Conflict with humans is one of the biggest threats to key species, report warns
Conflict between humans and wildlife is one of the main threats to the survival of some of the world’s most iconic species, a report warned.
Human-wildlife conflict is a development and humanitarian issue as well as a conservation concern, with people at risk of losing their lives, livestock and income to wildlife such as lions or elephants, according to the ‘study.
United Nations Environment Program (UNEp) and nature charity WWF report calls for including efforts to help humans and wildlife coexist in development goal implementation plans sustainable development of the United Nations.
He also calls for measures to support human-wildlife coexistence at the heart of the new international framework to help nature, decided by world leaders at a global meeting in October in Kunming, China.
The study, which involved 155 experts from 40 organizations in 27 countries, warns that humans and wildlife live together on more than half of the Earth’s surface.
Growing demand for space, compounded by climate change and loss of natural habitats, means interactions between humans and wildlife are on the increase, according to the report.
In some cases, people kill animals in self-defense or as a preventive or retaliatory measure, with conflict-related killings affecting more than 75% of the world’s feral cats as well as species such as polar bears and elephants.
The report highlights how 121 people were killed by elephants in Sri Lanka in 2019, while 405 wild elephants also died as a result of human-elephant conflict, as increasing deforestation means animals encounter people more frequently. when they move from one forest area to another. .
In Tanzania, an average of 60 people are killed and 150 lions die each year as a result of human-lion conflict, which often occurs at night when livestock are in traditional enclosures or at large.
In addition to the risk of death, communities may find income affected by loss of livestock, competition with wild animals for natural resources, and damage to their lands and crops – sometimes adding to others. devastating problems such as war or drought.
But the report also highlights how effective management can reduce human-wildlife conflict.
WWF said it was working on solutions to help people and wildlife live side by side, such as a project in Kenya’s Mara where 46 predator-proof plastic enclosures were built to protect 4,600 cattle from nocturnal predation.
Paul De Ornellas, Chief Wildlife Advisor at WWF, said: âPeople around the world benefit from thriving wildlife populations as key components of healthy ecosystems that provide vital services upon which to live. we count, such as food, and support livelihoods.
âBut too often, those who live closest to wildlife, who are often among the most marginalized and vulnerable communities on our planet, bear all the risks and see little benefit.
âAs climate change and habitat loss increasingly bring people and wildlife closer together, world leaders attending the Kunming Biodiversity Conference in October must position effective management of human and human coexistence. wildlife at the center of plans to end the destruction of nature. “
Susan Gardner, Director of Unep’s Ecosystems Division, said: âThis report is a clarion call to raise the issue of human-wildlife conflict and give it the attention it deserves in national and international processes. .
âIt is a call for the adoption of approaches that identify and address the root and underlying causes of conflict while developing systemic solutions with affected communities as active and equal participants in the process.
âAs many of the case studies in this report show, coexistence is both possible and achievable. “