Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative
19 April 2022
Kesang Wangchuk & Tashi Dorji
Organizer: Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative
Human–wildlife conflict (HWC), an issue common to all Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) range countries, is emerging as a global challenge for conservation. It is also a transboundary issue where greater regional cooperation is needed for both mitigation actions and for enhancing wildlife habitats and corridors. In 2018, within the Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF), we facilitated the Siliguri Dialogue which recommended several actions. An HWC Regional Task Force is now in place and some actions related to literature review, hotspot mapping, data updates, and capacity development are in progress.
The objectives of this consultation are to:
The KL covers an area of 25,080 km2 and spreads across part of eastern Nepal (21%), Sikkim and West Bengal of India (56%), and the western and south-western parts of Bhutan (23%). The three countries endorsed the Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Strategy and RCF in 2017. The landscape sustains many vital Himalayan rivers and crucial watersheds and is home to an estimated 7.2 million people. It also harbours a significant portion of the world’s biodiversity, with over 5,198 species of plants, 173 mammal species, 618 bird species, and 600 butterfly species, including several rare, endemic and threatened species. There are 19 protected areas that cover 30% of the landscape.
HWC, including cross-border conflicts, is a major issue that threatens conservation efforts, wildlife populations and habitats, and the lives and livelihoods of communities living within and around protected areas.
As wildlife habitats come under pressure from encroachment, infrastructure development, and resource extraction there has been an increase in human–wildlife interactions and conflict. The landscape lost an estimated 1,118 sq. km of forest area from 2000 to 2010.
Major HWC incidents occur around the edges of isolated protected areas, with impacts on both local communities and wildlife. As of 2021, an average of 115 people are killed or severely injured annually in Nepal by large mammals such as elephant, tiger, leopard, and bear. In 2018, Bhutan experienced an annual crop losses of up to 25% of total household income due to crop raiding by wildlife and about 10%–19% through livestock depredation. The economic losses of rural communities owing to HWC are estimated at USD 2,32,096 in 2018 and USD 199,080 in 2021 for Bhutan and Nepal, respectively.
HWC is also a threat to wildlife. About 54% of reported annual elephant deaths in the transboundary habitat of Nepal and India are a result of retaliatory killings due to gunshot, wounds, electrocution, and chemical poisoning.
TUESDAY, 19 APRIL 2022
Session I: Highlights of HWC in KL
Event rationale and objectives
Nakul Chettri, Regional Programme Manager,
Transboundary Landscapes, ICIMOD
Presentation on KL process, progress and highlights on HWC in KL
Tashi Dorji, Programme Coordinator, KLCDI, ICIMOD, and Sunita Chaudhary, Ecosystem Services Specialist, ICIMOD
HWC country update – Bhutan
Namgay Wangchuk, Senior Forest Officer,
Nature Conservation Division, Department of Forest
and Park Services
HWC country update – India
Dechen Lachungpa, DFO, Department of Forest and Environment, Sikkim
North Bengal representative (TBC)
HWC country update – Nepal
Dil Bahadur Purja Pun, Planning Officer, Under Secretary, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation
Session II: Draft HWC policy brief and ToR for Regional Task Force
Presentation on draft HWC policy brief
Kesang Wangchuk, Biodiversity Specialist, ICIMOD
Presentation on the draft ToR
Tashi Dorji, Programme Coordinator, KLCDI, ICIMOD
Session III: Way forward
Draft regional HWC action plan with timeline
Vote of thanks
Basant Pant, Programme Officer, KLCDI, ICIMOD
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