Human–wildlife conflict refers to the interaction between wild animals and people and the resultant negative impact on people or their resources, or wild animals or their habitat. It occurs when growing human populations overlap with established wildlife territory, creating reduction of resources or life to some people and/or wild animals.
The Creating Co-existence workshop at the 5th Annual World Parks Congress defined human-wildlife conflict as : “Human-wildlife conflict occurs when the needs and behavior of wildlife impact negatively on the goals of humans or when the goals of humans negatively impact the needs of wildlife."
Nature of human-wildlife conflicts
As human population extends to wild animal habitats, natural wildlife territory is displaced. The population density of wildlife and humans overlaps increasing their interaction thus resulting in increased physical conflict. Byproducts of human existence offer un-natural opportunity for wildlife in the form of food and shelter, resulting in increased interference and potentially destructive threat for both man and animals.
Various forms of human–wildlife conflict occur with various negative results. Some of these are:
- Animal deaths
- Crop damage
- Damage to property
- Destruction of habitat
- Injuries to people
- Injuries to wildlife
- Livestock depredation
- Loss of human life, such as by Tiger attack
Potential solutions to these conflicts include electric fencing, land use planning, community-based natural resourcemanagement (CBNRM), compensation, payment for environmental services, ecotourism, wildlife friendly products, or other field solutions.
In efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflict, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has partnered with a number of organizations to provide solutions around the globe. Their solutions are tailored to the community and species involved. For example, in Mozambique, communities started to grow more chili pepper plants after making the discovery that elephants dislike and avoid plants containing capsaicin. This creative and effective method prevents elephants from trampling community farmers' fields as well as protects the species.
- Glionna, John M. (May 27, 2013). "Tourist and animal 'elk jams' worry Grand Canyon park rangers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 September 2013. "'We've had people injured, and as the near-misses accumulate, you think, "Wow, you're lucky,"' said Martha Hahn, chief of science and resource management at the park. 'But all it's going to take is one person gored and thrown over the edge of the canyon. It's something we take very seriously. We need to decrease this human-elk interaction in a progressive way, and fast.' The elk are stubborn and unpredictable, especially in the fall rutting season and in the spring, when mothers protect their newborns. Bulls can reach 800 pounds with 5-foot-long antler racks. In scores of run-ins with tourists, they've broken people's bones and caused eye injuries."
- Madden, Francine (2004). "Creating Coexistence between Humans and Wildlife: Global Perspectives on Local Efforts to Address Human–Wildlife Conflict". Human Dimensions of Wildlife (Taylor & Francis Inc.) 9: 247–257. doi:10.1080/10871200490505675. ISSN 1087-1209. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- Rosie Woodroffe, Simon Thirgood and Alan Rabinowitz, ed. (2005). People and wildlife: Conflict or Co-existence?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- World Conservation Union on Human-wildlife conflict In: Elisa Distefano, Human-Wildlife Conflict worldwide:collection of case studies, analysis of management strategies and good practices, FAO
- World Wide Fund for Nature