Author : Tiger Sangay and Karl Vernes

Abstract :

Livestock predation by large carnivores prompted the Bhutanese government to initiate a scheme (the ‘Tiger ConservationFund’) to compensate agro-pastoralists losing livestock to attack by tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (P. pardus), snow leopards (P. uncia) and Himalayan black bears (Ursus thibetanus) over a three-year period (2003–2005). In this paper we report on the economic impact of predation to farmers during that period, and how losses were compensated. US$ 138,454 in compensation was paid to 1233 farmers for 1692 livestock kills. On average, compensation covered 35.5% of the market value of predated livestock. Compensated farmers lost on average 1.3 head of livestock in the year they received compensation, a loss equivalent to

39% of annual average household income. Losses were highly skewed; some farmers lost the equivalent of many years of income, and some remote northern regions of the country were heavily impacted. A majority of the compensation (63%) was paid for leopard attacks, so a strategy to reduce livestock losses throughout Bhutan should focus on leopards as the principal livestock predator. Compensation schemes are an important mechanism for large carnivore conservation in the Himalayas, and we advocate for a scheme in Bhutan that is long-lasting and sustainable.

Key Words :

Bhutan, depredation, compensation scheme, Himalayas, human-wildlife conflict, leopard, tiger, bear, snow leopard

Reference :

Bagchi, S. and C. Mishra. 2006. Living with large carnivores: predation on livestock by the snow leopard (Uncia uncia). Journal of Zoology 268:217–224.

DoL. 2007. Livestock statistics 2007. Department of Livestock, Thimphu, Bhutan: Ministry of Agriculture.

Govil, K. 1999. Forest resources of Bhutan – Country report. FAO Forest Resources Assessment Working Paper No. 14. Rome,Italy: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

Graham, K., A. P. Beckerman, and S. Thirgood. 2005. Human–predator–prey conflicts: ecological correlates, prey losses and patterns of management. Biological Conservation 122:159–171.

Ikeda, N. 2004. Economic impacts of livestock depredation by snow leopard Uncia

uncia in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, Nepal Himalaya. Environmental Conservation 31:322–330.

Inskip, C. and A, Zimmerman. 2009. Humanfelid conflict: a review of patterns and priorities worldwide. Oryx 43:18–34.

Jackson, R. M., and R. Wangchuk. 2004. A Community-based approach to mitigating livestock depredation by snow leopards. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 9:307–315.

Maikhuri, R. K., S. Nautiyal, K. S. Rao, K. Chandrasekhar, R. Gavali, and K. G. Saxena.

  1. Analysis and resolution of protected area–people conflicts in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, India. Environmental Conservation 27:43–53.

Mishra, C. 1997. Livestock depredation by large carnivores in the Indian trans-Himalaya: conflict perceptions and conservation prospects. Environmental Conservation 24:338–343.

Mishra, C., P. Allen, T. McCarthy, M. D. Madhusudan, A. Bayarjargal, and H. H. T. Prins. 2003. The role of incentive programs in conserving the snow leopard. Conservation Biology 17:1512–1520.

MoA. 2000. Renewable Natural Resources Statistics of Bhutan. Thimphu, Bhutan: Ministry of Agriculture, Royal Government of Bhutan.

MoA. 2009. Renewable Natural Resources Census 2008. Thimphu, Bhutan: Policy and Planning Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Royal Government of Bhutan.

MoA. 2013. Assessment on impacts of human-wildlife conflict management intervention to the local communities. Thimphu, Bhutan: Department of Forests and Parks, Ministry of Agriculture, Royal Government of Bhutan.

Moktan, M. R., L. Norbu, H. Nirola, D. B. Chhetri, T. B. Rai, and Rinchen. 2006. Migratory cattle grazing: an ecosystem approach to livelihood. Bhutan Journal of Renewal Natural Resource 2:18–28.

Namgail, T., J. L. Fox, and Y. V. Bhatnagar. 2007. Carnivore-caused livestock mortality in Trans-Himalaya. Environmental Management 39:490–496.

News & Events

Memorandum of Understanding was signed with UWICER and SFS

Her Royal Highness Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck, the royal patron of...

Read More

Fourth Annual Research Symposium

The Bhutan Ecological Society (BES) successfully hosted its Fourth Annual Research...

Read More

Bhutan Foundation supports an Energy and Climate Adaptation Project for High Altitude Schools

The Grant Agreement for the project “Energy and Climate Adaptation for...

Read More


Journal of BES