Human-wildlife; Interaction And Coexistence

Jan 29, 2023
Dikchhya Baral

I grew up hearing recollections from my grandmother about the gloomy forest that once covered the area where there is a full human settlement now i.e my village. The forest is still present, although it is undoubtedly smaller. Many wild animals once called it home, but I believe they moved to another location far away. My grandmother experienced the nighttime attacks of elephants, the roaming of wild buffalo, and the deer searching for grass during those times, but these events are now simply stories to me.

We humans only seventy thousand years ago were limiting ourselves to the corner of Africa. In the following millennia, we have made such progress in every sector whether that be health, transportation, or scientific research we now are the masters of the planet. But during this whole process what has happened to other life existing on the planet? Well, the answer is simple: this contributed to the loss of species, changes in the ecosystem, and many more. It was not the only one-directional, we humans too lost our life but still, the population of humans outnumber them. Just to compare the population, if we took all 7 billion people of the world then the combined biomass of us will be 700 million tons whereas including every wild animal from squirrels to elephants their combined biomass will only be less than 100 million tons.

Looking back to our journey from the corner of Africa to today we have surely understood that coexistence between us and wildlife is a must in order to function in this ecosystem. Now more focus is given to their conservation and protection. Several national parks and conservation areas have been built and endangered species have been protected. Human settlement encroachment around those areas is reduced as much as possible. Around those regions, there is more interaction between people and wildlife so keeping in mind the concept of a park-people-friendly environment known as a buffer zone was introduced also in Nepal in 1996. The animals from the protected areas damage the agricultural crops, human harassment, injuries and death, and livestock depredation causes an imbalance relationship (Jnawali, 1989) between people and wildlife. Although the people in those areas face those casualties they still value their importance and are learning to coexist. The cultural and religious values of the people also tell them not to touch wildlife. As an example, the people from the Himalayan region believe touching or harming the snow leopards could bring misfortunes. Maybe they don’t know about the ecosystem or they don’t have scientific knowledge but our cultures, tradition, and religion teach us to protect which truly reflects the beauty of our country Nepal.

Leaving all the chaos and bad interaction behind, we humans should focus on creating a lovely relationship with wildlife as it entirely depends on us. We could speak up for them, keep them alive, safeguard them, and most importantly properly share this space with them.

References:

  • Homo sapiens Yuval Noah Harari
  • The geographical Journal of Nepal, TU Central Department of Geology

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