How the local community views wildlife conservation: a case of Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Mohd. Shahnawaz Khan
Faiza Abbasi


A study was conducted to assess the local community’s attitudes towards wildlife conservation in Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary (HWS), Uttar Pradesh, India. It is the largest sanctuary in the state and under the highest anthropogenic pressure. People engage in fishing, livestock grazing, fuel wood/fodder collection, cash cropping of cucurbits in the sandy river banks for sustenance and commercial extraction of sand and grass for construction. These activities threaten the survival of threatened species like Swamp Deer Rucervus duvaucelii, Gangetic Dolphin Platanista gangetica, Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata and Gharial Gavialis gangeticus. Interviews were conducted with heads of randomly selected families and ‘yes/no’ opinions were taken. Questions included direct statements on biodiversity status and relationship with the Sanctuary resources. Data was classified in percent values and it was found that there is no difference in people’s perception on increase, decrease or stability of biodiversity. Further, a majority of people find life around a protected area disadvantageous, or with dismal advantages. Building on this premise the study suggests that a better share in development and alternative livelihood options for the local community of HWS can decrease their dependence on natural resources and improve conservation as a favourable option in the present perceptions of the people.

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