Pattern and Economic Losses of Human-Wildlife Conflict in the Buffer Zone of Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve (JKSNR), Haa, Bhutan
Namgay Wangchuk, Damrong Pipatwattanakul, Surin Onprom, and Vijak Chimchome
The human-wildlife conflict (HWC) in the buffer zone of Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve (JKSNR) has been a serious management concern. Mitigating HWC requires a firm understanding of the intricacies related to the conflict. Therefore, this research was intended to find out the pattern and economic losses due to HWC in the two blocks within the buffer zone of JKSNR. Based on a simple random sampling, 137 respondents from Bjee and 85 from Sombaykha block were interviewed using structured questionnaires. The respondents of Bjee lost 27 heads of livestock and 21.39 tons of crop to the wild animals in the year 2016, while Sombaykha lost 97 heads of livestock and 16.41 tons of crop. An analysis of HWC pattern revealed that both the livestock depredation and crop damage was severe during the summer season, with wild dogs accountable for 80% of the livestock kills and wild pigs being the biggest crop destroyer. The annual estimated economic loss, according to the respondents of Bjee was US$ 49,057 with an average of US$ 358 per family, whereas, loss in Sombaykha was US$ 83,464 with an average of US$ 982. We recommend to develope an HWC management strategy with the inclusion of livestock intensification programs, establishing of an insurance scheme, support proportionate electrical fencing, and alternate income generation activities to compensate for the losses and minimize conflict. The culling of habituated wild pigs through an ecotourism program, to enhance the livelihood of the local people, is also recommended. To understand the HWC in depth, further research on wildlife population dynamics, habitat utilization, and behavior is recommended.