil palm plantations.

Q2. What impact does Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC] have?

Humans have caused habitat destruction, fragmentation, and modification (e.g., industrial and residential development, logging, crop farming, mining, road and dam construction, and pesticide usage.)

Q3. Why is it crucial to limit Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC]?

The reduction of human-wildlife conflicts can result in positive outcomes and opportunities not just for the biodiversity of affected communities and their inhabitants but also for society, the sustainable growth of production, and the world's economy in general.

Q4. What is the greatest danger to wildlife due to the Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC]?

Habitat loss - The destruction and fragmentation of critical habitats - is the biggest threat to the future of wild animals, Due to the Human-Wildlife Conflict [HWC].