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. 


Orvill Jude Nazareth

Orvill earned his M.Sc. in Wildlife Biology from AVC College in 2016. His ornithological interests led him to study the endangered lesser florican and White-rumped Vultures. His Master's Dissertation focused on the White-bellied Sea Eagle in collaboration with SACON. Post-graduation, he joined WCS-India and IUCN-India, contributing to mammal population studies and conservation projects. At the Wildlife Institute of India, he worked on tiger augmentation in Buxa Tiger Reserve. Most recently, at NCBS, he studied the Nilgiri marten using innovative techniques like arboreal camera trapping. Orvill's research now focuses on leopards and their habitat in Mumbai, leveraging his expertise in population ecology and GIS.


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.



Recent Publications

  • Srivathsa, A., Banerjee, A., Banerjee, S., Chawla, M. M., Das, A., Ganguly, D., Rodrigues, R. G., Adhya, T., Bhatia, S., Kshettry, A., Majgaonkar, I., Punjabi, G. A., Puri, M., Singh, P., Surve, N. (2022). Chasms in charismatic species research: Seventy years of carnivore science and its implications for conservation and policy in India. Biological Conservation, 273, 109694. Link
  • Surve, N. S., Sathyakumar, S., Sankar, K., Jathanna, D., Gupta, V., & Athreya, V. (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 in Conservation Science3Link
  • 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. Link


Credits: Illustration - Aditi Rajan (cover) | Photos - Rujan Sarkar






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