Nu 36.1mn mobilized to mitigate Human-Wildlife Conflict in 2022    

Lack of support from people is also one reason for the failure to mitigate human-wildlife conflict

A total of Nu 36.1mn budget has been mobilized to mitigate human-wildlife conflict in the country. This is according to the budget utilization of the Nature Conservation Division (NCD), Department of forests and park services (DoFPS) under the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MoENR).

The budget was utilized to build electric fencing, awareness and enforcement programs, solar fencing of herders’ shed, Gewog Environment Conservation Committee (GECC) for livestock insurance, and Quick Response Team (QRT) formation, amongst others.   

According to Deputy Chief Forestry officer, NCD, Letro, the budget was mainly used as an action plan to reduce human-wildlife conflict including crop damages and livestock predation.

He said that the people dare to complain about the wildlife damaging their crops and properties. “The people don’t realize what impacts are posed by the activities causing psychological and social disharmony amongst both the people and wildlife natural environment,” he said.

He shared that the interventions and mitigation for human-wildlife conflict by the government failed because people are looking for a permanent solution that is non-achievable. “The people are looking for easy and permanent solutions leading to the cause of failure in such interventions and mitigations.” 

In addition, the lack of support from people is also one reason for the failure, he said, “People refuse to show interest in community-based insurance programmes where most of them don’t come forward to insurance their livestock nor they report the livestock predation to local government.”

Similarly, other issue includes irrational spending and precedents and limited advocacy on wildlife feeding and waste management to prevent human-wildlife conflict incidences. 

The deputy chief, Letro shared that it is not a problem with the equipment of electric fencing but the people don’t clear the bushes and they don’t care after installing the electric fencing causing a failure of mitigation of human-wildlife conflict. 

“Damaging crops and harming livestock in past years is rampant for so long ago and I think it will prevail as long as humanity prevails,” he said, adding that knowing the actual cause of human-wildlife conflict is the biggest challenge for us.”

Through the perception of scientific communities and research studies, he said that such conflict arises when there are certain developmental activities that cause damage to the environment and habitant. 

Letro shared that such activities including the movements and the migrations of wildlife are lost with the activities by humans leading to the disturbance of the wildlife corridor causing human-wildlife conflict.

With such disturbance in the natural environment, Letro said that the impacts in human-wildlife conflict are that when there are limited resources in nature for wildlife, crops are damaged are major issues in every Dzongkhags, and elephants in the south, Himalayan black bears in northern central Bhutan causing property damages, carnivorous predation.  

Meanwhile, the conflict level of various wildlife species includes highest with ungulates, primates, and bears followed by tiger, dhole, and common leopard, and other species include elephants with the most extreme in Dagana, Samdrupjongkhar, Samtse, and Sarpang districts.  

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu