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It’s not easy having elephants in your backyard

Around the world, as communities expand, and natural wild places are reduced, people and wildlife are increasingly coming into conflict over living space and food.

It might be baboons in Namibia attacking young goats, or elephants in Nepal eating crops, or European bears and wolves killing livestock. The problem is universal, affects rich and poor, and is bad news for all concerned.

The impacts are often huge. People lose their crops and livestock (and therefore a source of income and food security), property, and sometimes their lives - even a severe injury caused by wildlife can result in a loss of livelihood. The animals, some of which are already threatened or even endangered, are sometimes killed in retaliation or to prevent future conflicts.

Human-wildlife conflict is happening more and more, affecting a lot of different species. The effects of climate change will probably make the problem worse.

Niki Rust

"As human populations grow, we encounter wild animals more often as we move into their space. Sometimes these interactions are negative: this is called human-wildlife conflict. However, through the work that we do across the world, we are beginning to see that humans can live alongside wildlife in a way that is beneficial to both of us. We’ve shown that people are the key to making conservation work: our human-wildlife conflict mitigation schemes put communities at the heart of conservation."

Niki Rust
Technical adviser for Wildlife

How we're tackling human-wildlife conflict

The solutions are often specific to the wildlife or area concerned, and are often creative and simple – for instance planting a ‘barrier’ of crops that repel the animals (elephants and some other wildlife don't like chilli, for example).

An important aspect of the work is that it benefits both the animals and local people, and actively involves the communities concerned (in the case of chilli, it can be sold to increase income). It’s about finding solutions that lead to mutually beneficial co-existence.

The work has also often led to people being more enthusiastic and supportive of conservation, and has demonstrated that people can live alongside wildlife while developing sustainable livelihoods.