Collecting funds for the FundMar 29 2012
Human-Wildlife conflict today affects more than 80 percent of rural livelihoods. It is also one of the biggest challenges for conservation, according to conservationists. Therefore, in a move to battle this challenge the Wildlife Conservation Division established an Endowment Fund last year.
The Fund was established to compensate farmers for crops and livestock damaged by the wild animals.
The Fund aims to raise Nu. 102.5 million in the next five years. The Fund today made-up to Nu. four million after WWF-Bhutan programme officially made a matching contribution.
The Senior Programme Officer of the WWF-Bhutan Programme, Mincha Wangdi, said that this time the government has got the strategy right. “They have made it very holistic like endowment fund strategy or management plan in such a way that they empower local people to address their own issues which they face through human-wildlife conflict. And also WWF is a conservation organisation, all the animals which are in conflict with local communities are our flagship species,” he added.
There is also a plan to form environmental conservation committees through the fund in all the 205 Gewogs. It will insure and compensate livestock and crops damages by wildlife.
The Head of Human-Wildlife Conflict Management, Sonam Wangdi, said the Fund is the best solution that provides a sustainable mitigation measure. “This endowment fund we give is a seed money of Nu. 300,000 to the Gewogs, just for the formation of committees. The committees will not use the seed money; instead they will do the fixed-deposit and interest generated will only be used to compensate the damages by wildlife.”
However, the challenge is, the Endowment Fund is specifically fund raised by officers of the Division themselves and from public and private individuals only through event-based activities. Official record confirms thousands of livestock and crops valued over millions of Ngultrum were lost to wildlife in the last eight years.