Conserving biodiversity in human-dominated regions of the world is complex, particularly in case of large carnivores where perceived conﬂicts exist with economic development, expanding human populations and livelihoods. In a new paper I co-authored with Abishek Harihar and Douglas MacMillan, we used choice modelling to understand the preferences of local communities and explore alternative strategies that meet conservation and human development goals. Focusing on the Gujjars, a pastoralist community in northern India our research identiﬁes the community’s preferred government support measures to encourage coexistence with tigers. We ﬁnd that direct losses from predation are secondary concerns compared to development measures despite these losses being comparable to other tiger landscapes. We also found that almost all sampled households (283 /292) preferred resettlement over any form of coexistence, with positive preferences for larger land-sizes, the immediate and permanent transfer of Tiger property rights, a government-built house and the potential to generate a living from agro-pastoralism.
As resettlement would avoid conﬂict with tigers and lead to habitat and prey recovery, it follows that tiger conservation and human development goals could be best realized by securing vast areas of inviolate tiger habitat through community resettlement to acceptable locations away from tiger habitat. We highlight the need for a responsive policy and institutional framework that can accommodate local needs and ensure there are adequate opportunities for the creation of sustainable livelihoods within tiger habitats.