Understanding Crop Depredation in Little Rann of Kutch
Large herbivores, including the Indian wild ass in the Little Rann of Kutch, often raid the cultivation around, affecting human wellbeing, simultaneously making people less tolerant of the wildlife, which undermines the well-being both wildlife and humans. We strive to understand and reduce conflicts around Little Rann of Kutch.
Problems associated with locally overabundant wildlife species have emerged as important management issues in Gujarat. Farmers residing around Wild Ass Sanctuary (WAS) are reporting severe crop depredation. With better protection, the herbivores numbers have increased locally. This increase in population and good forage (crops) outside protected area has led them to move out in the adjacent agro-pastoral landscape resulting in crop depredation. Conflict mitigation has become a challenging task for wildlife managers, who, in the absence of proper information, feel handicapped to implement any mitigation measures. Such situations would be a serious setback for the conservation of the herbivores surviving here, especially the last surviving population of the endangered Indian wild ass, that only survives in this part of the world. I believe that the lack of awareness among the farmers on how to deal with this conflict has worsened this problem. Therefore, the proposed project aims to: (1) understand the spatiotemporal pattern of crop depredation around LRK, (2) identify crop depredation hot spots and create a risk map, (3) understand human -IWA interactions. Habitat modeling will specifically help us identify factors (spatial, ecological and anthropogenic) that dictate Spatio-temporal patterns of crop raiding. This knowledge will ultimately help in identifying crop raiding hotspots in LRK. Interview surveys would significantly increase our understanding of farmer’s socio-economic status and their perceptions and attitudes towards crop depredation. This project will provide the much-needed information that will significantly facilitate policy makers in formulating sound policies for better management of conflict issue.