Wild Seve: Building Tolerance for Elephants Through Effective Mitigation and Compensation in India
Fragmented habitats and rebounding elephant populations in India’s Western Ghats have exacerbated human-elephant conflict (HEC). Our unique conservation initiative ‘Wild Seve’, uses mobile technology to file and track compensation claims, and identify conflict hotspots. This initiative services 600 villages and 480,000 people living adjacent to Bandipur and Nagarahole reserves. Despite mitigation use, 65% families living around these reserves have lost 66,712 in crops and property due to elephants in the past 30 months. We propose a novel scientific evaluation of mitigation measures to identify the most effective crop protection mechanisms. This will aid conflict mitigation and conservation efforts.
We will evaluate a suite of methods to reduce impacts of crop and property damage by elephants on local livelihoods. We will partner with farmers to identify alternative non-palatable crops. Multiple mitigation measures (e.g. fencing and alternative crops) will be tested at 60 control and 60 experimental farms. Crop and property damage on individual farms will be monitored daily using Open Data Kit technology. We will analyze control and experimental sites to assess the effectiveness of different mitigation strategies in deterring elephants. This will provide field based insights into implementing locally effective mitigation strategies and strengthen ongoing conflict management.