Humanwildlife conflict is emerging as a major concern. Wildlife refers to theanimals who are not controlled by humans and are also known as theundomesticated animals. Wildlife is understood by many people as a resourcewhich provides for humans. But wildlife is not a resource which is only usedfor the benefit of humans. Animals can exist without human help. Animals aswell as humans are part of the ecological system and they both are affected byecological imbalances. Wildlife can be found in many ecosystems like forests,deserts, plains, grasslands and other areas.
It acts as a country’s culturalasset and it also provides aesthetic value to man. It provides humans withuseful products like honey, leather, ivory etc. Wildlifeis important for ecological and biological processes and it also providesstability to different natural processes. Human beings are largely dependent onwildlife for basic amenities. Wildlife provides many values to humans such asphysical utility that is for food and clothing, monetary utility, recreationalutility, scientific utility including the contributions of wildlife to thedevelopment of science, for example, by studying wildlife scientists can knowmore about ecology.
It also provides ecological utility which includes the roleof wild life in maintaining the ecological balance, existence utility whichincludes the need for wildlife for the existence of life on Earth.Conflictsbetween men and animals have been there since these beings came into life.Initially humans were hunters and they killed animals for food, hide and otherproducts. Then they became hunter gatherers and started gathering herbs,fruits, seeds etc. They lived as a hunter gatherer in ecosystems like forestsfor a long period of time. After some time they understood that they cancultivate their own crops and that they can domesticate and raise animals. Whenhumans started to expand their land and resources without thinking about theenvironment it lead to the slow degradation of environment and also lead toconflicts between the wild and the humans.Ina human wildlife conflict both the parties suffer losses and both the partieshas an adverse effect upon each other.
Humans do not have the ownership andsole right to live on Earth but they behave like they are the owners of theEarth. Human wildlife conflict has been there in the past but then the farmersin the villages did not care if wild animals took a small part of their cropsbut now as population increased there are more serious cases of conflicts.Therapid development and urbanization has resulted in increased cases of humanwildlife conflicts. The increasing war for space and food between humans andanimals is the main reason for human wildlife conflicts. The spaces for habitatare shrinking and animals face a shortage of food and this forces them to comeinto human settlements in search of food and space. Human populations aregrowing and as a result humans need more space, water, food, etc. So theyexpand their territory and invade the forests and other habitats.
Forest havebeen converted into agricultural lands and into industry and habitation. Thiscauses a reduction of resources and the animals come out into the humanterritory. This causes an interaction between man and animals and conflict arisebetween them. Because of this expansion of human territory deforestation aswell as fragmentation of migratory paths has happened. Due to deforestation,population increase, development and climate changes human and wildlife are ingreater competition for acquiring space and other resources.Humanwildlife conflict is an obstacle to wildlife conservation.
Hunting and habitatdestruction have caused animal extinction and also endangered many species. Itis a serious threat to the continued survival of many species and is also athreat to local human populations. The ecosystem is balanced and plants,animals and other organisms depend on each other for survival.
For example theplants are known as producers as they produce their food with the help of sunlight,water and other minerals. The animals who eat these plants are known asherbivores animals and they are consumed by carnivorous animals. This is a foodchain and it includes many species and is very complicated. Every animal hasits own part in the ecosystem.
When a species becomes extinct it affects theecosystem as a whole. Wild animals which were in large numbers in the forestwere hunted for food, sport and other purposes.Whenconflict arise between humans and animals there is a chance for injuries andloss of life of both parties.
But in most of these conflicts the victims arethe animals. The main results of conflicts are loss of crops, loss oflivestock, loss of human life and property, damage to property, stealing,snatching and loss of grains. All these conflicts occurs due to human activityand animals come out because humans expand their territory by exploiting thenatural habitat of animals. Many animals like deer, rodents, wild boar andbirds cause damage to crops especially those located on the boundary of forestsand along the protected areas where these animals live in large numbers. Inareas rich in wild population there is an increased risk of loss of livestockespecially when animals are sent for grazing in forest rich in predators. Casesof injury and loss of human lives are increasing due to attack of tiger,elephant, leopard, snakes, etc. Damages to houses and other properties byanimals like elephants arise due to conflicts.
Animals who are comfortable incrowded places and who mingle with humans easily like monkeys steal and snatchfood and other things from people. Crops especially grains are destroyed byanimals like mice, rather, rodents etcTheanimals as well as the humans has to suffer due to degradation and destructionof wildlife habitats for the selfish needs of the people. The growing humaninvasion into the wilderness have resulted in increased attacks by the wildanimals who come in contact with people because they are forced to move intothe inhabited areas due to loss of habitat. In most cases people blame theanimals for encroaching into human settlements but the real reason for humanwildlife conflicts are the humans themselves. The reckless developmentalactivities, felling of trees, hunting and all contributes to an adverse impacton the wildlife. People have no respect or tolerance for wildlife and theyoften kill animals without any remorse.Dueto human intervention and conflicts between man and animal there are disruptivechanges in the ecological balance and this poses a serious environmentalchallenge. Overpopulation of both humans and animals leads to human animalinteraction and conflicts and the solution to this serious problem is always infavour of the people and the animals are considered not important enough to besaved.
This causes a lot of unwanted deaths of animals and imbalances inecological processes. This effects all lifeforms equally and all of this iscaused due to conflicts which arises due to human activities.Humansadopt an anthropocentric view to human wildlife conflicts. This way of thinkingis another reason for human wildlife conflict. Anthropocentrism says thathumans are the central and most important specie on Earth and also considershumans as a different being who is superior to all other life forms. They canutilise and exploit resources like plants, water, land, animals etc. They donot give importance to any other lifeforms and do not care if resources gotdepleted due to over utilisation and also do not care if species became extinctdue to human activities. It believes that the view of humans are the mainfeature of morality and hence sees nature in terms of its value to humans.
Anthropocentrism can be seen even in the story of creation in the book ofGenesis in the Bible in which God creates man in His image and gave him thepermission to dominate over the other beings on the Earth.Someanthropocentric philosophers does not agree with the fact that resources onEarth are limited and that over utilisation of resources can lead to the depletionof resources. It also rejects the idea that if there is rapid increase inpopulation the Earth will become unable to satisfy all the needs of the lifeforms which may lead to wars, famines, conflicts etc. These philosophers saythat the idea about limited resources is exaggerated or that the technology canbe developed in order to solve the problem of scarcity of resources. They alsostates that there is no need for imposing control to protect the resources andenvironment.
Someother environmentalists have said that it is possible to value and respect theenvironment without completely discarding anthropocentrism. It is also known asenlightened anthropocentrism and it says that humans have an ethical and moralobligation towards environment but that it can be justified in terms ofobligation to other humans. For example, environmental pollution can be seen asa negative factor as it adversely affects the people. Also the wastage andunwanted use of resources is seen as a negative factor as it prevents thefuture generations from having these resources.Humansshould move away from the anthropocentric views and should realise that it istheir moral duty or obligation to protect the environment.
Humans shouldrealise that it is their activities which causes conflicts and other disruptionin the natural ecosystem and they should think about all the organisms on theEarth and also about how human activities negatively affects these organisms.They should start to develop their moral values and should move away from theselfish ways and from the idea that they are the most important beings onEarth. Human beings are not superior to all other beings and the environmenthas its own value and is not valuable just because it provides for humans.