05 October 2016

The new task force – the first of its kind to focus on human-wildlife conflict – will bring together leading experts to provide guidance and specialist support to address the issue worldwide.

Human-wildlife conflict arises when animals pose a direct and recurring threat to the livelihood or safety of people which results in the persecution of that species. It affects most large carnivores, elephants, pigs, primates, sharks, seals, birds of prey, crocodiles and rhinos, amongst many others.

People retaliating against animals that pose a threat to their community has already led to the extinction of several species and is responsible for huge population declines of many more, including bears, lynx and cheetahs.

Chester Zoo’s Head of Conservation Science and expert in human-wildlife conflict, Dr Alexandra Zimmermann, will chair the new task force, having spearheaded a number of research and conservation programmes on this topic around the world over the past two decades.

Alex Zimmermann profile picture

Head of Conservation Science and expert in human-wildlife conflict, Dr Alexandra Zimmermann

Trees close together in a forest, perfect tiger territory

Tiger territory in Nepal – where Alex Zimmermann is leading a project to prevent human-tiger conflict

Chester Zoo has been actively working on human-wildlife conflict around the world for over a decade.

Together with partner organisation Ecosystems-India, the zoo has tackled human-elephant conflict in Assam, India, dramatically reducing crop-raiding, keeping elephants and people safe from each other, while helping around 75 villages and over 600 people support conservation and develop new sources of sustainable income.

In the Terai of Nepal, where human-tiger conflict is threatening to undermine the tiger population increase the country has achieved, Chester Zoo is working with Green Governance Nepal to ensure the safety of 1200 families from poor communities living in close proximity to tigers at the edges of national parks.

Meanwhile, together the Wildlife Research Conservation Unit of Oxford University, the zoo has recently completed the largest study of human-jaguar conflicts across Latin America and is also currently developing scientific research and human-wildlife conflict initiatives for jaguars in Brazil and Andean bears in Bolivia.

Local communities scaring herd of Asian elephants away in field of crops
Living alongside wildlife
Human-wildlife conflict is one of the main threats to many species and is a growing concern