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A concise interpretation of peopleâ€™s perception and attitude towards wildlife helps in formulating better long-term conservation policies. In an attempt to understand peopleâ€™s perception, we considered one of the threatened and least known ecosystems of northeastern India, the Barail range, mainly focusing on the Barail Wildlife Sanctuary, the only protected area of this range, and falls in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot area. The sanctuary is known for a high diversity of mammals, mainly primates (with seven reported species), and bears (with three of the eight globally known speciesâ€”a diversity not met elsewhere in the globe). To protect its pristine wildlife wealth, it is essential that the perception of the local settlers is elucidated, and this prompted us to take up the present study. In this study, we used open- and close-ended questionnaire, which was then coded (yes/positive=1 and no/negative=0). Each response was thoroughly examined using logistic regression and variables like socio-economic factors, knowledge of the sanctuary, wildlife and forest management were found to generate positive perception towards the sanctuary and its wildlife, and vice-versa. Further, alternative means is suggested in terms of tourism, and the attitudes towards instigation of tourism were mostly favoured by the locals. Besides promoting tourism, providing alternative livelihood and vocational trainings for the locals and, timely compensation for the losses caused by the animals should be long-term strategies for the conservation of the mammals of the sanctuary. It has been increasingly recognized that involvement of locals is a prima facie requirement in the conservation of wildlife, and as such their perception is of great significance. While the study was conducted at the Barail Wildlife Sanctuary, the results may translate in other protected areas, and may be referred to as a model strategy for other protected areas having similar scenario.
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