The Terai Arc Landscape Project (TAL) - Human Wildlife Conflicts | WWF

The Terai Arc Landscape Project (TAL) - Human Wildlife Conflicts



Finding solutions for peaceful coexistence

Human-Wildlife conflicts are on the increase in Terai, as both human and wildlife populations are on the rise. One of the focus areas of the TAL project is to find solutions.
 

 / ©: Simon de TREY-WHITE / WWF-UK
Mentha farming in Khata corridor of Bardia district has not only helped reduce human wildlife conflict but has also been a major source of income for the farmers in the area.
© Simon de TREY-WHITE / WWF-UK

Mentha: the fence that produces money
Areas surrounding conservation zones are often especially prone to wildlife damage, as conservation areas in the Terai are not fenced. In the buffer zone area around the Bardia National Park, the TAL project has successfully introduced a new crop to solve the problem: Mentha.
 

Mentha is used for producing menthol oil, which has several industrial uses, e.g. in cough medicines. The great advantage of mentha is that all animals dislike the taste. "Animals do not eat it. And if you have a mentha plantation on the fringe of the fields, you can have other crops in the centre, as the animals will not cross the mentha plants", explains Program Officer Bhesh Raj Oli of WWF Nepal. "It is a fence that produces money."

As sturdy fence poles cost money, one of the solutions is to plant a line of trees in the place where a fence is needed - as planting of trees is beneficial anyway - and, after the trees have grown, to use them as "living fence posts", just attaching metal wires to complete the fence.

 

If you want to stop a rhino by an ordinary fence, it has to be quite strong. Combinations of concrete posts and ditches have proven to be sturdy enough, as long as the ditch is dug in the right way.

Project Co-Manager Dhan Rai of WWF with one of the watchtowers, built to control crop damage in ... 
	© WWF / Helena Telkanranta
Project Co-Manager Dhan Rai of WWF with one of the watchtowers, built to control crop damage in Khata.
© WWF / Helena Telkanranta
Watchtowers for an early warning

Approaching wildlife can also be scared away by making noise with drums and by setting fires - if only the villagers would know in advance when a potential diner is about to arrive. The TAL project has constructed watchtowers that can be used for this purpose, as well as for monitoring wildlife for conservation purposes.

 

In Khata, for example, 4 watchtowers have been built, each 600 metres apart. They are in a line where one tower can be seen from the next, and when manned, a message can be quickly relayed to the other towers and onto the village. The local communities found these towers so useful that they covered 70% of the building costs.

Catching a man-eater

The tiger is one of the very few animal species in the world that may actually look at humans as prey. Dr. Kamal Gairhe is a veterinary doctor working for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. He is the expert who is called for when there is a man-eating tiger that needs to be found and caught.


Since only a small minority of tigers take up man-eating, the first task is to find the right tiger. "Individual tigers can be identified by pugmarks", he says. "We have some good tiger trackers who have been working with tigers for a long time, for example at Tiger Tops lodges and in the National Trust for Nature Conservation."

 

Before, the man-eating tigers used to be caught alive and kept in the zoo in the capital Kathmandu. Now this "jail for man-eaters" is fully occupied, and the zoo cannot take any more tigers. The man-eaters are still caught alive when possible, with the help of a tranquillizer dart, and transported to faraway locations where they pose no danger.