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Loss to cultivated crops by wild pigs (Sus scrofa) is widespread and can jeopardize low-income farmers. In India, although there is lot of political interest in the problem, efforts to understand the patterns, correlates, and underlying reasons for wild pig conflict continue to be minimal. We quantified loss of wheat (Triticum aestivum) to wild pigs and assessed the spatial patterns of damage in a forest settlement of Van Gujjar (Haridwar, India), which is a dairy-based pastoralist community. We chose a 4-km2 cultivated area comprising 400 farmlands (each measuring 0.8 ha and belonging to a family) and assessed crop damage by wild pigs through field surveys during the harvest season. We interviewed 159 respondents who manage 219 of the total 400 farmlands in the study area to compare actual crop loss with perceived losses. Wild pigs damaged 2.29 tonnes (2,290 kg) of wheat, which was about 2.6% of the potential yield in the study area. A total of 39 farmlands (9.5%), managed by 28 respondents, suffered losses during the survey period at an average loss of about 58.8 kg (SD ± 89.5, range = 0.7–388 kg). During interviews, 81 respondents managing 155 farmlands (70.7%) reported having suffered wild pig-related crop loss during the survey period. They also perceived losing about 23.4% of the potential yield of wheat due to wild pigs. The perceived losses were much higher than actual losses. Actual losses measured through field surveys underscore the dichotomy between actual and perceived crop loss due to wild pigs. About 81% of recorded wild pig-related damage to wheat occurred within 200 m from the forest edge. The crop protection measures aimed at stopping wild pigs from entering the fields were mostly reactive. Although overall crop losses due to wild pigs seem low at the settlement level, for affected individual families, the losses were financially significant. Such recurrent crop losses can cause families to go into debt, trigger animosity toward conservation, and lead to retaliation measures, which may be indiscriminate and have the potential to affect other endangered mammals in conservation priority landscapes. Because crop losses by wild pigs are severe along the narrow band of fields along the edge of the forest, channeling monetary benefits through insurance-based compensation schemes can help assuage losses to farmers. Further, because crop damage by wild pigs is seasonal, experimenting with mobile fences that can be dismantled and packed away after use would be beneficial.
Pandav, Bivash; Natarajan, Lakshminarayanan; Kumar, Ankit; Desai, Ajay A.; and Lyngkhoi, Banteibor
"Household Perceptions and Patterns of Crop Loss by Wild Pigs in North India,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 15
, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol15/iss1/12
Additional FilesHWI-1683-DataSheet_VillagerQuestionnaireSurvey.pdf (83 kB)
Evaluation of large herbivore conflict in Haridwar