Human-wildlife interactions in Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya
Human beings, in their environment, have always been interacting with wildlife. These interactions are in the form of coexistence, subsistence, and recreation, or are bio-cultural in nature. However, some of these interactions take the form of conflicts. Additionally, the growing human population has consequences on human-wildlife interactions, which calls for changes in wildlife management. It is, therefore, important to document the historical and emerging human-wildlife interactions and understand and analyse them for creating informed interventions. ATREE’s Eastern Himalaya offices, through three main projects, has been working on human-wildlife interactions, focusing on the conservation of focal species and sustainable development in the human-dominated landscapes of Eastern Himalayas, specifically Darjeeling-Sikkim. The three projects in Darjeeling-Sikkim geographically cover three altitude zones comprising lowland subtropical forests, mid-hill temperate forests, and high-altitude temperate and subalpine forests. Representative species like the hornbills in the lowland forests, pangolins in the mid-hill forests, and the red panda in the high altitude forests are being studied to understand the factors and dynamics influencing human-wildlife interactions in the region.