Human wildlife interactions

Human-wildlife conflict is an issue that has gained much importance globally and nationally. While it negatively affects both humans and wildlife, many of the latter are endangered and threatened. Our work with leopards has been at the forefront of this field of knowledge, with its continuous study of not just the ecology of the wildlife, but also how humans react and respond to the presence of the wildlife in human-use landscapes.

As a developing country, India’s human-wildlife interface is increasing, ranging from rural to urban areas. We aim to document and understand the various interactions taking place between humans and wildlife. Wild animals, including large carnivores, living close to human environments are perceived as threats to human life and property. This negative perception gives rise to management interventions which have been studied and proven to worsen the conflict scenario further.  

We aim to engage with major stakeholders involved in such conflict scenarios and recommend interventions and mitigation measures based on scientific research. Key stakeholders from this landscape are the Forest Department, residents, educational institutes, and the media. Our work is centred within the Mumbai metropolitan region. Mumbai is gradually making itself known for the urban biodiversity that it sustains amidst its high population density. We have also collaborated extensively with the forest departments in Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal on the same issues. Our work has been used in the formulation of guidelines for human-leopard conflict management at the state as well as the central Ministry of Environment and Forests levels.



Nikit Surve

Nikit completed his Masters in Wildlife Science from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. At WCS India, he works on the ecology of urban biodiversity in Mumbai, be it leopards, jackals or non-human primates, and their interactions with humans. 

Shivam Shinde

Shivam holds a Master's in Biodiversity from Abasaheb Garware College, Pune University. His research focuses on bird-plant relationships, human impact on wildlife, and carnivore monitoring.


  •  Surve N, Satyakumar S, Sankar K, Jathanna D, Gupta V, Athreya A. 2022. Leopards in the City: The Tale of Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Two Protected Areas in and Adjacent to Mumbai, India. Frontiers. 
  • Nair R, Dhee, Patil O, Surve N, Andheria A, Linnel J, Athreya V. 2021. Sharing Spaces and Entanglements With Big Cats: The Warli and Their Waghoba in Maharashtra, India. Frontiers. 
  • Athreya V, Isvaran K, Odden M, Linnell JDC, Kshettry A, Krishnaswamy J, Karanth UK. 2020. The impact of leopards (Panthera pardus) on livestock losses and human injuries in a human-use landscape in Maharashtra, India. PeerJ 8:e8405





Photo Copyright: Kalyan Varma, Steve Winter, Nikit Surve
Illustration: Aditi Rajan






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