Reconciling human-wildlife interface in Kangchenjunga Landscape: A Regional Dialogue for Action

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Background

The Kangchenjunga Landscape is a transboundary landscape where three countries – Bhutan, India and Nepal – are working together through a Regional Cooperation Framework to ensure the social and economic well-being of local communities while maintaining ecological and cultural integrity. Within an elevation gradient exceeding 8000 meters, there is a wide diversity of habitats that host more than 4,500 species of plants, 169 species of mammals, and 813 species of birds. The landscape is also home to more than seven million people of various social backgrounds.

A growing human population and high incidence of poverty are contributing to increased negative interactions between humans and wildlife in the landscape. Human-wildlife conflicts involving both large (e.g. elephants and snow leopards) and small (e.g. deer, wild boar and monkeys) mammals have resulted in crop raiding and destruction, livestock depredation, infrastructure damage, and even loss of human lives.  Various mitigation measures - such as crop/livestock guarding, fencing, alarm systems, and insurance schemes - have been implemented to address human-wildlife conflicts with some degree of success. 

Cases of wildlife crime are also increasing in the landscape. Many charismatic wildlife species, such as snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear and pangolin, are threatened by poaching for the illegal trade of their body parts. A lucrative market, porous borders, and insufficient patrolling are some factors fueling illegal trade in transborder areas of the landscape. Recognizing that trade in wildlife and plants is transboundary in nature within the landscape, regional cooperation is thus required to address this issue.

Objectives

This regional workshop will bring together relevant stakeholders from the three partner countries of the landscape – Bhutan, India and Nepal – with the purpose of developing a strategic road-map to address the two critical issues of human-wildlife conflict and wildlife crime in the landscape. The workshop is designed with the following specific objectives:

  • Cross learning on local context of human-wildlife conflict, with special emphasis on elephant issues, by participating in a landscape journey to three pilot sites in the landscape where mitigation activities are being implemented
  • Understand regional, bilateral and local issues as well as learnings from other landscapes related to human-wildlife conflict and wildlife crime, based on which options for addressing these issues are identified
  • Develop road map for specific action points to achieve transboundary cooperation for addressing human-wildlife conflict and wildlife crime in the Kangchenjunga Landscape.

Participants

High level government representatives from related line agencies in Bhutan, India and Nepal will be attending the workshop. Participants will also include representatives from the regional South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN), civil society organizations, and KLCDI partner organizations.