The project aims are to examine how cross-boundary collaboration can impact conservation, especially of large wildlife in agricultural and natural areas, and can help mitigate human-wildlife conflict. The project will study large threatened native mammals in the Indian sub-continent, which cross borders on a regular basis as part of their human range and activity, such as native rhino, elephants, and other large mammals that interact with humans. We will map and quantify hotspots of human-wildlife conflict and will study variation in human-wildlife conflict over space and time in urban, agricultural and natural landscapes. Conflict with large wildlife around damage to crops and property threaten both human livelihood, income and wildlife and since these large animals move across boundaries, coordination across international and state boundaries is required in order to efficiently mitigate conflicts and their impacts. The study will provide an important contribution to better understanding and prioritising action across boundaries benefiting both wildlife conservation and reduced conflict.
The study will combine fieldwork focused on mammals, surveys with local community members, such as farmers, and study of conflict and collaboration with urban, agricultural and natural ecosystem scientists and practitioners, with whom we have already established ties and collaborations in the region, including both in India and in Nepal, where our industry partner is based.
The project will allow us to develop a framework to better mitigate human-wildlife conflict with large mammals, many of which are threatened with extinction, such as the Asian elephants and rhinos. It will create a cross-boundary collaboration that will enable to coordinate action and prioritise actions across urban, agricultural and natural landscapes. We will also identify gaps in the protected area network and discrepancies where we can better protect the movement, feeding and breeding of large mammals across human-dominated an natural landscapes that cross boundaries, reducing conflict with humans and economic costs (such as crop-raiding by elephants) and enabling better conservation. We will also examine and identify multiple actions to help mitigate conflict, such as adding native plants that help deter elephants from fields and other approaches that minimize damage from conflict to both humans and animals, and that can be applied across boundaries.