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Trends and Patterns of Elephant Conservation Management and Human Elephant Conflict Scenario in Forests of Northern West Bengal, India

Trends and Patterns of Elephant Conservation Management and Human Elephant Conflict Scenario in... In India, the elephant population is distributed in four geographical regions, viz., north-eastern, north-western, east-central and southern regions. Within north-eastern region, the northern districts of West Bengal (also known as North Bengal) sustain a relatively healthy pachyderm population (488 nos.) with a population density of about 0.25 individuals/ km2. However, elephant conservation management and control of human elephant conflicts have been a big challenge for many reasons in this area for years. Around 2357 human deaths have been recorded due to elephant attack during 2014-15 to 2018-19, in India. Surprisingly, 18.3% of these deaths occurred in West Bengal (second highest in the country) itself, predominantly in the forests of northern West Bengal. Similarly, 63 unnatural deaths of tuskers were recorded in this part during 2015 -16 to 2018 -19, claiming 16.9% of the total elephant deaths in the country. Thus, having a mere 1.8% of the Indian elephant population, this region stands out as a major human- elephant conflict prone zone in India. Although several studies related to different aspects of human elephant conflicts (HECs) have been done in the area, however, a trend analysis in respect to HECs in the region is lacking. This analysis is necessary for understanding the effects of the policies applied for mitigation of the conflicts. The paper is an attempt to highlight the trends of elephant conservation management and human elephant conflicts in a temporal span in the elephant habitats in the northern districts of West Bengal. In the study, variables like pattern of elephant population, elephant corridor characteristics, human and elephant casualties and compensation measures have been highlighted for focusing the progress of elephant conservation in the region over a period of time. The analysis reveals that policies regarding elephant conservation and reduction of human elephant conflicts are hindered by increasing space crisis, unmanaged forest fragmentation, unplanned developmental activities, corridor shrinkage, lack of implementation of innovative mitigation strategies, development of negative psyche towards wildlife of the forest fringe dwellers and so on in recent times. Thus, a holistic retrospection and introspection of the existing policies involving government agencies, NGOs and local communities is required to find better solution to the problems in future. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Proceedings of the Zoological Society Springer Journals

Trends and Patterns of Elephant Conservation Management and Human Elephant Conflict Scenario in Forests of Northern West Bengal, India

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © Zoological Society, Kolkata, India 2022
ISSN
0373-5893
eISSN
0974-6919
DOI
10.1007/s12595-022-00442-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In India, the elephant population is distributed in four geographical regions, viz., north-eastern, north-western, east-central and southern regions. Within north-eastern region, the northern districts of West Bengal (also known as North Bengal) sustain a relatively healthy pachyderm population (488 nos.) with a population density of about 0.25 individuals/ km2. However, elephant conservation management and control of human elephant conflicts have been a big challenge for many reasons in this area for years. Around 2357 human deaths have been recorded due to elephant attack during 2014-15 to 2018-19, in India. Surprisingly, 18.3% of these deaths occurred in West Bengal (second highest in the country) itself, predominantly in the forests of northern West Bengal. Similarly, 63 unnatural deaths of tuskers were recorded in this part during 2015 -16 to 2018 -19, claiming 16.9% of the total elephant deaths in the country. Thus, having a mere 1.8% of the Indian elephant population, this region stands out as a major human- elephant conflict prone zone in India. Although several studies related to different aspects of human elephant conflicts (HECs) have been done in the area, however, a trend analysis in respect to HECs in the region is lacking. This analysis is necessary for understanding the effects of the policies applied for mitigation of the conflicts. The paper is an attempt to highlight the trends of elephant conservation management and human elephant conflicts in a temporal span in the elephant habitats in the northern districts of West Bengal. In the study, variables like pattern of elephant population, elephant corridor characteristics, human and elephant casualties and compensation measures have been highlighted for focusing the progress of elephant conservation in the region over a period of time. The analysis reveals that policies regarding elephant conservation and reduction of human elephant conflicts are hindered by increasing space crisis, unmanaged forest fragmentation, unplanned developmental activities, corridor shrinkage, lack of implementation of innovative mitigation strategies, development of negative psyche towards wildlife of the forest fringe dwellers and so on in recent times. Thus, a holistic retrospection and introspection of the existing policies involving government agencies, NGOs and local communities is required to find better solution to the problems in future.

Journal

Proceedings of the Zoological SocietySpringer Journals

Published: Sep 1, 2022

Keywords: Elephant conservation; Elephant corridor; Elephant train collision (ETC); Human-elephant conflict (HEC); Mitigation; Northern districts; West Bengal

References