Impact and Mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflict around Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India

Naveen Pandey, Peter Lurz, Andy Hopker, Neil Anderson, Jadumoni Goswami, Sharad Kumar, TAHIR ALI RATHER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In some areas, human-elephant conflict (HEC) is a key issue for conservation and sustainable rural development due to increasing habitat loss and resource competition, resulting from the climate crisis and increasing human population. This study explored perceptions and experiences of HEC by smallholder farmers in villages near Kaziranga National Park, India. Interviews were conducted with 140 households in 29 villages using a semistructured questionnaire. Participatory risk mapping was also conducted in three villages to identify perceived risks and their severity. Respondents considered crop-eating as a considerable challenge to efficient and productive farming. HEC scored a risk index of 0.986, greater than wild buffalo and one-horned rhinoceros combined. HEC around Kaziranga National Park is mainly nocturnal and seasonal, with peak activity in winter. Mitigation was primarily traditional ‘drive-away’ methods of shouting and burning tyres. Villagers considered elephants an embodiment of the elephant God, Ganesha, which has conservation value. The government compensation policy was known to 40% of respondents and 75% of them believed it complex and inadequate based on their experience. Tolerance for HEC was evident; 94% of respondents expressed a desire to remain in their village. Affected farmers recommended solar-powered electric fencing and efficient compensation to reduce HEC impacts. Mitigation measures should engage farmers, build trust, and address perceptions of successful outcomes. Effective HEC mitigation is essential to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals in affected regions as well as elephant conservation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-714
JournalInternational Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Issue number6
Early online date30 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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