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Sanjay Gandhi National Park: Pioneering Efforts in Mitigating Human-Leopard Conflict

by In-house Editor

In the sprawling urban landscape of Mumbai lies a haven of biodiversity—Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, SGNP has emerged as a sanctuary for wildlife, including the elusive and majestic leopards that roam its forests. However, this coexistence has not been without its challenges, particularly when it comes to human-leopard conflicts.

During the early 2000s, SGNP faced a surge in human-leopard conflicts, fueled by encroachment into leopard territories and the subsequent interaction between humans and wildlife. In response to these challenges, the Forest Department initiated efforts to address the conflicts, leading to a significant institutional initiative that would change the course of conservation efforts in the region.

SGNP’s approach to mitigating human-leopard conflicts was multifaceted and innovative. Recognizing the complexities of the issue, the park authorities adopted a holistic strategy that encompassed both short-term interventions and long-term solutions. Central to this approach was the recognition of the need to balance conservation goals with the safety and well-being of local communities.

One of the key initiatives implemented by SGNP was the development of protocols for managing human-leopard conflicts. These protocols emphasized non-lethal methods of conflict resolution, such as habitat management, community awareness programs, and the implementation of preventive measures to minimize human-leopard encounters. Additionally, SGNP focused on enhancing the capacity of frontline staff to handle conflict situations effectively and sensitively.

Another notable aspect of SGNP’s institutional efforts was its emphasis on community engagement and stakeholder participation. Recognizing that sustainable solutions require the cooperation and collaboration of all stakeholders, SGNP actively involved local communities, conservation organizations, and governmental agencies in its conflict mitigation initiatives. This inclusive approach not only fostered a sense of ownership and responsibility among community members but also facilitated the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

Over the years, SGNP’s efforts to mitigate human-leopard conflicts have yielded tangible results, with a noticeable reduction in conflict incidents and a gradual improvement in human-wildlife coexistence. Today, SGNP serves as a model for other protected areas grappling with similar challenges, showcasing the efficacy of collaborative and proactive approaches to wildlife conservation.

As we celebrate SGNP’s exemplary efforts as the institutional efforts to mitigate human-leopard conflicts in the Wildlife Tourism Conclave and Awards 2024, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai,we are reminded of the importance of fostering harmony between humans and wildlife. Through innovative strategies, community engagement, and a steadfast commitment to conservation, SGNP continues to pave the way towards a future where humans and leopards can thrive together in harmony.

Website: https://sgnp.maharashtra.gov.in/Site/Home/Index.aspx 

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