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Human - Wildlife Interactions (Conflicts) in the Indian Himalayan Region: current scenario and the path ahead

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Abstract

The negative Human-Wildlife interaction (HWI) or conflict is a major management issue in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) where large expanse of human habitations and agricultural land areas are either interspersed with fragmented wildlife habitats or located in close proximity to wildlife habitats that are home to many wildlife species that are involved in crop/livestock depredations and attack on humans. Species such as the rhesus macaque, wild pig, porcupine, common leopard, snow leopard, Asiatic black bear, Himalayan brown bear, and wolf are involved in negative HWI. People living in the IHR suffer from the economic losses due to crop/livestock depredations by wildlife and have been using some indigenous protection measures to reduce losses. The Forest / Wildlife Departments provides ex gratia /compensation for losses pertaining to injury/death of humans and livestock/crop depredations. However, the increase in the levels of negative HWI and consequent decline in tolerance levels of people have led to severe public backlash that is detrimental to long-term conservation and management of wildlife in the IHR and also the well-being of human societies in the IHR. Keeping the above in view, it is evident that quantification and reduction of negative HWI in the IHR through action research and community engagement is absolute necessity for long-term conservation and management of wildlife as well as to hold the natural and social integrity of the Himalayan ecosystem. The necessary interventions required to quantify and minimizing HWI in the IHR are as follows: (i) identify vulnerable areas for regular monitoring and implementation of mitigation efforts through risk assessment in the IHR; (ii) understand the ranging pattern of selected wildlife species that are involved in livestock/crop depredation in the IHR and biological factors responsible for the conflict; and (iii) develop and implement adaptive management strategies in some of the identified vulnerable areas through community engagement.
... There is evidence to suggest that several wild mammals have shifted to higher areas, including the treeline, not because of climate warming but as a response to anthropogenic stresses around tourism sites in lower areas. The transport network is also causing disturbance, disrupting corridors, impacting wildlife movement, and causing roadkill mortality (Sathyakumar et al. 2016;Bhattacharya et al. 2020). The fact that people are still living in poverty and migrating in search of opportunities despite a 10-to 20-fold increase in tourist arrivals in many parts of Himalaya raises doubts about tourism as an effective economic strategy for the people of Uttarakhand. ...
Book
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Though the highest treelines of the northern hemisphere occur in the Himalaya, the terms treeline and timberline have until very recently been missing from the literature on this region. This book, largely based on research in the Indian Himalaya, attempts to fill the gap on Himalayan treelines. It covers ecology, tree water relations, temperature lapse rate, dendrochronology, tree phenology, distribution patterns, and spatial dimensions of climate warming over the decades. The project, led by the Central Himalayan Environment Association (CHEA) involved 6 research organizations, 11 investigators, and 20 research scholars. Treeline research is providing new and valuable insights into how biota respond to climate change, the relationship between tree-ring growth and climate change in various seasons, the role of growth in relation to stress, seasonal variation in temperature lapse rate and the impact of elevation dependent warming, tree water relations and water conduits in trees, effects of early snow melt, endemism, and future changes.
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the distribution of wildlife species and their response to diverse anthropogenic pressures is important for conservation planning and management of wildlife space in human-dominated landscapes. Assessments of anthropogenic impacts on mammals of the Indian Himalayan Region have mostly been limited to locations inside protected areas. We studied the occurrence of mammals in an unexplored landscape, the 7,586 km2 Bhagirathi basin, at an altitude of 500–5,200 m. The basin encompasses wilderness areas of various habitat types and protection status that are exposed to a range of anthropogenic pressures. Camera trapping at 209 locations during October 2015–September 2017 confirmed the occurrence of 39 species of mammals, nine of which are categorized as threatened (four Vulnerable, five Endangered) and four as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. We recorded five mammal species that were hitherto undocumented in Uttarakhand State: the argali Ovis ammon, Tibetan sand fox Vulpes ferrilata, woolly hare Lepus oiostolus, Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx and woolly flying squirrel Eupetaurus cinereus. In addition, we recorded two Endangered species, the dhole Cuon alpinus and tiger Panthera tigris. Threatened species such as the sambar Rusa unicolor, common leopard Panthera pardus and Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus occur in a wide variety of habitats despite anthropogenic disturbance. We recorded the snow leopard Panthera uncia in areas with high livestock density but temporally segregated from human activities. The musk deer Moschus spp. and Himalayan brown bear Ursus arctos isabellinus were recorded in subalpine habitats and appeared to be less affected by human and livestock presence. Our findings highlight the potential of the Bhagirathi basin as a stronghold for conservation of several threatened and rare mammal species.
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