People, Environment

Human-Elephant Conflict Growing in Nepal

Human-Elephant Conflict Growing in NepalHuman-Elephant Conflict Growing in Nepal

Farmers in the Terai region of Nepal face jumbo threats on a day-to-day basis, resulting in damage to crop yields, destruction of their homes, and, in some cases, even deaths.

The source of this destruction comes from a persistent and increasingly problematic pest, though also one of the world’s most beloved, charismatic mammals: the Asian elephant.

Human-elephant conflict is a significant issue for a number of Nepalese, according to a paper recently published in the Journal for Nature Conservation, Mongabay reported.

Forests and grasslands are disappearing at an ever-increasing rate to accommodate Nepal’s growing population. Land that was once a critical habitat for Asian elephants, the Bengal tiger and thousands of other species has now been converted to farmland, squeezing animals out of their habitats into human-dominated areas.

Though some forests remain intact and protected areas have been established, large mammals are forced to leave their preferred habitats to search for food, sometimes leading to destruction and even human fatalities.

According to Dinesh Neupane, a PhD candidate at Arkansas State University and co-author of the study, retaliatory killings of elephants occur at a rate of two per year. In short, both humans and elephants are harmed when conflict occurs.

Of all large mammals found in Nepal, the Asian elephant is the most troublesome species and is the source of the most human-wildlife conflict: The study points out that in 70% of cases, elephants are the culprit.

In addition, the Asian elephant population has declined by 50% in the 20th century, according to a 2014 CITES report.

Though this problem is widespread and detrimental to the safety and productivity of the residents of Nepal, the study argues that the Nepalese government has not done enough or does not have adequate financial resources to reduce conflict. Compensation for damage or casualties is often inconsistent and insufficient, according to the researchers.

Based on testimonies from villagers, the study also finds that the government has failed to implement a long-term management plan that involves input from local residents.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints