Mitigating human-wildlife conflict around the world

Kenya

More than any other of Africa’s large carnivores, the African wild dog and cheetah need space to survive. Only a handful of protected areas are big enough for these two increasingly threatened species, so the Kenya Rangelands Wild Dog and Cheetah Project targets private and community lands in northern Kenya, outside protected areas. ZSL and our partners’ work includes outreach to Masai and Samburu herders, whose traditional livestock husbandry is not only very effective at deterring wild dogs from attacking livestock, but leaves space for wild dogs, cheetah, and their prey to survive.

In partnership with local organisations, we also support communities living on the borders of the Tsavo Conservation Area, who experience significant levels of human-wildlife conflict. We are working together with community members to co-develop the most appropriate mitigation tools in conflict hotspots, such as beehive fences that deter elephants from raiding crops, with the added benefit of honey production.

India and Nepal

In lowland Nepal and Northern India, the indigenous Tharus have a long history of living alongside wildlife. However, these communities – already facing high levels of poverty – are vulnerable to tiger attacks on people and livestock, while tiger prey (boar and deer) target their crops. We have enabled hundreds of households to build predator-proof corrals to keep their animals safe; we are working to reduce the need for people to go into national park forests, by increasing productivity of grazing elsewhere; and we support livelihoods that are not vulnerable to human-wildlife conflict (such as tailoring and tourism).

Asian tailor sat at a sewing machine

China

With only a few hundred wild Asian elephants living in China (less than 1% of the world’s wild  Asian elephant population), ZSL has been engaged widely with cross-sectorial stakeholders in China to identify immediate conservation and scientific research priorities for the remaining populations. ZSL also works closely with the  IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group to facilitate transboundary conservation dialogues between China and its neighbouring countries. To protect the ecological connectivity of elephants and their habitats from the threats that linear transportation infrastructure development (primarily roads, railways, and canals) poses, ZSL is part of the CCSG Transport Working Group to develop the global Technical Report titled “Maximizing ecological connectivity in the development of roads, railways, and canals”. ZSL also founded China‘s most long-lasting urban events of Conservation- Science -Talk series “We Care” in Yunnan Province where the elephants are distributed in China, in the hope of inspiring, informing, and empowering people from different backgrounds to advocate for conservation.

Thailand

We work with local communities that live around Thailand’s protected areas, to understand, prevent or mitigate conflict with elephants and tigers. We conduct research into the reasons why human-elephant conflict occurs, and we trial humane methods to keep elephants away from crops and settlements. ZSL supports community-led interventions, including land-use planning, access to state support for damage, and advance warning systems (light/sound deterrents, and cameras and training for SAFER - the System for Alerting Farmers to Elephant Raids) to safely drive elephants away from crops.

Photo- A group of Indonesian locals and a ZSL representative, sat in a circle having a discussion.

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