Human-crocodile conflict in the Indian Sundarban: An analysis of spatio-temporal incidences in relation to people's livelihood

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Research Article

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The incidence of human-crocodile conflict is increasing, and fear of injury and loss of life is affecting public and political support for crocodile conservation. We studied conflicts between people and estuarine crocodiles Crocodylus porosus across socio-economic dimensions, using a spatio-temporal database. We collected data on 127 crocodile attacks that occurred during 2000-2013, through questionnaires including open- and close-ended questions, administered in 30 villages of five blocks of the Indian Sundarban. Most of the attacks (42%) occurred during winter (December-February), followed by the early monsoon (May-July; 27%). Almost 80% of victims were prawn seed collectors and were 11-50 years old, and 61.16% of victims died as a result of the attacks. Female victims accounted for a higher percentage of deaths (55.12%) than male victims (44.88%). Crocodile attacks were more common in the daytime than at night, with 76.35% of the killings occurring during 08.00-17.00. Most of the cases were recorded from Gosaba (34%), followed by Patharpratima (25.24%) and Namkhana (18.45%) blocks. The mean number of incidents per year was 9.07, with vulnerability and mortality rates of 0.07 and 0.04, respectively, per 10,000 persons. Existing management practices are insufficient to eliminate the risk of crocodile attacks and ensure the conservation of the Sundarban ecosystem. A comprehensive management plan for reducing dependency on forest resources is needed to minimize human-crocodile conflict.

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All Open Access, Bronze

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