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26 March 2024 Navigating Coexistence: Addressing Human-Elephant Encounters in the Buffer Zone of Bardiya National Park, Nepal
Pahari Sagar, Joshi Rajeev, Paudel Umesh
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The Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) is one of the important megafaunas in protected areas of the Terai (lowland) region of Nepal. They often encounter humans and their livelihood-supporting activities in the proximity of forest boundary within the protected area. The human-elephant conflict has been one of the major issues in the human settlement close to the protected area, which has caused economic losses and poised a threat to human lives every year. The issue has obstructed sustainable management initiatives within the protected areas. The objective of the study is to analyze the cause of the human-elephant conflict in the Buffer Zone of Bardiya National Park and to assess people's perception of this megafauna. The structured questionnaire survey was done in three municipalities within the Buffer Zone of Bardiya National Park. Besides, key informants' interview was done to supplement the questionnaire survey. The result shows that 93% of the respondents have been a victim of elephant attacks in the past three years. Last year, on average, each household lost approximately NRs 9690 (USD 1 = NRs 132.72) worth of stored harvest due to the elephant attack. Most of the attack occurs during the season between July to September, followed by the season between October to December. It also indicates that the preference of elephants for crops is the primary cause of elephant attacks/raids in the study area. The second important cause of the elephant attack is insufficient food base which is followed by the expansion of agricultural fields towards the forest. Ninety percent of respondents react to the elephant attack by chasing them (using fire or noise). Fifty-one percent of respondents accept the human-elephant coexistence because of their biological and economic values. However, 40% of them reject the coexistence because of the threat posed by the elephant upon the local people and their livelihood. Human-elephant conflict hinders the management campaign and therefore has to be resolved through collaboration of the protected area, the local people and the administrative stakeholders. It is suggested that more study has to be made to acknowledge the pattern of residing as well as migrating elephants around forest boundaries and adjacent settlements.

Pahari Sagar, Joshi Rajeev, and Paudel Umesh "Navigating Coexistence: Addressing Human-Elephant Encounters in the Buffer Zone of Bardiya National Park, Nepal," Journal of Resources and Ecology 15(2), 412-421, (26 March 2024).
Received: 8 October 2022; Accepted: 30 April 2023; Published: 26 March 2024
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