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Open Access Thesis

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Environmental Conservation

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Master of Science (M.S.)

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Human-population of the earth exceeding 6 billion and growing at an estimates rate of 1.2% per year (US census Bureau, 2002) will lead to increase in human-wildlife encounters. Attacks on humans are perhaps the least understood of these encounters, but the most interesting and emotionally connected to people (Quigley Howard 2005). The main aim of the study if to understand stakeholders’ perception towards human-wildlife interaction and conflicts in Corbett National park, India. We used a standardized IRB (Institutional Review Board) approved questionnaire to survey 315 household from 15 villages lying within and around Corbett National Park of India using snow-ball technique and stratified random sampling technique.. We also surveyed and analyzed the head of the village, snow-ball technique and stratified random technique survey differently. We used multivariate regression analysis to understand the data obtained from questionnaire survey. Later, we also designed a conceptual model to understand factors influencing human-wildlife interaction; and an empirical model to identify factors affecting human-wildlife conflicts. The results of the study identified that most of the encounters with wildlife occurred while collecting timber or grass from forests. Wild pigs, elephants and cheetal are the species mainly responsible for crop-loss in our study area. Majority of the stakeholders were engaged in timber and grass collection from forested area. Multivariate regression results suggests that stakeholders whose farms were located far from highway, had good fencing and who had better socio-economic status faced least threat from wildlife with respect to crop-loss, livestock loss and human-life loss/injury. The simulation results of dynamic system experiment suggests that habitat loss and poaching play a very significant role in tiger population and its future. The study concludes that a holistic multi-disciplinary conservation approach is needed to address the increasing conflict issues in India. More emphases should be given on community based-conservation strategies and policies. Watch-towers, pits, solar-powered fencing are the best and most effective ways to keep wildlife away from damaging crops and killing livestock. Sustainable development and better higher education is the key to conserving tigers in India.