Exploring human–wildlife conflict and implications for food self-sufficiency in Bhutan

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Abstract

The conflict between humans and wildlife is a global issue in the increasingly shared landscape. Human–Wildlife Conflict (HWC) is often viewed as a threat to most of the rural populace of the world, as crop losses to wildlife remove the household’s food supply, and are an economic drain on the homestead. In this paper, we study the extent of crop damage by wild animals in two districts of Bhutan: Trashiyangtse and Tsirang. We surveyed 431 respondents from the two districts and interviewed 40 central and local government officials and residents. The vast majority of respondents from both study districts (Trashiyangtse = 98.7%; Tsirang = 92.2%) reported having experienced conflicts with wild animals from 2017 to 2019. On average, respondents’ households lost over half a month to more than a month’s worth of household food requirements, with some households claiming to have lost over six months’ worth of household food requirements, annually to wild animals. The loss of crops to wild animals removes households’ food supply and discourages farming, resulting in increased fallow lands. The fallow lands which are close to human settlements, then become habitats for wild animals, aggravating the incidence of HWC, and as such are directly linked to reduced food production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4175
Number of pages16
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume15
Issue number5
Early online date25 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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