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Human–wildlife interactions and attitudes towards wildlife and wildlife reserves in Rajasthan, India

  • Krithi K. Karanth (a1), Shivangi Jain (a2) and Erika Weinthal (a3)

Human–wildlife interactions affect people's livelihoods, attitudes and tolerance towards wildlife and wildlife reserves. To investigate the effect of such interactions on people's attitudes and livelihoods, we surveyed 2,233 households located around four wildlife reserves in Rajasthan, India. We modelled respondents’ attitudes towards wildlife and wildlife reserves, experience of crop damage and livestock predation, and likelihood of mitigation use. Crop damage was reported by 76% of surveyed households, and livestock predation was reported by 15%. Seventy-one percent of households used at least one of eight mitigation measures against crop damage, and 19% used at least one of seven mitigation measures against livestock predation. We found that male respondents and households with a higher level of education valued wildlife and wildlife reserves more. Households at higher elevations and growing a greater variety of crops were more prone to crop damage. Proximity to reserves, elevation and larger livestock herds were associated with a higher incidence of livestock predation. Households in which a member had > 12 years of schooling and households with a history (6–10 years) of interaction with wildlife (i.e. crop damage) were most likely to use mitigation against crop damage. Households that owned more livestock and had a history of interaction (1–5 years and > 10 years) were most likely to mitigate against predation. Our comparative study provides insights into factors that influence interaction and tolerance, which could be used to improve existing management and prevention efforts in Rajasthan.

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Also at: Nicholas School of Environment, Duke University, Durham, USA, and Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bengaluru, India

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