8 Creative Ways to Reduce Human-Wildlife Conflict

For those of you who want all our wonderful wildlife to survive…


By Orion McCarthy 

THE TIGER is an iconic endangered species, with as few as 3,200 leftin the forests of India and Southeast Asia. Conservationists have invested millions of dollars into saving the species, and recent population surveys have showed a promising uptick in the number of tigers in the wild.

A new population survey in India shows tigers making a modest comeback. Photo credit: WWF. A new population survey in India shows tigers making a modest comeback. Photo credit: WWF.

This is good news for tigers. But is it good news for people living with tigers?

The answer is a mixed bag. Tigers keep forest ecosystems across Asia in balanceas the dominant top predator, and sustain ecotourism and conservation funding as a flagship species.

But living in close proximity to tigers can be dangerous.

The historic range of tigers is shown in beige, while the current range is Orange.  The region is now home to 3 billion people, with tigers occupying the few forests and national parks between the growing sprawl.  Photo credit: WWF. The historic range of tigers is shown in beige, while the current range is orange. The region is now home to 3 billion people, with tigers occupying…

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Satao – the enigma

The world is at risk of losing nearly all the large, wild mammals due to greed, misinformation, and habitat loss. Until people quit buying elephant tusks, rhino horn, etc. and the demand ceases, this will be very difficult to stop.

Mark Deeble

obeisance with fb tag

Alive, Satao was almost unknown; dead, he became legend.

How did it happen?

A year ago, Satao fell to a poacher’s poisoned arrow in a remote corner of Tsavo East National Park. When news of his death became known early in June 2014, it circled the globe at a speed any publicity agent would have been proud of. The international press, from Le Monde to The New York Times carried news of his death. It generated millions of tweets and Facebook page reads. There were YouTube tributes, news reports, articles, blog posts… two online petitions signed by 180,000 called for presidential protection for the remaining Tsavo tuskers. A week later, a tribute released on YouTube by the Great Elephant Census – created from the last footage we filmed of Satao, was seen by 135,000. ( http://youtu.be/KjDH_QZd0ok ) News of his death went viral in a way normally reserved only for…

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Intelligent Beings

Tonight the program Nature on PBS asked questions about animal intelligence as compared to humans.  This list portrays some of the things I learned, some new, some I remembered from past readings or other Nature programs:

-A few other animals besides humans recognize themselves in a mirror.  This list includes elephants, dolphins, and chimps.  Actually, humans do not demonstrate this ability until they are about 18 months old.

-Only a few species studied demonstrate a sense of social justice.  If they think they are being treated unfairly, they get mad and sometimes have a little fit.  This includes monkeys and dogs.

-Only one species studied demonstrated overt altruistic behavior and a sense of social justice toward others, the bonobo.  Of course, others may but have not been studied yet. Notably this is the same species that resolves social tension and conflict with sex rather than fighting.

-Humans grieve.  Many other mammals grieve immediately after the deaf of a loved one, e.g. their own young offspring, but few recognize the bones of long deceased members of their species.  The exception is elephants.  Elephants not only recognize the bones of other elephants, they frequently nuzzle them with their trunks and stay with them a while.

-Dolphins may seek out help when they need help.  The program showed a diver who was not looking for dolphins at all.  A dolphin who had a fish line and hook stuck in his side approached the diver and managed to stay very still while the diver removed the hook.  This took nearly ten minutes.  Of course, no one knows whether the dolphin was actually seeking help or simply stayed still when help was available.

-Chimps possess another behavior similar to humans, the ability to purposefully deceive.  A less dominant chimp was shown where a banana was hidden from a window outside an enclosure.  She and a more dominant female chimp were released into the enclosure at the same time.  The first chimp did not rush to the food.  Oh,no.  She waited and watched, played it cool,  and when the other chimp wandered off to the other side,  ran and ate the banana.

It is difficult to get inside of the mind of other animals.  Anyone who has pets thinks they are smart or at least dogs and cats seem to demonstrate considerable intelligence.  Horses do as well.  And yes, I have seen horses grieve.  When one of my horses died in a terrible and rather bizarre accident a few years ago, the other horses stood for hours in the place where the deceased horse had died.  They did not even leave to eat their alfalfa, a food they loved and always ran to.

I even think animals, in particular mammals,  know when they are headed to slaughter.  I think those who kill them know this but to admit it would be too painful.  They certainly know the smell of blood.  It incites terror.  Certainly animals can suffer at the hands of cruel humans.  Do animals besides us deliberately hurt others for the sheer, sick pleasure of it?  If there is a study regarding this topic, I have yet to see it.  I wonder.