Analysis of wildlife attacks on humans and economic losses in and around Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary along Pir Panjal Moutain range, Western Himalayas
Human-wildlife conflict arising as a result of interaction between humans and wildlife has evolved as one of the most critical threats for species conservation. Human-wildlife interactions and associations are as old as human civilization. Recent years have, however, seen a considerable increase in human-wildlife interfaces involving direct wildlife damage as the main driver of conflict. There is, however, little published research from the Himalayan region in India to support this. The study presents an analysis of human-wildlife conflict situations in and around Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary, Kashmir Himalayas for a period of 11 years. A combination of the questionnaire, focus groups, and semi-structured interviews of key informants was used for data collection. During the surveys, we collected data on 634 injury cases majority (56%) of which were caused by Asiatic black bear followed by Common leopard (44%). The chi-square analysis revealed that bear injuries were overrepresented during 2018-2019, and leopard injuries were overrepresented during 2012-2013 and 2017-2018. Statistically, a significant association was recorded between gender and age of the victims. Bear-caused conflict incidents were significantly higher during the study period. No significant association was recorded between livestock causalities and wild animals. A significant decreasing trend was observed between the number of injuries and increasing distance from the forest. Improving mitigation measures such as traditional crop-guarding systems, construction of fences and wires, and educating local communities about wildlife behavior will help reduce conflicts and ensure coexistence.
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