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Wild Seve - Empowering People and Conserving Wildlife Around India's Parks

Campaign by Centre for Wildlife Studies

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Story

India is a mega diversity country.  Our country is a high-priority region for global wildlife conservation efforts especially related to charismatic and conflict-prone megafauna such as the tigers, elephants and leopards. Successful conservation efforts by Indian government and NGOs have resulted in rebounding animal populations around many of India’s wildlife reserves. However, millions of people living in and around these wildlife reserves experience high levels of human-wildlife conflict (HWC).

More than 80,000 human-wildlife conflict incidents are reported in India with ex-gratia compensation payments from the government totalling almost 38 crore rupees per year. Incidents of HWC include crop loss and property damage (94.1%), livestock predation (5.6%), occasionally human injury (0.3%), and loss of human life (0.02%). Yet, it is important to note that hundreds of thousands of conflict incidents remain unreported and uncompensated. While there is some inherent tolerance for losses in these communities, repeated conflicts may lead to the retaliatory killing of wildlife.

Wild Seve (Seve, in Kannada, means ‘to serve’) was developed by Dr. Krithi K. Karanth at the Centre for Wildlife Studies after decades of research on the complexities of human-wildlife interactions. The research found that compensation schemes play a key role in lowering retaliation and fostering tolerance toward wildlife.

Wild Seve provides a toll-free number serving 600 village settlements and ½ million people around two wildlife reserves in Karnataka. Local residents call a toll-free helpline to report a human-wildlife conflict incident. Our field staff arrive at the incident location, assess the damage, and help families file and track ex-gratia compensation claims with the government. Our field assistants belong to the local communities and this has built enormous trust with the people. Our mobile technology-based platform bridges the gap between people and the government. Through the Wild Seve program we assist the most vulnerable people living adjacent to wildlife reserves to recoup losses of crops, livestock, property damage, and injury. For families with repeated incidents of livestock loss, we have built 60 predator-proof sheds till date which has mitigated livestock loss.

Wild Seve offers a rare opportunity to help people directly affected by human-wildlife, lower retaliation against wildlife and foster tolerance in people. Through our committed field assistants, the program addresses the delays in ex-gratia payments, inability to navigate the government claims process, and reduces the transactional costs faced by the poorest of people. 


This program has been instrumental in changing attitudes towards wildlife around Bandipur and Nagarahole National Parks, Karnataka. As of September 2021, we have responded to over 18,500 claims, and facilitated ex-gratia payments of over INR 62,724,228/- (USD $836,100/-) from the Government.


Wild Seve program plans to expand to multiple new wildlife reserves in Karnataka. Our long term goal is to ensure the persistence of India's conflict-prone wildlife, by increasing awareness, supporting livelihoods, and fostering tolerance among people.

Organisers
Centre for Wildlife Studies

Centre for Wildlife Studies

Beneficiary Charity

Sumit Arora

Sumit Arora

Organiser

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