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Tiger on Scarecrow Duty - Himalayan Footsteps

The human-wildlife conflict is a big issue in conservation. Wildlife predating on lifestock and herbivores raiding fields are causing huge economic losses to farmers, which has especially severe consequences for subsistance farmers in developing countries.

Farmers in eastern Bhutan have experienced exactly this conflict and tested endless methods to keep wildlife off their farms. Now they have found a solution that seems to work for them. A solution that at first seems almost ridiculous, so simple is it. They replaced traditional scarecrows with tigers. Stuffed toy tigers, to be exact.

The real-sized toys with near natural features have done magic to the farms, which previously had frequently been attacked by large troops of monkeys.After placing the tiger the monkeys did not show up for weeks. The tiger is often removed during the night and off-harvest season, when placed it is presented in a way to make it look more natural: behind some twigs or a bush.

Methods the farmers tried before were guarding the fields day and night, with the result that all the yield would be gone whenever the guard left briefly. Scarecrows, fences of the best materials and clearing of bushes prooved useless, the monkeys, wild boars and porcupines always found a way to raid the fields. Now the tigers have been guarding some of the farms for two years and are still a success.