Human-tiger conflict (HTC) threatens both tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) conservation initiatives and the lives of local people who depend on tiger-shared forests for subsistence. In buffer zone community forests around Chitwan National Park, Nepal, incidences of human-killings have increased over the past 20 years resulting in widespread research and programs to mitigate HTC. While previous studies have explored conflict mitigation strategies at the government and institutional levels, this study seeks to understand, through a gendered lens, HTC mitigation methods known and practiced by individuals living in three HTC hotspot buffer zone communities south of Chitwan National Park. We applied Feminist Political Ecology theory, with gender as the central analytical variable along with the consideration of other socio-demographic factors, to understand where tigers rank in perceived wildlife threats, what individual HTC mitigation methods are known and practiced, and what barriers exist to implementing known methods. Individual interviews (n=150), sampling men and women equally, revealed that tigers rank second overall as the most threatening wildlife species to residents, with no difference in mean ranking between women and men. Across the three sampled communities, 31 unique HTC mitigation methods were reported. The three most commonly reported methods were going to the forest in groups, taking a weapon for protection, and not wearing the color red. There was no significant difference in mean number of HTC mitigation methods known between men (μ= 2.57) and women (μ=2.29). However, using a repeated measures ANOVA, a significant difference in mean number of methods known and practiced in the last month of the survey was found between men and women. Men reported significantly more barriers to implementing methods than women. Respectively, the top methods men and women reported not using often were traveling in groups and wearing non-red clothing. Dominant socio-cultural practices coupled with known biological factors associated with HTC may contribute to reported implementation barriers and place men from one out of the three study areas who enter the forest alone at high risk for an attack. Further analysis and understanding of how gender and other social constructs play a role in HTC is needed to reduce incidences of HTC and the removal of tigers from core conservation areas.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. June 2019. Major: Wildlife Conservation. Advisors: James Smith, Kristen Nelson. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 40 pages.
Gendered Coping Mechanisms for Human-Tiger Conflict in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.
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