Integrated Approach Needed to Manage Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) – Dr Manoj Thibbotuwawa

16 October 2021

IPS Research Fellow Dr Manoj Thibbotuwawa highlighted the need for an integrated approach to manage the human-wildlife conflict (HWC) at a virtual dialogue organised by the Center for Investigative Reporting on the ‘Human-Wildlife Conflict – Consequences and Solution’. An integrated approach for managing elephants in both village areas and inside protected areas include mitigation measures such as restricting human encroachments, improving land productivity and profitability, and adaptation measures such as electric and biological fences.

Dr Thibbotuwawa explained that the HWC has a major impact on agriculture as well as the national economy. While there are significant damages to crops from a variety of animals such as elephants, peacocks, monkeys, wild boars, etc., elephants create multi-dimensional problems for the farming community. Some of the problems are loss of human life, permanent and temporary disabilities, property damages, damages to crops and harvest and mental trauma. This conflict is highly prevalent in Anuradhapura, Ampara, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Monaragala and Hambantota districts where most of the agricultural activities are based.

Although the agriculture sector’s contribution to GDP has decreased to 7%, over one third of the population is engaged in agriculture for producing over 70% of the country’s food requirement. Thus, the impact of this conflict on food security is also significant. In addition, a large sum of money is spent annually to compensate the victims. Therefore, an integrated approach to manage the HWC is required. IPS is exploring the possibility of introducing a private insurance scheme to cover the wild elephant risk as a market-based risk management instrument.

The full discussion can be watched here.