2 July 2014, Ura, Bumthang: In the past, compensation schemes adopted by DoFPS was targeted towards compensating the livestock loss to Tiger, Snow leopard, Asiatic Black Bear and Common Leopard which was downsized to two key predators (Tiger and Snow Leopard only) due to dearth of fund which had been donated earlier by some foreign philanthropists. It was primarily initiated to prevent retaliatory actions against the endangered wild animals.
However, the scheme benefited only a few individual farmers while the nlarger segment of rural farmers affected due to crop damage were neglected under this scheme. In view of this, the establishment of a Human-Wildlife Conflict Endowment Fund Scheme has been initiated by DoFPS in 2008 thereby providing seed money ranging from Nu.300,000 now increased to 500,000 per Geog.
In line with this policy, Thrumshingla National Park in collaboration with the Ura Geog Administration, to mitigate the human-wildlife conflict issue has instituted three Conservation Committees that to be governed at Chiwog level by the elected committee members. Each conservation committee has been provided a seed money of 166,666.00 for institutionalising Human-Wildlife Conflict Management Endowment Fund wherein the Secretary, Treasurer and three members will govern it under the chairmanship of Gup. On top of the seed money the crop insurance collected from the community has been deposited in a fix account with the Bhutan Development Bank Limited (BDBL), Chamkhar, Bumthang for a maturity period of two years adhering to the Endowment Fund Scheme policy framed by the DoFPS. So, the disbursement of compensation for crop damage will actually be started only after two years utilising whatever interest they gained from premium (fix deposit amount).
In Ura Geog, human-wildlife conflict issue is heightened for crop damage and livestock predation by wildlife. But the severe issue is crop damage compared to livestock loss. Since, wild pig is widely distributed people ranked wild pig as the top-most pest responsible for crop damage followed by Samar deer. Therefore, the endowment fund scheme has been taken up by people of Ura Geog to meet the payment for compensation of crop loss against wild animals. Nowadays most of the people in Ura Geog have shifted the livestock rearing paradigm due to effective intensification programs initiated by the livestock department. Thus, most of the households have given away the traditional migratory cattle rearing practices. So, livestock loss to wild predators is not a bigger issue compared with crop damage.
The seed money for the endowment fund was handed over by the Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Finance on 2 July 2014 during his official visit to Ura Geog. The Hon’ble Lyonpo said that institutionalisation of a conservation committee at the grassroots level is a very appropriate concept in managing human-wildlife conflict issues seeking technical and financial support from the government. He also said that this kind of endowment fund scheme would certainly make a difference to the larger segment of people affected by the wildlife in the future.
In Thrumshingla National Park, Ura Geog is the second Geog taken up by the park management to institute conservation committee. The seed money for the endowment fund is supported by the RGoB funding. The park management also plans to expand conservation committee in Metsho and Jarey Geogs under Lhuentse Dzongkhag in the near future.
– Submitted by Ugyen Namgyel, Thrumshingla National Park, Ura
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