Bear Trust International
Center for Conservation Impact
HNG University in Gujarat, India
IUCN Sloth Bear Expert Team
IUCN Human-Bear Conflict Expert Team
Living With Wildlife Foundation
Banaskantha and Sabarkantha Districts in northeastern Gujarat, India where sloth bear attacks are extremely high and capacity to address these human-sloth bears conflicts is low to non-existent.
In India, sloth bear attacks on humans and other human-bear conflicts are increasing in number and frequency, with severe consequences for sloth bear conservation. In Gujarat, India, there are 60-100 sloth bear attacks on humans annually, many of which result in serious human injury or death. In retaliation, some local villagers kill sloth bears. This is a serious threat to humans, sloth bears, and conservation. For humans, attacks and other conflicts result in injuries, hardship, and loss of life which can affect rural economies. For sloth bears, which are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List with a decreasing population trend, individual bear mortalities can have negative effects at the population level. In terms of conservation, sloth bear attacks on humans and other human-bear conflicts lead to increased fear of bears, retaliatory killing of bears, and decreased tolerance for bears―all greatly hinder conservation efforts.
There is good news! Education and outreach have proven successful in reducing conflicts with bears and other wildlife and, in turn, increasing tolerance for wildlife with positive impacts for conservation. Because people with positive attitudes towards wildlife tend to be more accepting of wildlife conservation efforts, education aimed at increasing positive attitudes is also extremely beneficial to conservation.
Addressing the Need
Through cross-sector collaboration, we will develop, activate, and support Education-Conservation Pathways as a means to positively impact sloth bear conservation and improve livelihoods of local people in northeastern Gujarat, India. Specifically, we will create and disseminate science-based, culturally-sensitive education and outreach programs to empower educators, students, forest officers, and villagers in Banaskantha and Sabarkantha Districts with accurate information about how to avoid sloth bear attacks and minimize other conflicts. Our education outreach will also focus on increasing knowledge about, and positive attitudes towards, sloth bears and the importance of local biodiversity. In addition, we will invest in local people living in Banaskantha and Sabarkantha Districts by establishing, staffing, and maintaining a Community Outreach Center.
Local people want this program. The local government wants this program. Sloth bear conservation needs this program. Please join our work today! Your donation will get us started. Please help us save lives and donate today.
Photos of human injuries: Dr. N. Dharaiya. Photo of sloth bear: V. Chauchan.