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Inskip C.,University of Kent | Ridout M.,University of Kent | Fahad Z.,WildTeam formerly the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh | Tully R.,WildTeam formerly the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh | And 5 more authors.
Human Ecology | Year: 2013

People's perceptions of the risk posed by wild animals to human lives and/or livelihoods can influence the rate at which people intentionally kill these species. Consequently, human-wildlife conflict (HWC) management strategies may benefit from the inclusion of actions which reduce risk perceptions. This study uses Participatory Risk Mapping (PRM) and semi-structured interviews to explore local perceptions and the wider socio-economic context of human-tiger conflict (HTC) in the Bangladesh Sundarbans area. Of the 24 locally-relevant problems identified by the PRM process, tigers were the only problem to be cited by >50 % of respondents. The 'tiger problem' was also perceived by villagers to be of relatively high severity. Negative perceptions of tigers in the Sundarbans communities are exacerbated by other locally-experienced poverty-related problems, as well cyclones, floods and soil erosion. Interactions between the problems experienced by villagers, including HTC, result in a complex 'risk web' which detrimentally affects lives and livelihoods and ultimately perpetuates poverty levels in the Sundarbans communities. This research demonstrates that PRM and in-depth, qualitative research can enhance understanding of the perceived magnitude and wider socio-economic context of risks from wildlife and aid the identification of risk perception management actions which may help to reduce the number of animals killed by people. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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