Weeklong Training Module on Human Dimension of Wildlife Management and Conflict Resolution at the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun

16 Mar, 2019

A 5-Day Training Module on ‘Human dimension of wildlife management and conflict resolution’ was implemented (March 11-15) jointly by the Wildlife Institute of India and GIZ, was conducted at WII, Dehradun. The module is a part of the “Post Graduate Diploma Course in Advance Wildlife Management” and is being further strengthened by infusing new competency-based curriculum and participatory training methods with support from GIZ. The training used curriculum developed based on a competency framework on human-wildlife conflict (HWC) in India and delivered using participatory methods. The 5-day training module was being facilitated by Dr Neeraj Khera as the Lead Trainer.

The first day focused on the basics of human-wildlife conflict mitigation looking at the Drivers, State, Impact and Response to this issue. A courtroom simulation exercise was conducted on the legal understanding of finding solutions to human-wildlife conflict. Following the exercise, a Knowledge Cafe was conducted over key features of National Action Plan, database, Standard Operating Procedures and HWC Management Action Plan at local level. The day ended with a fishbowl discussion on the mitigation measures and reflection by participants on their role in ensuring effective mitigation of Human-Wildlife Conflict.

Day 2 of the workshop focused on a landscape approach to human-wildlife conflict mitigation, exploring the practical aspects of its application in field situations and selecting long ranging species. The module started with a quiz amongst the participants followed by a panel discussion by Sh. Ajay Desai, Dr B C Choudhary and Dr Sathyakumar which included cases of elephant, crocodile and bear respectively. Participants brainstormed on the ethical considerations of different human-wildlife conflict measures using fishbowl method. Panel discussions by scientists and practitioners focused on key research questions from the managers perspective where Dr Dhananjai Mohan (UKFD), Sh. Qamar Qureshi, Dr P C Tyagi and Dr K Ramesh from WII, and Sh. Ajay Desai discussed the different challenges and issues of science-management linkage.

The third day focused on experiential learning with field staff and primary response team on human-wildlife conflict. Participants visited an elephant camp at the Rajaji Tiger Reserve and Haridwar division and discussed good practices and specific management elements.

Day 4 of the workshop focused on communications, Media, and community participation. The day began with a session on engaging with the Media by Media expert Mr Ramesh Menon, which included a Newsroom role-play, followed by simulation on communication between the media and forest department. This was followed by a panel discussion, where Dr. Ruchi Badola shared expert inputs on the relevance and need of community participation in effective human-wildlife conflict mitigation. Sh. Sunil Limaye, APCCF (WL) Maharashtra shared a case study on human-leopard conflict mitigation, from Sanjay Gandhi National Park, where effective media and community engagement was achieved. Sh. Ajay Desai discussed the need to acknowledge the contribution of elephant Mahaouts in HWC mitigation and focus on their capacity development. The day ended with a brainstorming session on Local HWC Management Action Plan.

The last day of the 5-Day Training module focused on reflections from participants in the form of ‘Thematic Champion presentations’ on topics of their choice. Participants shared knowledge on key issues in human-wildlife conflict mitigation using creative and participative methods. The module received extremely positive feedback and ended with certificate distribution by Dr Sathyakumar and Sh. Ajay Desai.