Increasingly difficult coexistence
By overexploiting and destroying ecosystems, we are responsible for the increasing scarcity, and even the disappearance, of so many animal species. As human populations continue to grow and occupy ever-increasing territories, more and more animals inevitably come into contact with local communities. When faced with habitat encroachment, the pressures of illegal hunting, and the attractiveness of crops, elephants like some other mammals frequently raid within crop fields for an easy source of food.
There are different types of conflict
The most serious type of conflict* leads to the death of lots of people each year. These attacks, which tend to occur outside, during daylight hours or at twilight, are often linked to human activities.
Species involved: elephants, tigers, lions, leopards, pumas, hippopotamuses, crocodiles.
Attacks on cattle by large carnivores are a frequent cause of conflict. These livestock are generally blocked, can’t flee, and so represent easy prey.
Species involved: tigers, lions, leopards, hyenas, pumas.
For many of the species suffering from a degradation of their natural habitat, farmed crops are an easily accessible source of food and the resulting damage is often considerable for poor, subsistence farmers.
Species involved: elephants, Indian rhinoceroses, bush pigs, primates.
As a result, many animals are culled by authorities or killed during reprisals by villagers themselves — often through poisoning.
We have worked on conflict resolution since 2008, developing this into one of our key areas of expertise, and one that is central to each of our Red Cap programmes in Africa and Asia. In 2014, at the request of Cirad, who themselves were instructed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, we produced an educational toolkit for Central Africa about human-wildlife conflicts.* This does not apply to European or North American species, which are not concerned by our actions.