Saturday, October 13, 2012

The evolution of human wildlife conflict scenario: My own perspective

High tolerance level has been closely associated with Bhutanese since time immemorial. I personally heard and came across many people from all sections of society, young and old, illiterate and literate, ignorant  and learned, poor and rich and so on…often chanting the word ‘jampa and Nyingye’ roughly translated as love and compassion.  If everyone practice what they chant, what a lovely world it would be and surely would be true shangrila.

Since my high school days, Buddhist jargon “Dhue ni me jur –Mi nam jur wa yin” ( which means : Time does not change, but humans do) has always struck  me and have been longing for a true and worthy answer. Now after completing my studies, this quest still exists in me, but now with more perplexity and mystification. Through my profession as a conservationist, now I feel that I am closer to the awaited answer. Still I am not sure if what I understand and perceive personally really is near to truth. 

 Our people especially in Bhutan have been living in harmony with nature since time immemorial and so did with the wildlife (wild animals). Predation of domestic livestock by wild animals is nothing new, but just a part of life and that’s the way our fore fathers survived and more so happily survived generation after generations. In the past, when a livestock was killed by wild predator, the most common and traditional answer was faithful blaming on the local deities. It was considered that when a local deity is not pleased with the actions of the individual or community, it often results in to the loss of livestock to wild predators.  Therefore, in the past, the present terminology ‘human wildlife conflict’  has been a synonymous to the warning response from one’s  local deities. More often,  people took such mishaps as a warning from deities to prevent disasters in the family  and community. More than anything, wild animals killing livestock were a part of life. Despite complaining and expecting compensation, people used to spend little money they had on performing rituals to please their deities in order to prevent other tragedies.

Today, truly the people have changed and society is changing. The world has become more than materialistic and everywhere is a show of competitions.  Livestock predation by wild predators still continues, but no more a local deity factor now. The then local deity factor has been replaced with the greed factor and thus the media catchy phrase HUMAN WILDLIFE CONFLICT  attracts the attention.  

After knowing that government is trying to pay a minimum compensation (consolation) for the livestock lost to wild predators, the response from the people have really changed. A change that is inclined towards greed. Everyone wants money as a compensation for their livestock killed, but no one wants to spare the predator given a chance to kill it.   There is no talk of the unpleased local deity and tolerance. Does it mean that due to over use of’ jampa and Nyingye ‘ (love and compassion) in schools that it got totally exhausted? Or is it a monetary magnet that is constantly repelling the local deity stigma. We (people) are not at all ready to accept that we are encroaching on the habitat of wildlife by virtue of being ourselves a superior being.  Would such things have happened  if the animals were superior to us?. May be YES,  may be NOT.  At times, the existence and seldom predation on the domestic cattle of  influential families reaches to the house of the peoples representatives. What would happen if  these wild animals (ecological guardians ) too have an equal right to vote for electing the representatives of the national assembly. At times, as a biologist, I just wish that they do have that right too, so that their rights are protected as well.

 These days, people are too honest to declare that they want to kill the predators?  May be they are right because they (farmers) are over victimized, but  people (I refer to people reporting and taking people’s views and not considering the right of wild animals) trying to give every right to people and  treating wild animals and their guardians (foresters) as close to terrorist associate is inhumanly treatment. Does this testify our superiority over animals?........

Is the time also changing?  Are we less religious than our previous generations? Are we becoming less Buddhist?  Is there a decrease in local deities?  Has our deities been transferred to other planet? Are wild animals killing more livestock today than before?   Are we getting greedy?    Or …… Are we  (people) changing?


  1. Hi Lhendup,

    interesting read and I am impressed with your view.

    Its human greed that is changing everything. and that sums up everything.......

    today not only wild animals are facing the threat of extinction. there is a equal threat posing for the extinction of even our domestic animals too. Look at the yaks.....they are now being transported in mass for slaughtering!! for the want of more money.....and yes money magnet is doing the magic in increasing the human greed.

    Your thoughts on animal right are commendable. and its my sincere hope that more people understand your message. i.e GREED WILL KILL US ALL ultimately........

    ...Because greed has killed our faith in local deities, Buddhism and our Buddhist way of living...So it will also kill us too....

    till then have a nice day Lhendup.


  2. Dear Kunzang,
    Thank you for your encouraging words.
    Let's wish that some day the monetary magnetic field shifts in its polarity

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  4. I would term this phenomena of change in Bhutan a WESTERN EVOLUTION IN REACH, in this context, it might have been better isolated then having opened our gates..... The word HWC might not have been the term and the things might have been normal as before-no monitory involvement, unlike it does in every cases today (and the Ped-day would not have been an issue for any one as well unless it was forced upon new yorkers.... lolz....). People wanted development and so has the people initiate development that now is the main factor of every inch of evolution.... DID WE NEEDED DEVELOPMENT? Great one Ashang......i share your thoughts......