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Living with tigers Panthera tigris: patterns, correlates, and contexts of human–tiger conflict in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

  • Rajendra Dhungana (a1), Tommaso Savini (a2), Jhamak Bahadur Karki (a3), Maheshwar Dhakal (a4), Babu Ram Lamichhane (a5) and Sara Bumrungsri (a1)...

Human–tiger conflict arises when tigers Panthera tigris attack people or their livestock, and poses a significant threat to both tigers and people. To gain a greater understanding of such conflict we examined spatio-temporal patterns, correlates, causes and contexts of conflict in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, and its buffer zone, during 2007–2014. Data, mostly from compensation applications, were collected from the Park office. Fifty-four human casualties (32 fatalities, 22 injuries) and 351 incidents of livestock depredation were recorded, clustered in defined areas, with 75.9% of human casualties occurring in the buffer zone and 66.7% within 1 km of the Park boundary. A linear model indicated there was a significant increase in human casualties during 2007–2014. Livestock were killed in proportion to their relative availability, with goats suffering the highest depredation (55%). There was a positive correlation between livestock depredation and National Park frontage (the length of Village Development Committee/municipality boundary abutting the National Park), but not human population, livestock population, forest area in the buffer zone, rainfall or temperature. There was no relationship between tiger attacks on people and any of the correlates examined. Wild prey density was not correlated with conflict. Of the tigers removed because of conflict, 73.3% were male. The majority of attacks on people occurred during accidental meetings (77.8%), mostly while people were collecting fodder or fuelwood (53.7%), and almost half (48.2%) occurred in the buffer zone forests. We recommend the use of the conflict map developed here in the prioritization of preventive measures, and that strategies to reduce conflict should include zoning enforcement, improvement of livestock husbandry, participatory tiger monitoring, an insurance scheme, and community awareness.

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      Living with tigers Panthera tigris: patterns, correlates, and contexts of human–tiger conflict in Chitwan National Park, Nepal
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Also at: Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Singhadurbar, Kathmandu, Nepal

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