Restraining Human-Wildlife Conflict : WWF-India Installs Solar Fencing In Sikkim

Posted in Featured, Northeast, Sikkim

 

  • NET Web Desk

The World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF) under United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Securing Livelihoods, Conservation, Sustainable Use and Restoration of High Range Himalayan Ecosystems (SECURE Himalaya) project of the Forest Department have installed solar fencing in private farmlands of two villages in Sikkim.

This decision has been undertaken to restrain the human-wildlife conflict that have escalated during the recent times, due to – shrinking habitats, changing land-use patterns, urbanization, deforestation, increasing human population, etc.

Concerned department have installed the fencing in – Chongri village in West Sikkim; and Bitchu village in North Sikkim.

According to reports, these two villages are in high conflict with wild animals.

Chongri village, located on the boundary of Khangchendzonga National Park, is highly in conflict with barking deer, wild boars, and porcupines.

While, Bitchu Village located in Lachung is highly in conflict with the Himalayan black bear.

The routes that wild animals generally use to enter into farmlands have been identified for the installation of solar fencing.

These fencing approximately, covering an area of 0.2 hectare of farmlands on three sides.

The sites were detected after prior meetings with the owners of these farmlands.

This work has been carried out by local youths from Talkharka village in East Sikkim, Sewan Rai and Navin Rai, along with WWF-India team Pemba Tshering Bhutia and Rikchen Zimba.

All of them were  trained by WWF-India as part of an earlier intervention in Talkharka for human wildlife conflict management.

Sewan Rai mentioned that earlier pilot project conducted in Talkharka proved beneficial for the communities, thereby reducing crop loss to wild animals such as porcupines and barking deer.

According to WWF-India, human-wildlife conflict across the state has been very complicated, leading to significant drop in household-income.

Crop raiding by animals such as wild boar, black bear, barking deer, monkeys, civets, peafowl in Sikkim have mounted an immediate concern among the cultivators.

Furthermore, after the installation of solar fencings, owners of the farmlands were imparted training for basic maintenance and monitoring of the same.

It is pertinent to note that, post installation, close monitoring results have been considered as a significant data to understand the impact of solar fencing.

However, not only the humans, but wild animals; specifically some iconic species have faced drastic hurdles, bringing them down at the verge of extinction.

Human-wildlife conflict currently stands to be the major threat for long-term survival of some of the world’s most iconic species, states a new report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released on July 8, 2021.

The report titled, ‘A future for all – the need for human-wildlife coexistence’ features contributions from 155 experts from 40 organisations based in 27 countries.

It highlights that globally, conflict-related killing have affected more than 75 per cent of the world’s wild cat species.

Besides, many other terrestrial and marine carnivore species, as well as large herbivores such as elephants are affected due to such clashes.

“Human-wildlife conflict, in combination with other threats, has driven the significant decline of species that were once abundant and species that are naturally less abundant, have been pushed to the brink of extinction,” – quoted the global wildlife practice leader at WWF International, Margaret Kinnaird.

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