Conflict between people and animals, which leads people to defence or as pre-emptive or retaliatory killings, threatens the some of the world’s most emblematic species, warns a new report WWF and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The report, “A future for all – the need for human-wildlife coexistence” released last week highlights that human- wildlife conflict affects more than 75 per cent of the world’s wildcat species, as well as several other terrestrial and marine carnivore species such as polar bears and Mediterranean monk seals and elephants.
Global Wild life Practice Leader at WWF International Margaret Kinnaird pointed out that wildlife population across the globe have fallen on an average of 68 per cent since 1970. “Human-wildlife conflict in combination with other threats has driven significant decline of species that were once abundant, and species that are naturally less abundant have been pushed to the brink of extinction. Unless urgent action is taken this devastating trend will only worsen, wreaking detrimental and in some cases reversible impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity.”
Meanwhile, Director of UNEPS Ecosystems Division Susan Gardner said that the problem of human-wildlife conflict should be given utmost attention in national and international processes. “It is a call for the adoption of approaches that identify and address the underlying causes of conflict while developing systemic solutions with affected communities as active and equal participants in the process. As many of the case studies in this report demonstrate, coexistence is both possible and attainable,” she said.
A total of 155 experts from 40 organisations based in 27 countries contributed to the report. Human-Wildlife Conflict is as much a development and humanitarian issue as it is a conservation concern, the report notes. It is an issue that most of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but is not yet explicitly identified as such, it added
- 21 people killed by wild elephants in Sri Lanka in 2019
- Elephants killed due to HWC in Sri Lanka in 2019
- 60 people killed by lions in Tanzania per year
- 150 lions killed due to HWC in Tanzania per year
- 000 – 138,000 -People killed annually by snake bites in Africa
CALL TO ACTION
1) International community should:
a) Include human-wildlife coexistence as an explicit target of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) process aimed at achieving the 2050 vision of “living in harmony with nature’.
b) Integrate human-wildlife coexistence into the implementation of the SDG framework for long-lasting sustainable development and wildlife conservation
2) National and regional governmental authorities should:
a) Incorporate coexistence considerations into the design and implementation of all relevant policies and programmes and provide financial means for their implementation
b) Address HWC as a global threat to sustainable development food security, and conservation in the framework of relevant international conventions
c) Ensure that the creation and implementation of national and subnational development plans explicitly enhance coexistence and incorporate crosssectoral natural resource management and biodiversity conservation
d) Develop transparent and inclusive local and regional institutions to manage land use and HWC
e) Develop laws and regulations, including impact assessments and incentives
f) Roll out nationwide HWC information programmes that include monitoring and education on impacts and solutions, as well as media guidelines to build national awareness and tolerance of wildlife including among political and economic decision makers
3) Companies and the wider sector should:
a)Lead the development of industry wide innovations to mainstream all aspects of safe working conditions for staff working in places that are vulnerable to HWC.
b) Reconsider developments or projects that will result in the exacerbation of HWC particularly in places where HWC can’t be managed
c) Develop innovations to manage HWC that are needs-based and co designed with potential users.
e) Adopt best management practices within the commodities sector to maintain or restore natural habitat connectivity across production sites so wildlife can pass freely, including ensuring connectivity is not lost to associated infrastructure.
4) Donor agencies should:
a) Consider coexistence when developing their programmes. Create national and regional coexistence-related funding opportunities
b) Develop a pipeline of projects specifically aimed at HWC management and minimisation, especially in current and predicted future HWC hotspots.
c) Develop internal coexistence safeguards.
5) Civil society organisations, including community-based organisations and nongovernmental organisations should
a) Provide organisational support and technical capacity to communities, governments, donors, and businesses so they can mainstream coexistence into their planning and management.
b) Use existing networks of programmes to innovate, scale up, and standardise HWC information systems, trends, and monitoring efforts.
c) Mainstream HWC management and coexistence strategies into all levels of development and conservation programmes and consider communities mental health in areas with high HWC researchers and research institutions should
d) Strengthen inter- and transdisciplinary research, including close integration of social science on HWC and coexistence
e) Create knowledge and understanding about processes, drivers, a direct and indirect impacts of HWC and coexistence in the la
f) Provide evidence for the success or failure of coexistence strategies
g) Contribute to the development of strategies that are beneficial to both people and wildlife.