Human-wildlife conflict around the world

Published 4:03 PM ET, Sun June 20, 2021
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In India, as elephants lose their forest habitats they are increasingly coming face to face with humans. Each year, around 100 elephants are killed by human-related activity in India -- some from being run over by trains, others in retaliation for damage to crops and property. Scroll through the gallery to see more examples of human-wildlife conflict. Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images
One of the last strongholds of the Bengal tiger is a huge mangrove forest called the Sundarbans, which crosses India and Bangladesh. As rising sea levels shrink their habitat, Bengal tigers are venturing closer to human settlements. According to a 2013 study, at least three tigers and 20-30 humans are killed each year as a result of human-tiger conflict. Conservation groups in the area have introduced a tiger telephone hotline and other measures to help prevent attacks.
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Threatened grizzly bear populations on the US-Canada border have a long history of conflict with humans. Researchers have managed to reduce the problem by educating the public about bears, providing homes with bear-resistant garbage bins, and patrolling bear habitat in areas where they have important food sources, to reduce the need for them to go into towns to feed. Ryan Dorgan/Jackson Hole News & Guide/AP
In the US, mountain lions are increasingly coming in contact with humans. In an effort to understand the causes, a 2020 study found that trophy hunting, which is legal in most western states, is making the problem worse. This is partly because if a mature male is killed, it leaves behind younger cats that have not yet learned how to hunt proficiently and sometimes mistake humans for food. Avalon/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
In Chobe, in northern Botswana, the encroachment of people in and around wildlife pathways drives human-wildlife conflict. Research has shown that creating urban wildlife corridors make it easier for elephants to pass through towns without causing harm to local communities. Monirul Bhuiyan/AFP/Getty Images
Without natural predators to control their numbers, deer in the UK are devastating woodland. In Scotland alone, that's costing the Forestry Commission £4.5 million ($6.3 million) each year in management costs. By eating forest shrubs, deer have been blamed for causing a decline in bird populations. Tens of thousands of deer are involved in road accidents each year, and advocacy groups are campaigning for more warning signs to be placed on roads with frequent collisions alert motorists. Leon Neal/Getty Images
European Starlings, photographed along with a red-tailed hawk, were introduced to the USA in the 19th century, and regions of Australasia and South Africa, in an attempt to control native insect populations. But there were unforeseen consequences. Today, between 100 million and 200 million Common Starlings on six continents destroy many crops, and out-compete birds such as woodpeckers in the United States. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
For more than a century, wolves were extinct in Germany, but in recent years the population has bounced back. While conservationists applauded the return, farmers -- whose livestock are at increasing risk of attacks from wolves -- did not all share the sentiment. In 2019, Germany loosened restrictions on shooting wolves to protect livestock, but researchers have found that fencing and shepherding are more effective. David Ebener/DPA/AFP/Getty Images