Working with pastoral communities to conserve threatened wild mammals
Ahmad, R., Dar, S. and Kumari, I. (2018). Working with pastoral communities to conserve threatened wild mammals. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/107827
© the Authors, 2018
In India, most of the conservation sites have local community and the policy makers as the major stake holders. However, they have been rarely involved in conservation. The alpine and subalpine meadows of Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary are overstocked with about 300 livestock/sq km, which seems to be more than the carrying capacity. The pastures have started exhibiting a degraded look because of overgrazing and wild ungulates such as markhor Capra falconeri and musk deer Moschus crysogaster have started decimating. At the same time, we have the herders who are mainly dependent on the livestock for their survival. And the large carnivores such as Tibetan wolf and Himalayan Brown bear attack the livestock resulting in the loss for herders and retaliatory killings of these carnivores. Therefore it is important to understand the social and ecological issues and consult with the herders - the major stake holders to save the alpine pastures, rare wild ungulates and also provide relevant incentives and alternatives to the herders. The present study is a step towards it. We studied the changing traditional livestock grazing practices and the increase in grazing pressure as a result. We also looked at the problem of livestock depredation by the large carnivores like wolf and brown bear and its impact on the attitudes of livestock herders and the conservation of these carnivores. We engaged with the herders to encourage them to leave the non-traditional practices and discussed about the relevant incentives to help them. We interviewed the livestock herders to record the livestock numbers, change in traditional practices to understand the grazing pressure on the pastures. We also recorded the number of livestock killed by the carnivores and the attitude of herders towards these carnivores. We conducted Focused Group Discussions and Participatory Rural Appraisals with the livestock herders to discuss the changing grazing practices, its negative impacts, and its conservation implications along with the incentives for the herders. We found that the changing herding practices have doubled the livestock numbers. Livestock herders, who were traditionally grazing their own livestock, bring livestock of landlords now along with them to earn cash. Some of the traditional herders even sublet their pastures to non-traditional herders for the season to earn money. About 2% of livestock is being killed by carnivores and herders hate Tibetan wolf more than the brown bear because Tibetan wolf is too smart to deceive herders to attack the livestock. Herders agreed to leave the non-traditional practices and continue with the traditional livestock grazing practices to conserve these pastures, herbivores and improve the quality of livestock. They outlined the incentives such as solar lights, cooking gases and the school bags and books and school fees for their children to give them proper education. Herders also pledged not to go for retaliatory killings of carnivores. ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
MetadataShow full item record
- ECCB 2018 
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