In the Terai lowlands of Nepal, a major initiative by the Nepal Government and conservation NGOs to enforce zero poaching of tigers has resulted in a recovery of tiger populations in Chitwan and Bardia National Parks.
However, the regions surrounding these parks also have some of Nepal’s most dense rural human population, composed mainly of very poor communities that rely heavily on forest resources. As a result, there has been an increase in human-tiger conflict, with people and livestock being attacked by tigers.
To help prevent Nepal’s success in tiger conservation being undermined by this conflict, we’ve teamed up with the Nepalese organisation Green Governance Nepal to engage the communities around Chitwan and Bardia in devising participatory approaches to ensure their safety, improve their livelihoods, and prevent retaliatory killing of tigers.
To this end, we are working with around 1200 households across eight communities around these parks. Our work involves implementing practical measures to improve the safety of people and livestock; developing supplementary livelihood opportunities to reduce dependence on the forested areas where tigers live, and addressing behaviours which put both people and tigers at great risk.
We are also carrying out extensive research in collaboration with WildCRU at Oxford University to learn how social change and ecological factors influence conflict dynamics and how these kinds of conflicts can be managed across such important landscapes.
To hear the full story of the project, listen to a talk given by Project Leader and Conservation Scholar Amy Fitzmaurice at the Oxfordshire Mammal Society Members lectures, on her PhD work on the impacts of Phase I, and future plans for Phase II.