"Most of the conservation focus in India is on protected areas, based on the idea that people and wildlife cannot coexist. But while peddling this theory to try and push for more human-free areas, conservationists are writing off the majority of wildlife
that live out of protected areas and alongside people. This is also closely linked to the history of the conservation movement in India and other parts of the world, and the urban elite now dominating it.
It’s time for NGOs and state forest departments to stop imitating western conservation ideas, and look at what our own culture has to offer. A good starting point is to perhaps start incentivising tolerance, whereby communities are possibly subsidised
for not planting conflict-prone crops, or better protecting their immediate surroundings from animals.
Our research attempted to understand the differences between communities, all living in the same region (within 500 m of the boundary of the Mudumalai tiger reserve) and interacting with the same wildlife. We interviewed 250 people from three tribal communities"—
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