Mobile helping farmers get compensation for wildlife conflict

Bengaluru: Farmers living near two tiger reserves of Karnataka are getting help in filing compensation claims with the help of a new mobile technology based platform, whenever an incident of wildlife conflict takes place these days. 

Bengaluru-based Eminent Conservation Scientist Dr Krithi Karanth has come up with 'WildSeve' project in 284 villages surrounding Bandipur and Nagarahole National Parks, two of country's premier tiger reserves.

Through the user-friendly mobile technology based platform which integrates a toll-free number, farmers can call to report a wildlife conflict incident. 

Dr Karanth said in the last year, the team from Wildlife Conservation Society has already helped file claims in 3,261 incidents of crop and property damage by elephants and other herbivores, 148 cases of livestock predation by big cats and wild dogs, 11 cases of injury and two deaths among human victims of the conflict. 

Till date, nearly 1,000 families have either received or are about to receive substantial and fair compensation, she said. 

After a farmer reports an incident using the toll-free number, motorcycle-borne trained responders, located strategically in the affected areas, rush and assist families in filing compensation claims, completing all due processes including fair assessment of the damage. 

They act as intermediaries between people and government agencies, ensuring transparency. 

"WildSeve arose from seven years of my research on understanding the complexities of human-wildlife interactions across India and finding that compensation has a role to play in fostering tolerance towards wildlife. It offers a rare opportunity to help people directly affected by conflict in the hope that they will tolerate their losses and not retaliate against wildlife," the conservationist said. 

Previous research by Dr Karanth shows that less than one-third of rural families living around India's wildlife reserves received compensation due to losses caused by wildlife.

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