Design, Management and Efficiency of Community Based Electric Fencing in Mitigating Human-wildlife ConflictNima, Chokey .; Gurung, Tulsi.;
Low cost electric fencing called Fabricated Electric Fence System is widely used to manage human-wildlife conflict in Bhutan. It is promoted through Community Based Electric Fencing (CBEF); however its technical design, management and efficacy in the field are not properly studied. Therefore, this study assessed the fence design, voltage, maintenance system and effectiveness of seven CBEFs in Wangduephodrang district. The technicalities of CBEFs were evaluated based on technical manual of electric fence of Bhutan and effectiveness through farmers’ interview. The IEC-60335-2-76 certified Polar Lanstar energizers were found vulnerable to lightning damage and had insufficient solar power to recharge battery during cloudy weather condition. Two out of seven CBEFs assessed had guard power supply below minimum standard voltage of 3 kV. The length of fence given to an energizer (58%) and number of short circuit along the fence perimeter (36%) accounted the variation on fence voltage. The entire five strand wired CBEFs with the mean spacing of 30.3 cm (SD = ±10), 40.5 cm (SD = ±8.4), 70.4 cm (SD = ±13), 115 cm (SD = ±13)and 160 cm (SD = ±14.4) from the ground level proved effective against most of the animals except porcupine and monkeys. Although, all CBEFs had their management plans and by-laws enacted, only 50% of the respondents mentioned that it is effectively implemented. However, CBEFs were able to reduce crop loss per season compared to past as follows: rice from 35.4% to 3.6%, potato from 33.1% to 1.4%, maize from 40.9% to 7.9%, wheat from 30.7% to 1.7% and significantly reduce crop guarding time. Despite shortcomings in the management systems, crops saved and reduction in crop guarding time was considerable.
KeywordsCommunity Based Electric Fencing, design, efficacy, human wildlife conflict
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