WCS’s Wild Seve program, which helps farmers living around India’s Bandipur and Nagarahole National Parks recoup losses of crops or livestock from tigers, leopards, elephants, and other protected wildlife, has just filed its 10,000th claim since the program launched in July, 2015. In doing so, Wild Seve has potentially saved wildlife from being slaughtered in retribution killings, while also protecting farmers from lethal encounters with wild animals.

The 10,000th claim involved a livestock predation incident in the village of Shivapura close to Bandipur. On July 8th at 11.30 pm local time, a farmer heard some noises from his livestock shed. Immediately, he called his neighbors. People saw a black leopard holding the calf by its neck. They made noise and the big cat dropped the calf and ran away. The calf died from the attack. 

Wild Seve (wildseve.org) uses mobile technology linked to a portal and a field-based response team so that claims can be quickly processed. It currently services more than a half million people living in 600 settlements around wildlife-rich protected areas in India’s Western Ghats region. Since the program launched, 5685 families have received $235,000 in payments from the Karnataka government facilitated by Wild Seve.

Out of the 10,000 cases, more than 9,400 have involved crop and property damage; with over 500 cases of livestock depredation, and nearly 40 cases of human injury and death. Response time has improved from 64 percent to 98 percent within the first 24 hours of the incident occurring. Payment processing time has decreased from 248 to 60 days.

The program has allowed WCS conservationists to identify places where crop damage is most likely to occur, and then subsequently develop mitigation measures including assistance in building livestock protection sheds to keep predators out.

Said Krithi Karanth, WCS Associate Conservation Scientist who founded the project which is supported by Oracle and implemented by the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS): “Wild Seve originally started as a conflict response and compensation claim assistance project. Today, our committed field staff have built a great rapport in the community and generated goodwill towards wildlife. Wild Seve continues to evolve and expand the services provided to people living adjacent to WCS flagship wild places: Bandipur and Nagarahole. This project serves as globally scalable example for addressing human-wildlife conflict. In this important WCS conservation landscape we are confident that recovering populations of tigers, leopards and elephants will continue to persist amidst people.”

Said Raj Tripathi, Senior Manager for Corporate Citizenship for Oracle: “We are pleased to support CWS and WCS in a shared mission to improve the world around us.”

Other supporters include: National Geographic Society, The Rufford Foundation, Prince Bernhard Nature Fund and private individuals.