Effective strategy helps avoid human-wildlife conflict

Our Correspondent
Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023

Islamabad: The recently launched campaign to make people aware about importance of wild animals has so far greatly helped avoid any new human-wildlife conflict in the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP).

According to the details, the local administration not only distributed pamphlets but also approached the people through various teams of local elders to help them live peacefully in the national park without coming into contact with the wildlife animals. The people have also been informed about Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) especially women who often go to the forest areas to collect dry wood.

The efforts are also underway to form a buffer zone between the local community and habitats of the wildlife species to avoid any direct conflict. The people living quite close to the habitats have also been advised to keep their cattle and cows indoors during the night time because they can attract big cats during their search for food. The wildlife experts have also proposed that negative attitudes towards wild animals especially big cats in the national park can be tackled through awareness and environmental education about socio and ecological benefits of wildlife.

Anas Malik, a wildlife expert, said “If the government attaches socio-economic benefits of the local community with survival and preservation of the wildlife species then it can turn conflict towards something more beneficial.” An official said “We are working on a strategy focusing on developing buffer zone, guarding and early-warning systems and deterrents and repellents (sirens and lights). It will also include compensation, provision of risk-reducing alternatives, as well as managing tensions between stakeholders involved in these situations.”

“We want to strike an appropriate balance to deter negative human behaviour towards wildlife and promote tolerance so that humans and wildlife may be able to share space more harmoniously for a long time to come,” he said.