The One Earth’s Project Marketplace funds on-the-ground climate solutions that are key to solving the climate crisis through three pillars of collective action — renewable energy, nature conservation, and regenerative agriculture. This project protects tigers, elephants, leopards, and other iconic species in India by giving local communities the tools to prevent human-wildlife conflict.
India's 700 wildlife parks are home to extraordinary biodiversity. Yet, many are close to communities resulting in human-wildlife conflict (HWC) in the form of crop and property damage, livestock depredation, and even human injury and death.
Over 100,000 HWC incidents are reported annually, with compensation payments from the government totaling USD 5 million. Financial losses are very severe for subsistence farmers, and such negative interactions can result in hostility towards wildlife and retaliatory killing of animals.
Creating a program for coexistence
Established in 2015 by the Center for Wildlife Studies (CWS) around Bandipur and Nagarahole wildlife parks, the Wild Seve program was created to build tolerance towards wildlife by addressing HWC incidents.
This project will expand Wild Seve to three adjacent parks in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, helping protect the largest global populations of wild tigers, elephants, leopards, and other iconic species.
Tools to prevent human-wildlife conflict
The Wild Seve program establishes a toll-free helpline that allows people to contact staff, who are immediately dispatched to the site of a conflict. The team systematically documents each incident and assists in filing a claim for compensation with the government on behalf of the affected farmer.
This project helps overcome barriers of illiteracy, inherent transactional costs, and a complex government process, providing free and transparent access to compensation for HWC incidents. In seven years, the program has assisted 10,000 families in filing over 20,000 claims and receiving USD 1 million in compensation from the government.
A strong need to expand protections in the region
CWS’s Wild Surakshe and Wild Shaale conservation programs and research in the region have allowed them to build a robust local network of community organizations, individuals, and relevant government departments. They have expressed a strong need for the Wild Seve program to be expanded to these three new wildlife parks, enabling CWS to launch and implement this project.
If the program is expanded to this area, conflict mitigation support and compensation filing assistance will be provided to approximately 1,000 villages. Long-term response and tracking of incidents will allow the CWS to extend support, including building predator-proof sheds, bee hives, and other mitigation measures and services to affected people.
Focusing on scientific research and community
In 2018, CWS transitioned into a fully independent Indian NGO led by Dr. Krithi Karanth. Under her leadership, it has revised its conservation strategy to focus on scientific research and community.
CWS began by practicing science-based conservation with a particular emphasis on the ecology and preservation of the tiger and other threatened larger mammals. Subsequently, its research extended to amphibians, birds, and butterflies.
Focusing on the human dimensions of conservation, all of the CWS’s work is conducted based on local context and embedded in the social and political reality of communities in India. CWS has played a catalytic role in supporting local people and communities in optimizing funds from government programs.
On a mission to rewild India
The Wild Seve project is a part of CWS’s overall goal to "Rewild India.” By focusing on local communities, science, and education, the team believes that India’s wildlife can be saved and continue to flourish throughout the country.